By Julie Cole
David Catterick is a teacher’s teacher.
This summer the Briercrest College and Seminary professor, who specializes in English language teaching, will be employed for two weeks in England at the Bell Teacher Campus which takes place at Homerton College, a part of the University of Cambridge.
“Bell is one of the largest language school networks in the world,” Catterick said. “Every year they teach approximately 40,000 students across the world.”
Catterick first found out about the Bell Teacher Campus while he was monitoring on-line job sites for his TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Others Languages) students.
“They were needing trainers last year and the timing didn’t work out,” he said. “When they needed teachers this year, they were in touch.”
Catterick’s audience for these classes will be different than those he teaches at Briercrest.
“The students that I teach here (at Briercrest) are not yet teachers,” Catterick explained. “They are pre-service. The ones I will be working with are in-service. They may have quite a lot of experience.”
The Briercrest professor will be teaching a methodology refresher course giving his students “practical, hands-on methods” to inspire them and help them to make an impact in their classrooms.
Catterick’s motive for making this trip isn’t only teaching.
“I see this as professional development,” he said. “(I have) the opportunity to meet and work with key people in my field — either together as trainers, or they’re coming in to do special sessions. Some of these people are (authors) of the books my students read.”
The TESOL instructor knows that a positive experience at this summer’s teacher campus could lead to other opportunities as well.
“Bell does consultancy work all over the globe, so in a sense I’m being tested,” he explained. “Like all organizations, once you’re known, you’re known, so they’re going to be looking very carefully at the work I do for them. I’ll be one of a few people from North America. They might call upon me for some short-term work at (other) times.”
Students and teachers of Bell Teacher Campus are housed at Homerton College. The central location makes networking between teachers and students easier and also allows for professional exchange between instructors.
Catterick is excited for the experience and the contacts this job may allow him, but he ultimately sees this as a way to equip Briercrest.
“(I look forward to) meeting these people, gleaning from the latest and being able to assess what we do here (at Briercrest) in terms of practice,” Catterick said. “It’s about multiplying ministry. That’s what we need to see as students come through the program.”