Thursday, September 8, 2011

Things I've learned...

I've been doing my CELTA class for three days now and I've taught two out of the three days. I teach again on Friday and this time without a lesson plan so they push us along really quickly. A ream's worth of paper with information was thrown at us and then we were told that we're teaching first thing on Tuesday morning.  I'm teaching an elementary level class. My students run the gamut from age 18 to age 40. They're all at varying levels but their English language skills are very basic which I think is harder for me because I have to alter my language so much more than if I was teaching intermediate.  Yesterday's lesson was 20 minutes and today's was 40 and I went first on both days. Going first is actually my favorite thing to do because I don't like to sit there and wait. I hate waiting. I'm such an American...

CELTA is one of the most intense things I've ever experienced in my life. I spent 11 hours at school today and then by the time I got home at 8 all I wanted to do was crawl into bed. I knew that I should at least attempt to write my lesson plan so we'll see how that goes.We're judged based several different areas, which I won't get into now, and for each category we can get a S+, S or S-. It's above standard, standard or below standard. They also do S with an up arrow or S with a down arrow which means you're a bit better than standard but not nearly above and vice versa.

Yesterday I had two S (up arrows), nine S's and one S (down arrow.) Today I got two S+'s, three S's (up arrows), one S (down arrow), and six S's.

My strongest areas so far are "establishing good rapport and ensuring learners are fully invovled in learning" and "providing learners with appropriate feedback on tasks and activities." Even my fellow group members say that I've managed to make a connection with the students, make them feel comfortable and as a result they are more likely to volunteer answers instead of sitting there quietly, and that I manage my classroom really well. I'm also doing pretty well in "using appropriate means to make instruction for tasks and activities clear" (good use of ICQ's = Instruction Checking Questions.) For example, today's lesson was to check the MFP (meaning, form and pronunciation) ofthe lexis of nationalities. I had them play a game so I could test their knowledge of different countries. I instructed them to line up in two lines, Team A and Team B. Each person had to write the name of a country they knew on the whiteboard and the team with the most names won. We then worked with the countries and came up with the nationality of each country. The next activity was a sheet of paper with a list of countries in one column and nationalities in another column. I had them play a matching game and then had them check it with their partners and then I checked it with them. With each of these activites (writing the countries on the board, telling me the nationalities of each country, and the matching game) my trainer said that I did a really good job of checking that they understood what I said. So my instructions were the clearest but my instruction checking questions were above par. Basically it's stuff like, where will you stand in a line?, where are you going to write the names of countries?, etc. I'm also good at "maintaining an appropriate learning pac in relation to materials, tasks and activities" AND "monitoring learners appropriately in relation to the task of activity."

Before it starts to sound like I'm bragging, my weakest area so far is "adjusting the use of my language according to the learner group and context."  I know that my biggest problem, even before I started CETLA, was giving instructions in a manner and using language that my learners would understand. I mean I tried to explain a family tree to Megha one time and I kept talking to her like I was talking to an adult. So the way I can fix that is to write out my instructions verbatim and practice, practice, practice before I teach. I really need to improve on that if I want to get a pass B or a pass A I'll let you all know how it goes. :-)

I haven't had as much time to write, think, breathe, or sleep as I'd like but I'm generally used to it thanks to years of working, interning and going to school at the same time. When I'm done writing this I will attempt to write a lesson plan for TP3 (teaching practice) for Friday but I don't have to turn in an official lesson plan until Monday, when we start getting graded. I should probably take the time to sleep because I'm exhausted and slightly feverish.

My general routine is to get up at 6:30, take my pill and fall back asleep until 7:15. I then take a shower, throw on some clothes and head downstairs for breakfast. I have bread, cheese, jam, pineappe, watermelon, banana and green tea every morning. Somehow I don't get tired of it. I then head back upstairs to get dressed and then I head out. I walk to school every morning but sometimes I wish I could take a motorbike. It's literally 7 minutes walking and it's such a pleasant experience but riding a motorbike is SO exhilarating. Plus I still need to break in my new helmet. I love riding the motorbike so much that I invested in one because I can't bear to think about who else has worn the extra helmet on the bike. If I'm going to walk I leave my guesthouse at 8:00 and arrive at 8:10. I take the rest of the morning to do any last minute prep work I have before teaching starts at nine. Tomorrow I'll probably head over at 8:30 because I don't have to teach. Woot!

If anyone is worried about my healthy I can assure you that I'm getting enough time eat. I'm not skimping on meals because I'm afraid that I don't have enough money. I'm skimping on other areas because of that. :) There's a Pho place literally right outside the school doors so I think that's going to be my lunch place while I'm taking classes. It'sososososososo good. However, they charge me the tourist price, which irritates me. For example, the Pho was 40,000 VND on Monday and today it was 45,000. I'll try it one more time and if it goes up anymore I'll stop going there. I can't believe that I'm quibbling for $2 for a bowl of Pho but I hate being taken advantage of. There's also a vegetarian restaurant that's a block away that is SO good and pretty affordable. At the alley way that I live off of there is a noodle restaurant that makes an amazing wonton and noodle broth soup that I can't stop craving. The small bowl is 22,000VND and the large bowl is 27,200VND. I can't believe that I basically spend about $4USD a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Rachael Ray has nothing on me! :)

                         The view from the ILA Cafe on the 10th Floor. Such a good place to relax.

The view from the ILA Cafe on the 10th Floor. Such a good place to relax.

Rice noodles with tofu spring rolls from the vegetarian restaurant near me.

Rice noodles with wontons from the shop at the end of the alley where I live.

1 comment:

  1. The food looks amazing! Good job on getting comfortable with teaching so quickly. Miss you!