Saturday, 1 September 2012

Cert.TESOL - Week 1 - When Sleep Comes Knocking

This week, I started my Cert.TESOL course. I recall that it was a Tuesday morning and I was feeling relatively neutral. In my head, I was thinking that I was going to be the youngest one there for some reason. Maybe it was because the guy who interviewed me – let’s call him Matt - commented on the fact that I was young. Guess it made me think that he hadn’t taught younger people before. Silly rabbit.

When I got there, however, I came to find a variety of people. I haven’t actually asked anybody their ages but most of us are young with a few people who look to be over the age of thirty. There were a few uni graduates too and what was astounding was that a lot of them spoke all kinds of different languages. I was jealous. Spanish, Italian, French – I don’t even like French – but I wanted what they had; a window into another culture.

We have three teachers, including Matt, but aside from one lesson where I observed him teaching a class of foreign students, I haven’t seen him much. Out of all three of our teacher’s however, he intimidates me the most for some reason and I’m not sure why. He’s actually quite funny. When I observed him teaching, he had quite a way with the students. But he’s also, one of those guys who knows when to be serious as well. I respect this; I’m similar in that nature. But I still feel uneasy. I guess we’ll see what happens next week.

The guy who has been teaching us however, is equally funny. Let’s call him Carl. Carl can speak Japanese. You can also, tell his very passionate about phonetics which was a huge part of the course content this week. Some of the other students feel that Carl can be a bit cold, but I haven’t noticed that about him. Whenever I’ve attacked him with my questions, he’s always been okay to me so either I’m missing something or those other students are too sensitive…and this is coming from me as well.

The week was focused on phonetics – as mentioned earlier – teaching techniques and lesson planning, being put into the shoes of students through learning an unknown language and observing the professional lessons of Matt, Carl and our third teacher, Sophia. It was a lot of information, but for some reason, a great deal of it managed to sink in. I think it’s because a lot of it was interactive instead of having a teacher stand at the front and talk at me. Ah, university. The good ol’ days.

The only thing that baffled me a little was Concept Checking, which I’ve got to understand by tomorrow evening as I start my teaching practice next week. HOHSHIT!

As I’m being thrown out of my comfort zone, I make it my business to sit in a different place in class every day so I can speak to different people. I would highly recommend this for a course like this. Everyone’s in the same boat. Everyone’s feeling the same emotions and it cements the group more. So as antisocial as I can be at times, I’m saying “don’t be an outcast”. Integrate. It’s a good thing. My class is currently seventeen strong nonetheless. One girl dropped out, however, and one guy started late. I seriously feel for him because he didn’t have a laptop and we’ve had assignments to do every night. So he’s had to catch up.

And I tell thee…the homework is no joke. I’ve had a minimum of two assignments per night – three on the Wednesday evening – and per evening, I spent about five hours on them. Each night, my sleep has been on a steep decline and even as I write this, it feels like work.

 But then I’m extra and a bit of a perfectionist. I spoke with other people and they spent no more than three hours on their work per evening. Some even woke up in the morning to get on with their work. So I guess it’s true what they say – Every Situation Is Different.

Therefore,  my advice to you today is that if you intend to do this course or the CELTA or anything like it and you like your sleep, forget about it.

You will sleep less.

You will work hard.

And hopefully it’ll all be worth it in the end.


  1. Well done Melisa! Nice reading it ...


    Keep them coming!