Sunday, 16 September 2012

Cert.TESOL - Week 3 - When Crunch-Time Comes Knocking

Week 3 Down!

I can’t believe I actually got through it. I spent the entire weekend last week freaking out about the one hour lessons. I was so very used to the teacher I’d had observing me in the previous week, that the concept of changing teachers – and changing classes – frightened me quite a lot. But I wasn’t due to teach my one hour lessons until the end of the week so I had time, which I was very grateful for.

A few new things happened to me this week. I actually managed to pre-prepare a lesson a day in advance. So, that’s either, a significant improvement – or a divine fluke. I had never experienced actually being ready for a lesson twenty-four hours in advance and it felt quite good.

At the same time, however, I had a major freak-out the day before that lesson when a colleague of mine told me how badly she’d been treated by one of the other teachers and how he had virtually told her that her lesson was a fail even before she’d taught it. This rattled me a great deal as I have this teacher observing me this coming week. I went home bricking it, but fortunately, I had two people on standby to put me back on track that night. The following day, one of them helped me go through my lesson before I taught it and even though my lesson was highly ambitious, I got through it and was awarded a merit. :D

At that stage, I felt very good. I went home smiling to myself and then proceeded to work on my next lesson. I penned about half of it that night and then penned the rest and its materials the day before I was due to have my lesson. So perhaps, I am improving. It took me days to plan my first thirty-minute lesson and even on the day, I wasn’t fully prepared. Now, it seems that I might be able to plan a full hour in three-to-four hours instead. The quality of the lesson, however, is debatable.

But while I seem to be getting to grips with lesson planning and being more comfortable in front of the class, this weekend is actually no joke. I’m used to having deadlines every day, but this weekend, I have triple the workload and the only reason why I’m able to write this blog entry is because I managed to pen my one-on-one lesson with my student who I am due to meet up with in two hours.

As part of this course, we’re assigned a foreign language student. We have to interview them, do a thorough evaluation of their language needs, do a one hour lesson with them and evaluate the progress of that lesson. I will have to write up that evaluation tonight in addition to writing up an overall evaluation of all the professional lessons I’ve watched, in addition to writing up an evaluation of progress from start to now, in addition to penning a lesson for Wednesday.

And that’s not even half of it….

This is just what I’ve set myself for today. So I’m telling you, it really is crunch time. Carl says that there are no more extensions this week. And even though I’ve never requested an extension yet, I’m really starting to feel it – contemplating how I’m going to get time to do everything asked of me by Thursday and still plan two lessons for next week.

But we’ve all been there. In university, I’d have friends dancing around me, panicking a few hours before an essay deadline because they hadn’t done any work. They all thought I had some manner of super-intelligence because I would often submit my essays or projects a week or so in advance. But I know that it wasn't genius at all. I just wanted it done! I didn’t want to look at it anymore and it’s the same way I feel now. I just want it done. And I know that by putting words onto paper with no real thought is a big risk – I do care that I pass after all - but I  just don’t want to look at the work anymore.

With a course like this, however, I don’t think you can afford to take your time over things. And I’m not saying that you should slack off, I’m saying you literally just don’t have the time. Because really and truly, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to slave over one piece of work when you got five more breaking down your bedroom door. It’s like an office mentality – get it done, be concise and do it quickly.

So my advice for anyone looking to do this course is, if you’re a procrastinator, you will struggle. Your teachers might be nice enough to give you extensions when they can, but it’s much better if you get yourself into gear or forget about doing the course in its entirety. I know of at least four people in the original line-up who couldn’t hack it. Two dropped off the course completely, one transferred to part time and incurred a fee and the other was unfortunate to fall ill and will be joining the next group.

I didn’t have much of a life before this course and during, I’ve spent a great deal of time in my living room with my laptop and classroom notes. It’s hard work, it’s brain and time-consuming, it’s sleep-draining, but in seven days I’m hoping to be two certificates heavier.

Wish me luck.

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