Image Image Image Image Image

2007 August

17

Aug

LADO Journal – Week 4

Our LADO TEFL groupA picture of our LADO TEFL group on the last day of class.

The last week of training went quickly. The last two teaching days on Monday and Tuesday went well overall. I felt much more comfortable preparing materials and working through the lesson in my mind. The class always turns out differently than what you imagine in your head, but I think that’s part of the fun of teaching. It amazes me that I can see a bit of fun in this at this point… hahaha. I say that in jest of course.

It was very difficult preparing for the final presentation while working on the last two group lessons. The fatigue and mental strain of the previous three weeks really got to me the final week. A couple of days during the last week my body just shut down. The commute was a REAL strain. I do think I had a good final lesson planned. I don’t think it went well in class obviously. I was really down about it after the class. That night I thought about it a lot and I think it was a good thing to go through. You never want things to go badly but I think it taught me a whole lot. It makes me realize how many things I’m going to have to learn as I countinue to teach. Getting a lesson plan established and refining your method of teaching is just the beginning! I think my final classroom experience was a bit difficult as well because of the situation. I felt that it wasn’t really MY class. I never really set out any rules, I wasn’t grading them, etc. I also didn’t want to bring the mood of the class into a negative space on my last day! So, it was a sacrafice on my part, but I was ok with it considering the circumstances. I knew the lesson would have went well if it weren’t for classroom management issues. On the other hand, I think this was a great experience because it brings my attention to these factors. It pushed my experience in a new direction, and showed me other possibilities.

As I shift back to my “regular” life of moving around like a nomad, things are getting very busy. Finishing the requirements of this program mixed with trip planning and job searching is a real challenge. I am much more excited about the prospect of travelling now. I feel so much more prepared to enter a teaching job abroad. Vance and Caralyn, you have both been wonderful teachers. Thanks for your guidance and prodding over the last month, I’m sure the bruises will disappear soon. 🙂

05

Aug

LADO Journal – Week 3

Week three ended this Friday with a successful speaking lesson with the lower intermediate group. As the students get more comfortable with each other and each of us as teachers, their personalities and abilities truely come out. It is a nice feeling to know that you are helping them speak and make progress on their journey to master English.

I am continuing to try and refine my delivery style and work out my bad habits. I slip into using phrasal verbs and my concept checking needs some work. For some reason I have trouble drilling concept checking into my mind. The whole flow of a lesson is pretty clear to me now, and I feel comfortable in front of the class.

I’m not really nervous to do a whole class on my own now, but fatigue is certainly a factor in my enthusiasm for the final week. It will be fun to go through the whole two hour session on my own, despite the extended prep time it will take to devise the lesson materials.

I find my mind focusing on the details of travel more and more, all the logistics that I will have to research and consider before our departure. I still wonder what teaching abroad will really be like. I’m assuming I won’t have to devise lessons from scratch, but it’s all an unknown to me now. I’m really hoping it’s not as demanding as this course has been. 🙂

As the end of the course starts to become a reality in my mind, many emotions are pulling at me at once. I feel a bit sad that just as I begin to know the students in the classes, I will be leaving them. The crucible of this class has also brought the trainees much closer together than I would have guessed. I think some of us have forged connections that are deeper and more complex than usual, given this amount of time together. The emotional strain caused by the class has brought us together and helped us see each other more clearly. I feel a level of comfort that would seem very unusal in other circumstances, but in this case it is one of the highlights of the course for me. Both of you, Caralyn and Vance, have really been a pleasure to work with and learn from. I really don’t know how you keep the focus and positive attitudes with such a swirling mess of confusion and stress all around you. It really demonstrates to me that you are deeply commited to helping me (and everyone else) develop and grow, and I am truely thankful to you.

With those compliments being said, there is always a devil sitting on my shoulder whispering descent. Sometimes I wonder why I am paying so much money to torture myself… 🙂 I try to pull back and consider everything, but it’s hard when you’re so close to, in fact, deeply entwined in the situation. I keep trying to think of ways that this certificate could have been more pleasureable or palatable. But it’s hard to do actually. I’m sure you hear something to this effect from at least one trainee each round. Ever suggestion I can think about to make it a bit easier to swallow also helps me see the logic to the way things are structured now. So ultimately I’m not sure there is much to say about changing anything. The one thing I have been surprised about it the level of technological integration. I really think this needs to be a component of the course at some point. Maybe I am biased because of my former experience, but I really do think it is an important factor as education programs continue.

Overall, I am looking forward to working through the coming week and emerging on the other side, even if “slightly” battered and bruised. It is certainly the though love approach, but I still love you both anyway.