Diary of a London CELTA-girl07-Jun-2007
‘Week three of the CELTA course is a hot contender for the worst week of my life. I have two assignments due, on Monday and Thursday, and three lessons to plan. Lesson five goes well. The students are lively and chatty and I play a game with them that I’ve stolen directly from one of the teachers I observed last week. Each student has an expression on a piece of coloured card which he or she must describe to their partner. The game is great fun, with students proclaiming “Good Health!” and “Happy New Year!” joyfully. Once again I feel like I’m opening for a stand-up comedian, but the lesson has gone well and I’ve really enjoyed it.
Such feelings of adequacy are short-lived. In lesson six disaster strikes. Student numbers in our class have been dwindling, and before the lesson rumour has it that three new French students have signed up to the class. This doubles the size of our class, which is welcome news. Wondering if anyone is going to turn up for your class when you’ve spent five hours preparing it is not a pleasant emotion. The new students do turn up and I start my lesson enthusiastically. Within two minutes I realize that they have no idea what I am saying. They’re not used to being taught entirely in English, my language isn’t graded appropriately to their level, and they look at me in horror when I attempt some choral drilling. My confidence crumbles. No amount of coloured cardboard is going to get me out of this mess and the lesson is a disaster. The worst thing is that I have to bounce back from this experience quickly, so I can plan tomorrow’s hour-long lesson and write assignment number three.
Deciding not to be beaten I stay up until 2 am planning and writing, and set my alarm for 6am to prepare my materials. After copious amounts of coffee I manage to deliver a lesson, and in contrast to yesterday the students understand my instructions and participate fully in class. Confidence restored! I’ve survived seven teaching practices and have only one more to go. I look forward to the fourth and final week by having a glass of wine and promptly falling asleep.’
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