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Monday, August 25, 2008

CELTA - Week three blues

It's 2am on Bank Holiday Monday, and I've just finished the last of three assignments we've had over the last three weekends. It hasn't been easy, but it's been OK. The guidelines are pretty clear, and it's all based on what we've been taught up until now.

This assignment consisted of several stages: the first was to observe our students in class (on Thursday and Friday), carry out a survey, analyse the results and then come up with a summary of their needs.

Next, we had to find a text (reading or listening) that would be appropriate for our learners, and justify our choice. I chose to create an original text focusing upon the Olympic Games closing ceremony (recorded, in conjunction with my course-mate Josh, onto my Macbook in the echoey stairwell between floors 4 and 5 of the IC!)

Finally, we had to create a lesson plan based on that text. Thankfully, the lesson plan can be used not only for the assignment, but also in tomorrow's class (provided any students show up - it is Bank Holiday after all! Fingers crossed - we need those teaching hours)

Until a couple of days ago I felt that week one was the hardest. But then on Thursday I found myself starting to get a bit depressed - three weeks of not getting enough sleep was really getting to me (note to others: don't sign up for early-morning sushi delivering if opting to do CELTA). I've felt pretty crap most of the weekend too. Moving to Japan, which in reality is only about 11 days away, seems about as real as a fictional holiday that David Archer is going to take on the Archers next week. Even receiving a stack of train tickets for all the travel I'll be doing between finishing this course and flying from Heathrow didn't make it any more real.

The only thing that is real is that is I have to be up in a few hours.

On a more upbeat note, congrats to my dear friends Jo and Joe on the birth of their second son! Look forward to meeting the new baby next week!



Blogger Orchid64 said...

I wonder if, in addition to fatigue, you might be a little depressed because things will wind down soon. Your energy is always highest when you're focused and that focus wanes both through time and as completion of the task draws near.

Also, CELTA is a very concrete endeavor. Coming to Japan is a bit murkier and I'm sure you know from experience that your initial work at a school won't be as challenging or fulfilling in the same ways as university or your CELTA training. It has potential to be fulfilling, however, it'll be in less concrete ways.

Try to buck up. You're not far from being with your twinkle. Focus on that. :-)

25/8/08 13:30  
Blogger Joseph said...

Thanks orchid64.

I think there's definitely some truth in that. I find it disconcerting that I have nothing concrete to focus on after I finish CELTA. As you say, I have 'going to Japan', but that's a bit amorphous.

My teaching contract doesn't begin until late September. I'm currently wondering whether to request that my start date be brought forward - or should I do what I feel I really need to do - take a break?

I've not really had any time off to relax since I was on my year abroad in Japan, and it's something I've been feeling I've been needing since before I finished my degree. We'll see.

But back to now: I'm telling myself that I all I have to do is put one foot in front of the other, and that way I'll get through it. "This too shall pass'. I find it reassuring that others are feeling similarly 'challenged', but firmly believe that the difficult times are a prelude to the arrival of huge rewards, whether it be in the form of a CELTA certificate, opportunities for big growth, or a chain of fortunate events. (Of course that may not be the case, but thinking it is certainly helps!)

Thanks again for your support.

25/8/08 15:35  
Anonymous Alex Case said...

How anyone could hold down a job while doing the CELTA I will never understand... Well done! Can see how the andrenaline level might fall off at some point!

25/8/08 16:44  
Blogger Joseph said...

Cheers Alex!

Just been having a look at your section of - I read out your How to get away with being a crap English teacher to the gang for some Bank Holiday Monday morning light relief - much appreciated by everyone!

We're at that stage now where we're losing our minds, cursing printers for repeatedly only printing the even-numbered pages of our lesson plans, until eventually realising that the even pages were on the other side of the paper...


25/8/08 17:51  
Anonymous Alex Case said...

Oh, yes, the losing your minds stage. Some TEFL teachers never recover from that stage...

26/8/08 00:14  
Blogger Joseph said...

(of course i meant to say

"We're at that stage now where we're losing our minds, cursing printers for repeatedly only printing the even-numbered pages of our lesson plans, until eventually realising that the ODD pages were on the other side of the paper..."


That'll be the lack of sleep again!

26/8/08 06:24  
Blogger Orchid64 said...

By all means, Joseph, take a break! I think you'll be better off if you do. Allow the joy of achievement to glow in your for awhile and just breath for a few weeks. Read a good book (I still recommend "The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events" by Jane Roberts - so much food for thought in it).

I sort of wonder if you have some deeper reason for not stopping, like you're afraid that your momentum will diminish and you'll stop working so hard or whether university has "conditioned" you to feel you're wasting time if you're no juggling 15 projects at once.

Sometimes a good goal is to be comfortable doing nothing at all. It's actually a very difficult thing for someone like me.

26/8/08 09:26  
Blogger Joseph said...

Hmm, taking a break is a bit radical though...!

Thanks for the book recommendation again. I've just been given some book tokens (in exchange for a picture of a sunflower in a university publication :-) ) and so will have a look for it in my local bookstore. I could read it on the plane!

26/8/08 09:38  

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