CELTA: The Teaching Practices

What’s the point?
The aim of the teaching practices, or TPs, is to apply what you’ve learnt in the input sessions. You’ll teach 7-8 lessons, racking up a total of 6 hours of observed and assessed teaching, which seems like a lot, but it really does fly by.

What will I teach?
All of our lessons were based on a dull coursebook. Luckily, we were allowed to deviate from it as much as we pleased. We just had to keep the focus of the lesson (grammar or vocabulary) the same as that in the book. The sequence of exercises and what you did or didn’t do were up to you.

What’s team-teaching?
From day one, you’re split up into groups of 6 and further subdivided into groups of 3. In these groups, you split a 2-hour lesson into three 40-minute parts. When you build up to your 1-hour lesson, you’ll be put into pairs.  On my course, most of my lessons were team collaborations. It’s important to speak up, share your ideas and communicate well with your group. If you don’t, the overall lesson could turn into a disaster and will be confusing to your students. If all goes according to plan, the lessons should a flow seamlessly into each other. Remember to plan and rehearse your transitions together to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

But Esther, I’m still terrified about TPs. Do you have any tips to help me?

Sure I do! Here they are: 

  • Make the most of your preparation time. On my course, I had 2-3 days between each of my lessons. I used my time to analyze the target language with grammar books, adapt and develop materials for activities, anticipate potential problems and their solutions, and to ask for guidance from my tutors and peers.
  • Listen to and observe your students. You’ll learn a lot from them and be able to figure out what activities they like and dislike. Use this information for your next lesson so you don’t bore them to death.
  • Stick to the time limit. When your time’s up, wipe the board, pack your things and make room for the next teacher.  It doesn’t matter if you’re in the middle of a sentence and you haven’t finished your lesson. Get out of there! 
  • Arrive early. Set up the room and chat with early students. Ask them what they did on the weekend or which football team they support. It helps if you’re interested in the answers, but even if you’re not, it’s a good chance for your students to talk to you as a normal person, and not as the English teacher.

Overall, keep focused, find out what’s expected of you, and with a little hard work, you’ll manage to pass all your lessons, like I did. Although, I did start off on the wrong foot…

BEST OF LUCK! 

CELTA: The Interview

The purpose of the interview is to find out whether you’re suitable for the course and whether you’ve got the potential to pass. My interview was conducted over Skype (voice, no video) and lasted for about an hour.

I came prepared. I read through my entire application, skimmed through a few chapters of Scrivener’s Learning Teaching, memorized TEFL jargon I thought would be nice to throw in to show off my knowledge. I thought of good answers to typical interview questions and lastly, I compiled a short list of things I would ask them. 10 minutes from the agreed time and I was pumping with adrenaline and ready to go!

Surprisingly, it was very relaxed interview. I was slightly disappointed by this, actually. All the work I’d taken to prepare for it had gone to waste. I was asked a couple of questions about my application and on the English language, but nothing too difficult. They mostly wanted to find out more about me and my past experiences.

For the rest of the “interview” I asked my questions. We went through the course organization, the resources, the location, the students, the tutors, visa and immigration queries, and the job opportunities. Everything I wanted to know was answered. I instantly felt more confident about my decision to complete the course with them. At the end, I was told I had a position and I received my acceptance letter.

I’m aware that this is not how most CELTA interviews are conducted but perhaps the lengthiness of their application task (18 pages) made up for the laxness of the interview questions – who knows?

All in all, I’m glad I over-prepared. You can never predict what type of interviewer you’ll get. They may ask you tons of questions, or hardly any. Read through your application and go over the questions you struggled with the most and finally, think of at least 3 questions to ask about the course. It’ll be worth finding out what you’re getting yourself into before you take the plunge.

My Travel Bucket List

Over the past year, I’ve been adding and removing things from my travel list.  I can’t say that I won’t change it after I publish this but here it is as of today.

AFRICA

      • Ride a camel, visit the Great Pyramids of Giza, and cruise down the Nile, Egypt
      • Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe

ASIA

      • See the Sea of Stars at Vaadhoo island, Maldives
      • Ha Long Bay and Pongua Falls, Vietnam
      • Visit the world’s highest nature reserve at Palawan Island, Philippines
      • Thailand
      • India

AUSTRALASIA and Its Surroundings

      • Explore the Glowworm Caves in Waitomo, New Zealand
      • Visit The Kimberley and Whitehaven Beach, Australia
      • Scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef
      • Stay in a bungalow on the ocean in Bora Bora, French Polynesia

CENTRAL and SOUTH AMERICA

      • Visit Chichen Itza and swim in the cenotes in the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico
      • Attend the Carnavaaaal in Rio de Janeiro and see the Iguazu Falls, Brazil
      • Argentina
      • Panama (Feb-2013)
      • Drink something on fire (Flaming Bob Marley shots, Ecuador, Mar-2013)
      • Stand with one foot on either side of the equator (Ecuador, Mar-2013)
      • Spend 4 days in the Amazon jungle (Ecuador, Mar-2013)

EUROPE

      • France
      • Spain
      • Italy
      • Greece

NORTH AMERICA

      • Yosemite National Park
      • Yellowstone National Park
      • Antelope Canyon
      • Explore The Wave
      • Las Vegas
      • Chicago
      • Washington D.C.
      • LA (Jan-2013)
      • Trek through The Grand Canyon (Nov-2012)
      • Ride roller coasters in Orlando (Nov-2013)
      • Attend a Broadway show in New York City (Chicago, 2010)
      • Feel the power of the Niagara Falls (Jun-2009)

Other Travel-Related Items

      • Fly in a helicopter over a scenic part of the world
      • Stay at any of these 48 epic hotels
      • Experience zero gravity
      • Go fly-boarding
      • Go parasailing
      • Go bungee jumping (San Jose, Costa Rica, Feb-2013)
      • Go zip lining (Boquete, Panama, Feb-2013)
      • See a volcano spitting lava (Tungurahua, Mar-2013)
      • Climb a volcano (Cotopaxi, Mar-2013)

Do you have a travel bucket list?  What would you recommend?
Need help writing your travel or life lists? Read this article to get you started.

4 TEFL Letdowns

Teaching Children

Expectation:
We’ll sit in a circle, sing The Wheels On The Bus, play Pass the Parcel and do endless rounds of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Knees and Toes…

Reality:
Kids. Running. Everywhere.

too much

 
The Work Week

Expectation:
The hours are kind of crazy but at least I’ll have the whole weekend to recuperate.

Reality:
yeah-Im-gonna-7vl74t

 
Pay Day

Expectation:
Yeah, baby! It’s pay day! I could use a lavish night out on the town.

Reality:

paid late

 
Communication between school administration and teachers

Expectation:
If my private class, all the way across town, gets cancelled, the school will notify me immediately so I won’t have to waste my time travelling there.

Reality:
I spend 40 minutes on a cramped bus, hike up an incredibly steep hill and my student never shows up. I call the school – they apologize for not letting me know.

Tom-Hiddleston

This post started off somewhat light-hearted but the more I wrote, the more bitter I got so uh, sorry about that. Just letting you know how it is.

Were you, in any way, disappointed by TEFL? Share your thoughts with the class.

Flaming Bob Marleys

Flaming Bob Marley Shots

Flaming Bob Marley shots at the Leprechaun Bar in Banos, Ecuador

I had the pleasure of downing one of these little babies when I was in Ecuador.

They’re made from rum, grenadine, mint and banana liqueurs and they don’t taste too bad either, so if you’re ever in Banos, make sure to stop by the Leprechaun Bar.

An Odd Border Crossing

This was by far the oddest border crossing I’ve ever done. And I’ve experienced a few in my day. Flashback to February 2013 – I had just begun a tour with G Adventures. Little did I know what I’d got myself into.

Costa Rica

We left Costa Rica’s hippy, beach town of Puerto Viejo and made our way to the border at Sixaola.  It took us about 1 hour. When we got to the government office, we signed immigration forms and lined up to get our passports stamped for departure. Then, our guide ushered us to the perilous bridge of doom.

Dun, dun, DUN!!!
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Triangular Oblong Robot Knobocop

That’s the name of the formula I was learning in my Monkey Mathematics class a few weeks ago. I wish I could tell you what made up the equation but I woke up before it was revealed to me.

My brain does some crazy things when it’s on autopilot.

I’m having a hard time interpreting this one – any thoughts would be welcome!

For other responses to today’s Daily Post, click here.