The weekend between two and three has been surprisingly relaxed, despite having to redo my failed assignment, write up my second one and organise the next lesson. If you manage your time well, then you won’t get stressed. At the start of week 3 our tutor told us that this was the ‘notorious’ week-and if you’ve been reading any of the CELTA forums online, you’ll know this is the week to pick your favourite corner, because, yep-you’ll be crying in it.
Or so they say.
Despite CELTA scaremongering I actually found this week OK-definitely more work than the last week (one night I had 3-4 different things to write and plan!) but certainly not as bad as many people make out. Again, it’s all about time-management. The assessments have been piling up and whilst in week 1 I was able to read a book during break times (or even outside the course), meet friends for lunch and go out the nights before I wasn’t teaching this has become impossible since week 2. I also failed my second assignment and so have to rewrite a small part of it in 2 days time, as well as writing up my third (very hard!) assignment on a Receptive Skills Lesson (Reading/Listening lessons).
To my surprise, my TP sessions have actually gotten better as I’m remembering to model and drill the target language chorally and individually. I’m also nominating students randomly for feedback and then getting them to check their answers in pairs (the trainers love this!) I’ve also made an effort to make the lessons more “student-centred”. The idea is that the students should be doing all the work, whilst the teacher is hovering in the corner monitoring and occasionally giving feedback.
For the past two weeks I’ve also noticed my bedtimes get noticeably earlier and today I’m actually struggling to stay awake (its 9.30pm!) Alas, I have an assessment due in tomorrow, so no rest for the wicked. Stay tuned- next week I’ll be planning my first hour-long lesson 😮
Whilst the hardest week is technically over, I was anxious about the TPs of this week-as after all-it is week 4 and the bar is raised higher! My last lesson went well and I got some helpful feedback. I really feel that I’ve learnt a lot on this course and am able to autonomously prepare my own handouts and activities. The last lesson was also harder because it was a 60 minute, rather than 40 minute lesson so I had to pack more into it. I decided to do a reading lesson with a grammar focus on the future perfect tense.
The rest of the week was spent gaining our Preparation for Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTLS) certificates which normally cost a couple of hundred pounds but has been integrated into our CELTA. It’s necessary for those who want to teach at UK colleges and it’s also part of the PGCE. This week was the most interesting as most of us had finished all of our TP’s and had sessions on the differences between EFL and ESOL learners and different types of English teaching: Business English, Aviation English, medical English-all of which fall under the bracket of English for Specific Purposes (ESP), although recently Business English has become a category in its own right. We also got an informative talk from two recruiters from SaxonCourt on how to land a job (CV, covering letter tips etc) and a small presentation on which regions to teach in. They also let us know about any job opportunities they had going but unfortunately their jobs in Italy were already filled 😦
Towards the end of my course I only knew of one person who had a job offer and I myself have been encouraged to go to my chosen destination and job hunt in person, as many in Italy prefer to meet before hiring. Obviously, this is more feasible for me, someone coming from the UK, than if you were to fly out to Brazil or Korea to check out the not-so-local competition.
The last component of the course was coursework which was tough as I ended up having to resubmit all assignments, but they were only around 1000 words and everyone was only asked to submit smaller chunks and you’re always given specific guidance on what needs to be edited. Failing coursework is definitely not something you should worry about or become disheartened by (although I was after coursework number four!), CELTA have exceptionally high standards and if you get anything less than approximately 95% it immediately has to be resubmitted. Most people on my course failed at least two assignments and some even ended up failing the same assignments twice which led to an overall fail for that piece of work. Anyway CELTA dictates that you’re allowed to fail at least one assignment after resubmitting out of the four so you’re home and dry even if you keep failing.