Saturday, August 01, 2009

A Day In The Life

We're 1/4 of the way through our CELTA course. When we were interviewed, we were told not to underestimate the amount of time and work this class would take. We didn't think we underestimated it...but we did.

Our first day was lecturing from 9am-6pm. Then, we spent the night preparing a lesson plan to teach English the next day. Yes, our second day of the course we had to teach English to Turkish students!!!! Jonathan was assigned to teach upper-intermediate students, and I was assigned to the beginners. We each taught for 20 minutes Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday we taught for 40 minutes, and we had Friday off. Next week we'll start teaching for an hour, and by the end of the course be teaching for 2 hours at a time.

Our class is a lot different than we expected. To start with, we are the only Americans. There is one guy from Ireland, a woman from S. Africa, a man from England, a woman from Romania, one from Russia, and ten Turkish people in the course. (Well, now 9 Turks. One dropped out the second day because I guess she couldn't take the pressure!) In some ways, being some of the only native English speakers gives us a great advantage, but the non-native speakers' grammar knowledge blows us out of the water. We tell them how to speak properly, and they tell us what verb tense we're speaking in.

Our daily schedule looks like this:
6am-wake-up, get ready, make lunch, etc.
7:10am-leave for the bus (if we take the earlier bus, we usually get seats)
8am-arrive at school, but stop off at Starbucks to read our Bibles and pray
9am-go to school, finish the final preparations for teaching
10-12:30-teach English, observe peers teaching English
1:30-6:00-class (teaching vocabulary, phonics, grammar, etc.)
6-7:30-working at school on lesson plans for the next day
7:30-8:30-bus ride home (there's only standing room at this point, it's also usually hot and stinky!)
9pm-11 or 12-schoolwork, and then sleep

So, we're pretty packed. We're actually really enjoying the course though. We've made some good friends already and are learning some really effective ways to teach. Jonathan and I have both improved a lot in our teaching skills and are getting high marks on our reviews.

Today is Saturday, and after sleeping in, we got to work and have been working on a number of assignments outside of our lesson plans that are due next week.

*Some funny things that have happened so far
-Sarah has a hard time picking up on the games teachers try to teach us with gestures. The very first day, they tossed a ball back and forth saying their names and when it was tossed to Sarah, she stopped the game and had to tell everyone she didn't understand it. This happened another time when learning a simple game about the alphabet. Jonathan had to come to the rescue and tell her what to do.
-Jonathan, while teaching a sentence structure, realized he didn't quite understand it himself and without thinking announced to the class, "I don't know how that works...but that's okay."
-Sarah continues to "make friends" on the bus with ladies who talk to her for a long time. She just smiles and nods her head. The other day a woman talked at her for a long while asked if she was Turkish and Sarah replied no, and that she didn's speak Turkish. The woman burst out with a loud, "Ohhhhh" and then rambled along in Turkish something along the lines of, "I can't believe you let me talk to you this whole bus ride and you didn't understand anything!"
-All of our tutors have thick British accents, and we hear them all day. This means that Sarah accidentally starts speaking to people in a British accent as well.
-Yesterday, the bus driver was very angry and spent most of the ride yelling at people and on his cell phone. He also neglected to stop at most bus stops. Though it wasn't pleasant, what is usually a 50 minute ride to school was only 25 minutes.

1 comment:

Lesli said...

haha, I laughed a lot reading this post. Can I just say that I also have taught English multiple times and found that the non-natives know a lot more about verb tense and sentence structure than I do! I also, like Jonathan, have just had to say "I have no idea, so lets move on" haha. :) y'all crack me up. love you guys!