Saturday, August 10, 2013

London Day 10: I Will Survive!

Well, I've now survived 25% of my CELTA course.  It is intense.  There is a lot of homework.  They weren't kidding when they said 3-5 hours.  It takes about an hour to commute in and commute home each day, assuming I don't need to run any errands.  At first, I lived with 5 adults and one infant, but now it is down to 4 adults and the infant.  That is a lot of people sharing one bathroom.  A lot of noise.  And not much privacy.  My homestay exchange is supposed to cover two meals a day, but in reality it doesn't.  It is also supposed to include internet, but in reality it doesn't.  So in the interim, I had to buy my own portable internet connection, and my own meals.  If you know me, you also know I am REALLY particular about people not being in my bedroom at any time.  I had to leave a note on my door stating that I was happy to clean my room and to please stop opening the window, etc., while I was out and about.  I hope that will reduce the walking in on me in my room while changing, missing hygiene items, etc.  Still not sure how to deal with the reality of laundry.  My homestay "mum" washed my clothes in the washing machine alright, but then when the cycle was finished, she promptly put them in a wet heap on the floor (not a clean floor) overnight, not to hang them outside to dry until sometime after 8 am the next morning.  Long, deep, slow breaths.  I try not to think about it.  Hopefully next time I can just insist on hanging it directly. I am not allowed to cook, use the kitchen- only the microwave, and only get one shelf inside a mini fridge for any to-go meals I bring home.  I hate being the pushy/complaining American.  I am trying to adjust to cultural differences.  Just didn't expect to have to deal with quiet so many in London and manage the adjustment of a very difficult course.
So the CELTA course is sort of a communicative-based (they claim) course of English as a Second Language for teaching ADULT learners.  I don't know how much of what I am learning is specific to my school v.  standard CELTA content.  At least at my school, it means the students are generally 19-20 years old, who sign up for English courses by the week, but they can enroll any day of the week.  This means that the roster changes daily.  There is no beginner class, the lowest is an elementary class which means they are varied ability levels and they don't have attendance requirements.  The course doesn't have level certificates, so they learn whatever and finish whenever they get bored/run out of money.  Motivation is highly varied.  At my school, we aren't allowed to ask the students to call us Miss or Mr.  Also, they aren't big on classroom management and don't have issues with students texting in class, talking in native language, etc.  Students are not given much homework, if any.  Teachers are required to do very specific things constantly and continually, and some of the things are not approaches/techniques I agree with, but I try to please my evaluators all the same.  One issue I have encountered is that I must teach local common language pronunciation and usage, and obviously am entirely ignorant of that and am terrified I will fail.  They don't teach using one particular curriculum, so sort of anything goes and it involves making a lot of photocopies that all have to be crafted and constructed on particular letterhead.  

I feel a lot of pressure because the course is so expensive, very stressful (everything feels disorganized),  and this is a one-shot deal.  I've been trying to figure out how to get here and get accepted into a program since 2009.  It is an adjustment for my ego, too.  I am used to being the best prepared, the best participant, and the best performer an academic classroom (when I am the student).  Obviously, it is impossible for me to shine in this setting, where I am constantly trying to get my footing and catch up with things that are common knowledge for others in the course.  My goal is simply survival.  I will be a lucky girl if I make it!

Sim card and 1 month of credit: 40 dollars
This week's books: 70 dollars 
Internet for 30 days: 80 dollars
5 days of food (2 meals a day): 230 dollars

Passing your first 3 evaluations and your first week of CELTA: Priceless

Training room, first day of training.

Funny cat on my street.

A garden on my street.

A garden on my street.

My arch nemesis. For the first half of the week, every time I'd pull out one drawer, they'd all collapse, sometimes on me, and sometimes painfully so.  I had to request twice for it to be repaired.  

Cricket match on a summer's eve.  

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