Currently halfway through a four-week TESOL course.
Well, you may have heard of TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)… this is one of the two more advanced TEFL-type courses you can study for at degree level.
Well – where’s the fun in spending four of your precious six weeks summer holidays at home, sunbathing and ‘hanging out’ on Facebook? The truth, though – I love learning, have considered this course for several years, and now consider it a useful addition to my recent PGCE (post-16 education).
Casa de Sis – Part of the adventure is that I’m taking this course in Cheltenham (Inlingua) and so staying with my awesome sister, who lives but a twenty minute brisk walk away. This means I’m torn from my three bessies from Mon-Fri (hubbie plus two teens). In our nineteen years of marriage I’ve never been away for so long, but we appear to be coping. Mark has taken to cooking a meal from his student days… the kids are off at camps anyway… and I’m having a bit of ‘me-time’.
Course – Did I say ‘me-time’? Ha! And again for emphasis: HA! Before starting the course, I was aware that it would be… intense. In fact, the word ‘intense’ is liberally flung around in connection with this course on almost any website or literature pertaining to it. Naturally, I assumed that I would somehow be exempt from this, and would find the course more manageable than some; after all, I have much experience with juggling heavy workloads/deadlines – how hard could it be? Sure – I’d need to do SOME work outside of the (long) days there, but as I’d be away from all my other responsibilities and activities (housework, cooking, study, etc) it’d be easy to a bit of work at my sister’s of an evening, before settling down to read the novels I’d optimistically packed in my suitcase, enjoy some Netflix, or spend time with my sister, etc. But no. The course is as intense as it suggests. I have had about an hour’s free time each day, perhaps between 10-11pm. Thus, novels unread, Netflix left wondering where I am and sister’s eyebrows often raised in response to my insane workload.
Happy? Oh indeed! I’ve always had a desire and to formalise my interest in the English language. I’m well on my way to understanding tenses, sentence structure and suchlike, in far more depth than before. Also, I love the learning specific to teaching English to speakers of other languages. For example, the phonemic chart, used to aid them with pronunciation. Fascinating stuff. Most afternoons we teach a class, whilst being observed. This is oddly reminiscent of the past two years of teaching practice, observations, lesson plans, etc, as part of my PGCE. But in a good way. There are eleven of us taking the course, all of whom are friendly, supportive, keen to learn and up for a laugh. We even have our own little Facebook group, via which we can support each other at 2am, when the lesson we’d originally planned just isn’t working out…!
Diet. I am utilising these four weeks to lose weight. The logic of this is that I’m not at the mercy of social occasions, where overeating is practically mandatory for me. Neither am I cooking for the whole family, and picking at the left-overs, etc. My method (as always) is to stick to reasonably low-calorie, low-carb meals, which is a doddle due to shopping/cooking for me and me alone. I’m walking two miles each day, very briskly, to and from Inlingua, and this week even went for a two mile jog with Zoe (sister). Result? I have lost four pounds during these first two weeks, which is good-going. If this continues, look out on the shelves for my next book: THE TESOL DIET. It will doubtless become an international best-seller. I’ll have to start planning what outfit to wear when I’m invited onto Oprah…
I’m sure there’s more I could add, but must end here as it’s the weekend and I have a hot date with several bulging A4 ring-binders.
More to follow…