I’ve started the 4-week intensive TEFL course at TtMadrid and will be sharing my daily reflections. Feel free to ask any questions – or if you’ve completed the course, any advice!
So. Much. Information. I think it took about an hour for my head not to feel so numb. But, that normally happens on the first day of class or the first day of a new job. I’m a little overwhelmed with all of the paperwork. I knew we were going to have to prepare lessons and teach, but the theory that goes into the lesson plans is going to need some time to sink in. I also felt a bit overwhelmed when we watched a recent TEFL graduate lead a class. She gave us a copy of her lesson plan and we also received a paper to write down notes on different aspects of her teaching style, classroom management, etc. In our student handbook there is a breakdown of grading criteria. So I was trying to manage and double-check all of these papers while she was teaching — and trying to take good notes. It’s just the first day though and many people have successfully completed this course, so I know this is do-able. 🙂
Today we spent more time breaking down what goes into lesson planning and the objectives of each part. Things are slowly starting to click. We also went over some grammar terminology that was new to me, so as a grammar geek, I found that interesting. We observed a veteran teacher’s class today and it was easier to follow along, having already observed a class and having learned more about the theories behind the lesson plans.
Today was fun. We had two (!) grammar sessions, so I was in the zone. Although it’s been a few (ahem) years since I’ve graduated from college, some of the more advanced things were still clear, like the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs. What took me more time to grasp was the difference of auxiliary (helping) verbs because I (and probably most of the class) wasn’t taught them in this manner. Although, maybe they were taught in a similar manner and I just don’t remember that far back.
The other fun part of the day was when we had a session on practicing teaching skills. We were in groups of 3-4 people and had to each prepare one of the lesson plan parts. While one group presented, the others had to pretend they were the students at a beginner English level. Luckily, I’ve worked with young children and beginner adults so I knew my groups’ contribution needed to have a low, basic level with simple vocabulary. I’ve prepared worksheets before so I had some ideas right away (although I haven’t had any formal training). I think one person in my group either wasn’t sure of what we should do, or wasn’t sure how to do it. We had the middle practice section, so we had to anticipate the opening presentation from the other group. The other person in my group had some great ideas, but some of the vocabulary or activities, in my opinion, would have been really advanced. So just working as a group was a task in itself in the allotted time. Anyway, we were a bit hard on the first group, whom I think had never worked with beginners, by speaking in Spanish or pretending we didn’t understand. However, it was all in good fun and we all had a good laugh. And to be fair, we know we’re going to run into future students who really don’t understand us or whom we speak too fast for.