Teaching Practice 1, Revisited!

(Taken from: http://bigthink.com/in-their-own-words/how-teaching-is-a-noble-calling)
24 hours after the end of my first TP and I am still thinking about it. Which activity was (un)successful? What did work well with the students? How many issues had I foreseen, etc?
Being an experienced teacher can be both a positive and a negative asset one might have while doing a CELTA training. For me it has worked both ways, today: On the one hand, I was confident, in control, and responsive. On the other hand, though, attempting to live up to the expectations, set by no other but me, transformed my lesson into a theatrical performance in which, instead of directing, I was acting.
Thinking back on it, observed teaching is one of the best things ever happened to me. Now that I am working on my second TP, I can even see myself teaching the material I have been preparing for them; thus, my planning will – hopefully! – be far more realistic.
 Things that I learned from today’s TP:
1. It is NOT all about the trainee.
The fact that one is a student and a teacher at the same time can be really confusing, at first. Yet, one must remember: It is about the students! We are getting trained to deliver better lessons so that STUDENTS’s language-use abilities improve. The leading act belongs to the students, we are the directors. Our aim, even during a TP, is to make them shine.
2. Less is more.
TPs might be part of our assessment criteria but they are still students’ lessons. Being able to teach many different things is not the purpose of any lesson. The purpose of the lesson should be focused on serving the aims set in the lesson plan. At the end of the day the students should leave the classroom having learnt a new thing.
3. Remember: You create the lesson plan; do not restrict nor enslave yourself.
Designing a challenging lesson plan is great; yet, following the students’ needs is even greater. One needs to adjust and appropriate his/her plan to the particular class. However, if one has to deviate a lot from the original plan, s/he must work on better planning a lesson.
4. Moments of pauses and silence are needed, actually.
Yes, it is ok. The teacher has to pause and make sure that s/he is still on the right page, serving the aims of the lesson, and for the students to breathe (!), digest and reflect on new information.
5. Aims, aims, aims
Imagine the lesson as a series of snapshots. Does every snapshot serve as a justification to the aim(s) set in the lesson plan?
And few final comments:
I was so anxious the night before my TP that I created a lesson plan that was not realistic (and I knew it!) Luckily, it was not very unrealistic, however, any experienced teacher could understand that 45′ are not enough for such a plan.
I am planning my next TP, at the moment; The feedback I received was so beneficial that my confidence level has increased: First, I do not feel judged. Second, I want to apply all the suggestions I have received. Third, I want to teach fewer things in greater detail. Last (and most important one), I want to do it again!
Last words of advice to the ones that will go through this in the future: Go to your TP1 unprepared. Do the things you think are correct and allow your tutors and fellow trainees give you feedback! If you have not decided on a training centre, join CELT Athens! You will not regret it!


6 thoughts on “Teaching Practice 1, Revisited!

  1. Hi again Angelos,
    Thanks for this post – it was really interesting reading about your CELTA experiences from ‘the other side’ as an experienced teacher.
    I look forward to tackling mine as a novice next month! Something I do keep reading is that it’s worth experimenting with your TPs a little bit to try and elicit feedback from classmates and tutors, so I’ll try to keep an open mind 🙂

    • Yes. The more open eyes and ears you have, the better! For me, CELTA was the best experience of my life. With Delta, I am able to answer (or to look for an answers) to many Why’s I used to have in the past. With CELTA, though, I became the teacher I am now. Try to get the most out of it! 🙂

      Also, try to find some time and blog about it – it will help you a lot! 🙂

      Thank you for your comment, Rachel!

      • I will definitely try to do some blogging during the course – perhaps one post a week summarising every day like Sandy Million does when she is a CELTA tutor 🙂
        I’ve heard such good things about the course and can’t wait!

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