Week 3: Level Changeover; Easier Done Than Said!


(image from: http://www.fossati.us/teaching.php)
The so-called tough week has already started; yet, it doesn’t seem tough anymore. On Monday everyone was nervous as we were expecting to get two written assignments back and change levels. (For those of you that are not familiar with the CELTA process: Every trainee is required to teach two different levels of instruction. So, for my first four TPs, I was assigned to teach the intermediate+ level and, for the last four TPs, the elementary ones.)
First day of the week, we observed an experienced teacher and I was rather intimidated. Not that there was something wrong with the students. The group was great and supportive, willing to cooperate and ready to be exposed to various teaching techniques. However, that was the very first time in my career that I was in a classroom with elementary students.
I had to consider and take care of various issues: grading my language, producing activities and tasks that would be both simple and meaningful, make sure that sequencing is effective, and ensure that students would leave the classroom less confused. As expected, I was nervous – especially after the disastrous TP4.
Finally, TP5 went really well for one reason: I focused on my aims. I had prepared the lesson plan focusing on designing tasks that would gradually guide the students to the ultimate goal which was no other than the primary aim of the lesson. Following that, I reviewed the plan – I, even rehearsed instructions and CCQs. On the day of the TP, though, I left the plan aside. I was sure about the shape of the lesson and of the steps that I had to follow. The only thing that I did was to follow the students: I had them show me the way; I asked them questions to check previous knowledge, elicited the context, make them interested and from that point on, the lesson was transformed into a great walk in which students and I were walking together. I did not drug them here or there and they followed!
Of course, there were various issues that I have to work on for next TP, such as better monitoring and less shouting. Now that I am thinking back on it, I understand that at times I shouted to ensure active participation from all students. Next time, I should do that more discretely; actually, the lesson should do it by itself!
Wow! 3 TPs to go… I am not sure that I want this experience to come to an end… I wish I could stay to this school with these students and fellow trainees for life! 😦


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