I finished the first part of my TESL course and passed my practicum! I know I did really well. I'm very proud of myself. The next part of the course is online. I have to complete a grammar component before I receive my full certificate. I've finished the first topic (out of sixteen) and I have an idea of what to expect. One thing is for certain, grammar is something we take for granted.
How long does this second part take? Anywhere from one month to three months. It depends on how often I put in time to work on it. Of course I'll attempt to do it sooner rather than later but I'm guessing it will still take me about a month. It's not so bad, the first part took about a month. All things considered, I did go to university for four years. A two month or so course really isn't that bad. Especially when I take into account the course material. I'm going to be teaching people English as a second language, that's a pretty big deal. Whatever they learn will affect them for the rest of their lives, perhaps some more than others but it will be there.
There are also a whole bunch of other things I need before I can leave. For instance, a reference letter from my university (wtf?) and a criminal record check. I actually had a check in 2010 but I'm not sure if that's still valid. They'll probably want another. If you're wondering why I had one before, I volunteered with an NGO that helped people who went through the court system - it was actually located in the court house. Anyway, that's another story.
There's a long checklist of things I need but I guess this is just the beginning.
I can't believe it. I'm almost finished my TESL course. On Sunday I gave my practice lesson and this upcoming Saturday is my practicum. What's a practicum? It's a pass/fail test where I must teach a lesson to the class and my abilities will be measured as successful or unsuccessful. If I fail (unlikely) I will be required to try again. Luckily, I know I'll pass.
How do I know that? Well, I am confident in my teaching abilities (already!?) and I did very well on my practice lesson. If my practice lesson would have been my practicum, I would have passed. So that's great news! I'm less than a week away from finishing the first part of the TESL course. The second part is an online grammar class. That will be a breeze. Hopefully I'll finish it by August (they give you three months to complete the online component).
Who knows what will happen after that? I might stay here temporarily as a TA for an ESL class or I might just find a job and go, go, go! I'm going to take advantage of whatever opportunities I can find. I'm ready!
It's so exciting to think about teaching in another country. On that note, no, I haven't decided where I'm going yet and yes, I will be posting more information about different countries. I simply haven't had the time. When I do, I will! I already have a draft written up about Italy. I am strongly considering going there. It's a truly historic and romantic place. Not to mention, Ezio Auditore. Need I say more?
In the mean time, I'm putting together a lesson plan for my practicum and getting ready to rock it! I will keep you updated!
I read an article recently about how movies were horribly inaccurate in regards to in-laws. I attempted to find the article again but unfortunately no luck. I will update if I find it.
Regardless, I just shook my head. Obviously the author of said article has not dated OR they have had the incredibly rare luck of finding mates with decent, genuine in-laws. I am almost entirely convinced that such a thing does not exist.
In the article, the writer mentioned the film "Monster-in-Law" as being ridiculously dramatic but frankly, they are wrong. Okay, fair enough, some of the events are quite over-the-top however not unlikely.
I've had some experience with "in-laws" and let me tell you, I would recommend avoiding the in-laws, forever. There is no real reason to meet in-laws unless you're getting married. I know that might sound rude or something but let's face it, once you're over 21 your parents are not the decision makers. If they are, you have a problem. I'm specifically speaking about mama's boys - stay the hell away from any man who "loves his mommy". That is a waste of time. You will always be second, if not last.
The very first boyfriend I had was a mama's boy. I wish I had known something about that beforehand. I had no idea that one person could have such an influence over someone's life. I know that when I make decisions that the only opinion that matters is my own. I will consider input from my family or very close friends but ultimately I will have to live with the decision.
Class began at 9:00 a.m. and ended at 6:00 p.m. Perhaps 9:00 a.m. doesn't sound so terrible however that means I woke up at 6:40 a.m. on Saturday morning. Not exactly ideal especially since I stayed up late Friday night. At one point during the class I was having a hard time staying awake but I pulled it back together and got my second wind.
So how did the first class go? It went fine. It was quite typical of an introductory class. We were shown marking rubrics, discussed how we would be assessed and what would happen if we didn't pass the practicum. Apparently you can simply return and do your practicum over, without any additional fees or the need to take extra classes. However if you miss more than four hours, you automatically fail and have to take the course over. Again, there are no additional fees and you can come back when you're ready. Quite fair really.
The teacher also discussed in length what sort of cultural changes to expect and the necessity to be flexible and adapt. She emphasized the importance of the journey and how the experiences shape you into a new person. Most importantly, she expressed enthusiasm at the idea of exploring the world and taking the opportunity when it presents itself. She said, "Usually opportunity only knocks once. If it knocks twice, the second time will be ten years later and you'll regret not taking it before".
I believe she's absolutely right. I'm most pleased that she is quite even handed when discussing the reality of travelling to another country; it's both intensely rewarding and challenging. Perhaps it's the challenge that makes it so rewarding.
I am excited and anxious and nervous and worried and happy and I can't wait. I want to travel to a faraway place and live somewhere new. Do something new. Become something new. I need this for me. I need to push myself out of my comfort zone and see the world in a whole new light.
The instructor shared many, many anecdotes about her 7 years as an ESL teacher in Korea. They were quite enlightening. One really interesting anecdote was the reason she chose to live in Korea. She wanted to pick somewhere far enough that she couldn't swim back. She explained that she didn't want to be able to use a crutch to fall back on and return home early. She wanted to stay there and make it work, no matter what. I truly admire that. She commented that if you give yourself something to fall back on, you inevitably use it. She's right. The moment you say to yourself, "I can just return home if I want," you're really saying, "I already gave up".
I don't want to give up. I want to do my best, even if that means struggling along the way. Tomorrow is my second ESL class and I'm looking forward to it. Another step closer to my dream. Another step closer to Paris.
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