You know sometimes things really don't go to plan... today was one of those days.
I spent the morning at home and finished planning my first communicative grammar lesson and I was quite happy with what I had come up with. Happy meaning I felt like I had no idea what I was doing and that my head my pop off at any moment. I had a good plan put together so I set off to Borgo San Lorenzo.
The train workers had other ideas though when they decided to go on strike today after an incident yesterday. Not helpful. Not at all! I spent well over an hour, almost 2, running back and forth at the station trying to find a train that was running. They were all cancelled at the last moment and the station was in chaos.
My anxiety went into overdrive and I didn't know what to do. Luckily, Kristin understood when I contacted her and told me to stay in Florence and focus on planning a great lesson for Thursday instead and that I could study at home. I won't lie - I nearly collapsed with relief after getting so wound up about being late for my lesson.
I headed home and continued with lesson planning for my next lesson, and enjoyed a relaxing evening.
Today I got to sleep in a little later and oh I really needed it. I got up and went for some breakfast before heading back to the apartment to get on with my assignments for the day.
Today's focus would be on Phonology and more grammar, ready for my lesson tomorrow. I have never studied or even considered phonology before - it looks at the sounds of words and letters and obviously it completely baffled me!
I spent a good hour reading through the information sent by Kristin on the topic and trying to get my head around it. I went online and had a look at some other websites and then slowly I started to understand it. Basically each sound that we make has a symbol or letter that goes with it so ultimately you can write using these symbols and people who recognise them will be able to read it and speak it.
I had fun for a little while on a phonology app, getting everything wrong, but it was interesting to hear the sounds. I have never paid much attention to the individual sounds of words and letters before, not consciously anyway.
There were some tasks to complete on this subject including translating full words and sentences into the correct symbols and letters - this took me a long time! I got there in the end though and really felt I had achieved something. I have really learnt something today.
I spent more time in the afternoon thinking up the beginnings of a lesson plan for tomorrow - grammar, grammar, grammar! I decided on the grammar point "past continuous" and chose the context of crime and robberies!
I relaxed in the evening and read some more of the reading assignments set for the course and tried to get an early night. Tomorrow = scary lesson day!
Thursday was upon me quicker than I don't know what and the anxiety kicked in. I woke early and began planning straight away, moving into the kitchen in the apartment and taking over the whole table with papers everywhere.
I stuck with my grammar point of past continuous but I spent at least 2 hours just trying to figure it out in my head and how I would explain it. There were tears. Again. I don't know why I let myself get so worked up I just didn't want it to be a complete failure.
I got to the school at about 2.30pm and had a meltdown when Kristin asked how I was doing. Anyone would think that grammar is like the monster under the bed that scared you to death when you were a child. So irrational and I felt ridiculous but everyone understood and Mary, Nikoletta and Kristin all gave me some great advice.
I carried on planning instead of observing their lessons and by the time the lessons had finished, I was ready. Well.... as ready as I would ever be.
The students arrived at 6pm and after the biggest deep breath ever I just got started. I am relieved to say it went well and I got some good feedback. The students seemed to enjoy it and the communicative activity went well where they were split into groups and had to find out what happened during a crime using past continuous.
I still need to slow down my speech a little but oh the relief when I found out it wasn't as bad as I thought. Kristin told me to relax and enjoy it and that I didn't need to be so nervous.
My lesson planning is getting better and I am really trying to script as much as possible, more so for my benefit so I know what to say!
The last train home meant it was a late one again but my flatmates and friends were home having a drink and so I had chance to talk about my day and the lesson which was nice.
Thank you Alessio for being extra helpful as well by the way - if in doubt, ask a non-native who actually knows more about English grammar than you do. Sometimes you just need someone to explain it in the way that they understood as a language learner.