Apparently most TEFL courses have someone who ends up overwhelmed and in tears… especially when it comes to the grammar – that’s what it does to people. Well, I am that person...
Thursday was another day of lessons for the group and we all made our way to the school at various times during the morning and early afternoon. Mary was teaching her first ever lesson and got there early to make sure she felt prepared. I got to the school in Borgo San Lorenzo at about 12.30pm with my lesson due to start at 3.30pm.
I had been assigned the A1 false beginners group, so I went with the very functional topic of “asking for directions”. I had planned in the morning at home and then I competed my planning at the school. There is a lot to think about but luckily the previous learning plans I have done are a good jumping off point for the different types of lessons. I chose to include a listening exercise instead of a reading this time and Mary helped me to record a conversation about getting directions. It was rather hilarious.
The students arrived and there was a bit of a mix up, I ended up with the A2 learners and Mary with the A1 false beginners. Not much I could do since the lessons had started so I just tried to make it a little more challenging by adding some extra vocabulary words and altering the exercises slightly. We had fun, the students had to plan routes through Florence and London using maps I had provided and then have a conversation, or role play, where one was the tourist and one was a local. I joined in and we all gave each other directions, not forgetting the please, thank you and other pleasantries.
My lesson plan time ran a little short as they were more advanced than I had expected so we spent the last ten minutes talking and creating conversation about different things. The students raised a few questions about the English language so we went over these points. Overall, I felt ok about the lesson and the feedback was fine. I am learning from each lesson.
Mary’s went well too and she felt good about it I think. We had a good “debrief” afterwards and went through everything. There was time for a break before Nikoletta’s lesson and then it was time to observe.
Nikoletta had a lot more students in her B1 pre intermediate group, many we had met before. It was a really good lesson, she is a pro! I am learning a lot from her. The topic was really interesting, most common bad habits, and the lesson ended with a competition to see which pair could create the best advert for chocolate – the results were great and very funny. Michael and I were the judges and we selected the winners who won a box of chocolates.
A long day and the last train back to Florence again, I got home around 10pm and was so ready for bed. Dinner was gelato on the way home, obviously!
Friday I woke early, there was a long day at the school ahead of me. I made my way to the train station and grabbed a coffee on the way before arriving at the school at about 9.30am. Our first sessions were with Bianca and were grammar focused.
The first session we went over teaching methods like inductive, deductive etc, and how we can teach grammar. I was lost. After lunch we had to come up with our own explanation of how we would teach a certain grammar point and it all bubbled over. I burst into tears when Bianca said she was concerned that I didn’t know where to start. I had a cry and said I felt stupid and ridiculous and Bianca said not to worry and that it gets to at least one person every course. Being a native speaker I don’t understand the rules of grammar so much as I just use them automatically. We took a few minutes out and then I worked with Mary and Nikoletta to go over a grammar point in more detail. Thank goodness for those two.
The afternoon was with Kristen going over a grammar lesson demo and lesson plans so we can start planning for our lessons next week. I am really anxious about it but I am going to only concentrate on the grammar rules I am teaching and that’s it. I’ll never remember them all straight away.
At the end of the day the 17:32 train from Borgo brought me back to Florence and I was ready for home. I got back to the apartment and Florentine (one of my flatmates) and I decided to get dressed up and go out for drinks. We had some cocktails and they were definitely needed!
This weekend I will be completing my Student Profile…. I just need to find a willing victim!
Let’s see how next week goes!