part 2 of last week’s blog.
Only one or two
students really blossom
|How many of your students |
make it into a flower?
Photo by l'Ours
Why is that? How is it possible that you teach the 3rd
conditional, or some tricky ‘turn’ phrasal verbs, but only one or two students
will actually remember, and be able to produce it, in the next class? I guess I’ve
known this for a while, but it’s only really this year that I’ve taken on board
the fact that no matter how hard we try to improve our students English, only a
couple will really absorb the language we throw at them.
What I noticed this
year is that it’s always the ones who are avid note takers. You know, the ones
who are always asking what everything means, who copy everything you write on
the board, who are the ones who use those turn phrasal verbs in their next writing
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone was avid note takers, not just for
the sake of copying, but because they actually want to learn the word, or maybe
be an English teacher one day, go and live in an English speaking country and
be able to sing at karaoke without everyone taking the piss out of their
Doing a DELTA was
a waste of time
There, I’ve said it. After all those blogs I wrote
about DELTA, saying how marvellous and life changing it was blah blah blah, now
I’ve gone and done a 360 and decided it was all a load of tosh. Why oh why did
I give up a year of my life, my writing, my hair, and torment myself
with the pressure of doing a DELTA?
Okay, I’m exaggerating slightly. Of course it wasn’t a
waste of time and I’m a much better teacher, at least in the eyes of Cambridge,
but there was a load of crap on that course, wasn’t there?
I mean, really, what was the point in memorising so
much terminology for that exam? I spent a good thirty minutes a day memorising
words like catenation, onset, and morphology. Who in their right mind would
ever use these words while teaching? It’s insane.
It’s funny but one of the main areas I had to improve
on my DELTA was drilling. I still drill in class, don’t get me wrong, but not
to the extent it was necessary to get a decent mark in Module 2. That brings me
on to all the time we needed to prepare one hour of teaching. The reading,
preparing, practising that we had to do was so unrealistic to the real world
that it all seems a bit silly. I mean who has a spare 10 hours a week to plan
for one class? And don’t even get me started on Module 3. Planning a course for
a bunch of imaginary students I’ll never teach…please.
Saying that, if you want a career in TEFL and do want
to improve the way your teach, then the DELTA is worth it, just be prepared for
jumping through the Cambridge hoops to get there.
is useless unless you go over it often
I made the same mistake again this year. I’ve done it
two years running now. At the start of term I get all excited about phonetics
and firmly believe that it’s a great tool for improving student’s
pronunciation. Or at least showing them visually where they are going wrong. I
spent about two weeks with several of my classes going over the chart in
detail, doing activities, and drilling. For a few weeks I used phonetics actively
in class, did a few songs, and there seemed to be progress. However, as always,
exams and syllabus got in the way and pronunciation got pushed to one side in
January. Stupidly I never got back into it again this year. The other week I
did a few games to try to remind students of the sounds, but it was useless,
half of them had forgotten.
So there’s your lesson. Don’t even bother with
phonetics unless you are going to do it regularly. I hope I remember next term.
|Hard work never killed anyone...not in TEFL anyway.|
Photo by kylesteed
8) You can live
comfortably and support a family as a TEFL teacher in Spain, or at least in
After all those years of worrying whether I’d be able
to survive while having kids as a TEFL teacher I can now safely say that I can.
It’s hard work, and I have to do extra business classes early in the morning,
which means long days, falling asleep on the metro in the afternoon, and
getting home knackered a couple of nights a week, but it’s all worth it. Luckily
I am a B1 and B2 oral examiner too, which definitely helps get that extra cash
over the year to pay for the extras.
We still live quite simply at the moment, we rarely go
out in the evenings or travel much, but that’s mainly because we two little
monsters to look after, but we get by and enjoy life. Hopefully when my wife
goes back to work we’ll be able to afford a few luxuries too, maybe get a car
and have a couple of decent holidays a year.
So if you’re wondering about whether you can afford to
teach English and have children, then the answer is yes, you can, but you have
to work your arse off.
So what have you learnt this year? Enlighten me.
Labels: DELTA, doubts about using phonetics, living as a tefl teacher, New to TEFL, problems with delta