First week at IH Bangkok in CELTA course

CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)

Objective: I chose to take this course as its hidden passion of mine and that happy place I realise of whenever I have taught anything to anyone in life. English language is one of my favorite subjects although I admit to be poor in breaking down sentence structures and sometimes understanding the correct tense, but I simply love the language and wish for more and more people to be able to use it in their lives.

People I met: Adrienne (From America) & Gary (from Scotland) are my tutors. In my class, I had people from US & UK mainly plus one from Tibouti, Morocco, Malaysia and two Chinese. All have excellent skills and ideas. I really like the mix I was to study with. I guess they too enjoyed to know me as I am a local of Thailand.

First day: I was mailed to reach at 8:15am max. Relatively easy to find their location (BTS: SalaDaeng, exit 1 – Silom 64 building with direct connection with BTS station) however, the school (as in physically) wasn’t so soothing to my eyes (especially with amount of fee they charge). I had 12 classmates, most of them already teachers but have come for getting better or getting formal certification. It was just this other guy & me who were switching from business fields. In the morning hours, we were to observe Adrienne teaching class of elementary students (age range 18-61 years) and in the afternoon, we were taught about ‘class room management’ and basic ‘ELT terms’. We were also given lesson plans for teaching tomorrow. And yes, I happened to be one of those teaching tomorrow.

Twelve of us were split into group of two. Six were to teach intermediate class and the other six were to teach elementary class. I belong to the second group. We were explained that each day, three out of six students would teach, each for forty-five minutes. I was the third student to teach the next day.

Second day: I sat like a mice watching other student who are already teachers, bring their magic in front of white board. I was very nervous as this was my first chance to ‘be a teacher’. I can do PowerPoint presentations but I had never taught anything, like a teacher. I was worried. However, when my turn came and I taught forms of verb BE and the contracted forms, it wasn’t so bad, except my timing wasn’t so good, I was running early! Adrienne and my other fellow class mates were observing me to give me feedback after class.

Feedback for me wasn’t as bad as I thought. From the phase of life I had come from, people weren’t so nice & polite. I felt nice to be spoken nice & encouraging words to. After the lunch break, we had class with Adrienne again, we learnt about ‘lesson planning’and ‘receptive skills’.

Third day: Unfortunately, I started feeling quite unwell by Wednesday with running nose & watery eyes. At 9am, we sat with Adrienne to run through our lesson plan for the next day followed by morning teaching practice (often referred as TP) class. I sat there watching my other class mates take their classes and was amazed at each of them. I gave feedback to each about what I felt (basically positive) plus anything interesting that I saw in their classes. After break, we learnt about ‘grammar analysis’and different types of ‘teaching methods’ with Gary, my other trainer. I could say that these approaches are general stuff that we know but to know them in the break-down format and the way Gary taught was interesting & amazing.

By this time, we also had received our first & second assignments in our mailboxes. These assignments’ marks will be included towards CELTA certification (70% pass, 5% fail but the business person in me still wants to compete). I did skim through the assignment and then quickly closed it as I was nervous (usual student life stuff).

Fourth day: I had to take class in the morning and I was second person to teach and very very sick. Adrienne met me in the morning and came back in few minutes to tell me that I could skip a day if I need to or go home after my class and come back before afternoon class (but I live really far). I was touched by how nice the trainers were, the fact that they thought so much about me, the place I had come from, someone’s health wasn’t the main issue usually. Well, I didn’t take the day off as I wouldn’t get repeat of those classes again. So I kept sneezing, blowing my nose and wiping my watery eyes amid the class. My lesson planned to teach went well, rather fast actually. Feedback was okay too. There is this part that I felt really nice about, when the students walked in the classroom, they addressed us with ‘Good morning teacher‘, since I am from a non-teacher background, I literally melted in that moment.

Later in the afternoon, Gary too had asked about my health, I really appreciate their kindness and general interest in the health of their students. In the afternoon class, we learnt in depth about ‘lesson planning’ and ‘teaching approaches’ with Gary. The class was very well set and its fun to realise that you are being taught with same teaching method in the class that is being shown on the board, very practical!

Fifth day: I had to miss the morning class as I needed to visit a doctor, its a pity that I had to fall so sick during this period. I went for the afternoon class and we were taught phonemic script. It’s quite interesting to learn and being told to be able to write it down. I waited for the class to end though as my health was really bad and the air-conditioning in the room didn’t help.

Weekend: Well this is the weekend and I should be doing my assignment but I couldn’t resist blogging about this phase in my life. My health is slightly better (no more watery eyes) but cold & cough are still present. I hope to get better by Monday. I am the first person to take class on Monday (I hope all the technical stuff works), I will be teaching about time. The lesson itself seems easy but the lesson planning does not. The assignment is just sitting on my table looking at me (with boredom) and I just continue to ignore it… but I should get to it.. soon.

Thanks for reading, I will keep you posted.

Some pics-

Teacher Hersheys 🙂