Sorry I've been MIA for a while. I moved to Saigon last Thursday and started the CELTA course on Monday. I've probably mentioned it before but I'll just say this again. CELTA is an initial quailfication for experienced/non-experienced teachers of the English language. It can last from four weeks to over a year. I'm doing mine at ILA Vietnam (51 Nguyen Cu Trinh St., District 1, Ho Chi Minh City) and it's supposed to last for four weeks.
Week 1 was a whirlwind of activities. I met 10 participants and some ILA people in a welcome dinner at BBQ Garden last Saturday night. 845am Monday morning we were in school to meet the rest and start the course. Day 1 was the easiest day of course. Orientation, a sample of a foreign language lesson and we met our tutors for lesson planning. There are 18 of us all together and we're divided into 3 groups. We do input sessions together but lesson planning and teaching practices, we're with our tutors and 5 other groupmates. The whole group is great, not just the "A-Team" which I'm on, but all 18 of us. Benita, one of our tutors, mentioned that we're a strong group. It might partly be because some of us are experienced teachers, but I think it's because everyone is so into doing the course and everybody's helping out everybody. There's no competition to speak of, which is great, because it's not high school. We all have the same goal and we're being assessed individually anyway.
The youngest person in class is Ginny, a fresh graduate from Pennsylvania. The eldest might be Viviene, a Filipina who's worked in China and Saudi Arabia as a teacher. All 3 trainers are British, the trainees are 3 Filipinos (including me), 1 Canadian, 1 Polish, 2 Australians, 5 Brits and 6 Americans. Everybody's so different, it's interesting to see what everyone does. Teaching styles and approaches vary and we see something different everyday, even from tutors, so I get different ideas all the time. Whenever friends and family ask me how it's going, I say that information overload's difficult and can be overwhelming. At the same, though, it keeps me on my toes and wakes up my neurons which I feel has been dying in my 2 years in VN.
This week I only taught twice but next week I'll be doing 3 teaching practices. That means 2 lesson plans that I need to pass and show my trainer--written lesson plans are required from TP4 to 9. First assignment is due in the middle of the week so I want to finish that by Monday night. Starting Tuesday, I'll be in the Pre-Intermediate class along with my groupmates. We started out teaching Elementary level but we're switching to Pre-Intermediate class after my TP3 then Intermediate class the following week.
It's not all work and no play by the way. I've been doing yoga and I've been out with some of my CELTA mates. After teacher observations Thursday night, I was out drinking and playing drunken darts till 3am with some other people. It was funny the next day because they were so worried that I might miss school. One of the guys was so woozy, he went home for a nap at lunchtime. Friday night we went out for a bit then last night we had yogurt at Penguin's then Karaoke at Pham Ngu Lao. It's supposed to be an advance celebration for Ginny's birthday on the 19th. Oh yeah, last night was the first time I drank Korean soju. Candice and Jamie, who worked in Korea, said that they needed some shots before we could head to the karaoke place. We walked past a Korean restaurant and they figured soju would do the trick. They even had a drinking game--Submarine, shot glass floating in a mug if beer, you use your other hand (left for righties and vice versa) to pour some soju in. If the shot glass sinks, you have to drink it all up. I had to drink 2 mugs in a row. Aargh! We had just come from the yogurt place where I had 2 or 3 glasses of tra da (local iced tea) plus I don't really like the taste of beer. It took me a while to finish the 2nd mug but after a bathroom break, I got back into the game. Todd drank the last shot of soju because he lost in a Rock-Paper-Scissors game to Jamie. After that, we went to 357 Karaoke and stayed for 2 hours. Anyway, drinks or no drinks, I was trying to get away with not singing much but Ginny and Richard kept at it till I held the microphone again. We ended the night with Bohemian Rhapsody.
OK, that's it for this week. I have to go to the bookstore, buy some pens and head over to ILA for lesson planning and possibly starting my assignment. =)