One Week In to the Course - I'm Passing


I'm passing the course so far. That's passing compared to failing. I'm usually very good at this school stuff, and I'm doing fine, but just fine. I have lots of improvement to make. I'm not the worst teacher-in-training, but not the best either. I will be working all weekend there at the school, because the books are there that I need to write my 1000 word paper and prep for my two lessons for next week.

Like the other seven trainees, I'm battling fatigue and stress. I'm not battling traffic or actual worries that the city is going to turn of the water to my house (because I'll be gone by then) like most of my other classmates. But I'm battling the sound of the noisiest sea gulls on the face of the earth outside my window, city street noise, other apartment resident noise and trying to remember which way to look when I cross the street. They drive on the left here, and I think I need about another week to get used to it!

So I can't even stay awake long enough tonight to tell you too much about the school, but here's a quick recap.

The school is nice. It's called International House. There are 150 International Houses around the world. All of them teach English as a foreign language. Some of them are certified by Cambridge to teach the CELTA course, to train native English speakers to be teachers of English. It's a challenging, intense program. Many schools won't hire you now unless you have the CELTA certification. I guess I'll see how valuable it is later on.

The A/C units in the school require that you drop frozen ice packs in them every few hours. As I run hot these days, that is already my job for all three classrooms that we use! The weather is really nice here - just like San Diego. But then every once in awhile they get this fierce wind that forces you inside and makes the windows look they are going to blow in. I won't lie - I'm scared of the wind. It's called the Sou'Easter.

The people at the school are so nice. We have paying English students and refugees from the DRC that know we are trainee teachers and patiently sit there while we stumble our way through our lessons. They get free instruction. They are already refugees and need English to get a job, so they are desperate to learn. They sit for 1.5 hours without moving and looking intently at everything we say. They are trying so, so hard to learn. They know NO English. But they got wind that I speak a little French, which is one of the 4 or 5 languages that they do know. Now they keep saying, "Quoi? Quoi?" wanting me to translate for them.

But I really like the students and they seem to like me, so I look forward to my time in front of them. But I'm being judged and graded by my tutor and fellow classmates for every word and movement I make, so to say it's stressful is an understatement. There's this special way we are being taught to teach English and it will work for every level. Next week we switch to a higher level and we can't wait to be understood, even just a little bit. You know though, in just 4 days of our incredibly pathetic teaching, I think they all understand and can speak a lot more English. The method is incredible.

Really, that's all I can do now. My new housemate wants to walk on the beach early tomorrow and I said I'd go with her.

Then I have a full day planned of studying, writing and lesson planning, with a repeat session on Sunday. But also on Sunday, I'm moving to a new place to live with an older couple who rent out a room through International House. I'm hoping it will be quieter and the lady will make me breakfast and dinner as part of the plan. That will be a big help for me here, as shopping, cooking and even waiting for my meals in restaurants is too time-consuming. But it's all very cheap here. The dollar-Rand rate is definitely in my favor. My lunch today of avocado toast and a fancy boba tea drink was $4.50.


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© 2020 by Leigh Haubach, The Buzz on Travel

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