Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I have arrived safely in Costa Rica! Pictures of my digs and the surroundings forthcoming, as soon as I get a chance to do a San Jose walkabout (this weekend, if the rainy season doesn't have other plans).

The CELTA course is working out well so far (but doesn't everything work out well on the first day!). I think most of my buddies still in Korea and still reading this (right? right?) are TEFL-cert'd otherwise, but just in case I'll probably be writing/freaking out about it in here.

CELTA seems like a lot of work on the face of it (and it probably will be!), and I spent much of my flight over—when I wasn't sleeping—freaking out about the first day and having to teach a lesson on my first day. The tutors here (and presumably elsewhere, but I can only speak for Costa Rica) do a good job of easing you into the group and into the teaching: doing ice-breakers, giving you suggestions for class activities. By the time lunch was over, I was ready to start teaching. First, though, was a lesson in Bahasa Indonesia, wherein we all remembered how much it sucks to not understand the language you're being taught.

(Apparently that sample lesson is usually in Swedish, but yours truly and probably also the Dutch woman in the course would have had an unfair advantage.)

The practice courses are, from the volunteer students' perspective, two-hour long English blitzes with four different teachers. From our perspective, they are miniature twenty-minute lessons with the rest of the time devoted to observing and evaluating the other three teachers. Fortunately, the other people in my group are very nice (and multinational! A Dutch woman, an English gentleman, and another woman from Costa Rica), and everyone has less teaching experience than I do so I don't feel like a total bumbling fool.

The students are all adults (the "A" in CELTA stands for "Adults"; teaching children is "CELTYL," for "Young Learners"), some my age, some with children, some might even have grand children. They all speak much better English than any of my students in Korea, which was a pleasant surprise. (Not that I didn't enjoy teaching my students because of their low skill level. If I didn't like them, it was for other, unrelated reasons.)

All in all, this looks to be a solid experience so far. Bring on the workload. ;)

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