CELTA Week 11, evening 22

Evening 22, Thurs 2012-03-29

This was a teaching evening for me – a one-hour slot focusing on reading, listening and speaking. And, cutting to the chase, it actually went pretty well!

It will probably seem daft to you but to prepare for this one hour session I probably spent … that’s surely not right … but it is … 28 hours!! Did I mention I’m slow? One of the big chunks was spending the whole of Saturday just trying to find appropriate music and a video for the intro. A two-minute intro! I wanted something on the theme of newspapers and news. Eventually I downloaded this video, cut the sound, edited a few bits out and fitted it to this song.  If I get the approval of the little girl’s parents I’ll put a link up. In my opinion it worked really well and my students loved it!

I spend a lot of time preparing because that’s one thing I have some control over and I don’t want to fail for some stupid oversight. As usual, it was a real challenge to fit the parts of the lesson into the allotted time but finally I calculated that I’d  be able to do it if I kept up a good pace.  And so that’s what I did.  Twenty-five minutes from the end I looked at my plan and looked at my watch – I could hardly believe it, I was actually bang on schedule! I had a contingency exercise which my tutor had suggested I prepare but amazingly I wasn’t going to need it.

My lesson ended with a group discussion centred on whether the students would prefer to be a war reporter or a theatre critic. I’m really glad we had this time because it allowed two of my students, who are perhaps a little introverted, to come out from the shadows and reveal a bit of themselves. One chap in particular – a young man from East Timor, who had opted to be a war reporter, explained his reasoning: he could tell his readers the truth about the war and perhaps, if he got a reputation for truthfulness, then his stories might be read by the UN who would intervene and help his people.  I got the distinct feeling that this was borne of some awful personal experience during the recent war with Indonesia and I’m glad I gave him the opportunity to express himself.

In the tutor’s feedback she said that she was pleased with pace, content, presentation and all that. There were some things that needed more work: In my efforts to keep the speed up I had cut some students off while they were attempting to explain something. I think it’s most likely that I simply didn’t hear them. And apparently I had pointed at a student when it’s better to indicate with an open hand. I don’t remember pointing at anyone! Finally, I hadn’t allowed enough time for “pairs compare” – where pairs of students are meant to compare their answers to exercises, but I’d gone straight to whole-class feedback. Oh well… you can’t win ’em all. But overall I was quite happy and I have some positive criticisms to work on.

One thing I do find difficult is working from a lesson plan. I don’t know whether it’s nerves, blind panic, inability to concentrate or what, but it becomes like looking at a story without your glasses – all the words become blurry and merge and you lose track of where you’ve got to, what comes next and whether you’re on that page at all. It just feeds your anxiety. I think I need a better format – maybe a series of numbered bullet points, separated by lots of white space. Just the essentials for teaching, not all the rest which is only there for planning purposes or to show to the tutor that it’s been considered. I wonder what experienced teachers do?

I was pleased that it had all gone as well as it had. OK, there’s room for improvement, but hopefully that comes with practice. We’re at the half-way mark with this course now and, I can tell you, the celebratory pint down the pub slipped down a treat 🙂

Lesson Plan-TP5-media
Lead In: toddler & newspaper (in case of multimedia failure)
Grammar: news, an uncountable noun
Vocab: Journalist definitions
Wordle Theatre Critic
Just who IS Kenneth Branagh?
Questions for listening exercise
Contingency – Discussion: Celebrities and Privacy



  1. clivesir

    Hi Abbie, I can tell you that one hour lessons pass in a flash, and you see only your students, not your peers, tutors or assessors.
    You’ll finish your CELTA in four weeks’ time – yep, it’ll be a real whirlwind! You’ll be finished the course, toured South America and be back home before _I_ finish!
    Good luck – it’ll be tough but you’ll feel elated when you graduate, and just think where it can take you 🙂

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