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I’ll be away for a month, to be assessed as a teacher and to take time out to see where I should go next. This is the longest I’ve been away from my husband since my dad died some 17 years ago. It’s not the best time to go, either. But when is ever a good time to be away from the ones you love for so long?

As I pack up my books, I realize how few I can take with me, despite packing light to leave room up to 20kg. And my paper notes have to stay here. While I was reading I realized that I couldn’t do everything digitally, I needed to write things down in longhand. I tried to write as many essays as I could, but kept running out of time. So I don’t have enough consolidated notes for revision, then. Bother.

I had quite a shock when I sat down to write my first essay longhand, and simply couldn’t sort my ideas to commit them to paper. There are quite a lot of questions, in three sections, and it’s hard to know when to finish and move on to the next one. It took me 8 hours to write what should take 3 hours, because I kept starting over, I couldn’t just leave it and move on to the next thought, no matter how I tried structuring through headings. The devil is in every little word. Writing digitally has changed the way I write completely.

As a result, I’m pretty sure my exam is going to bomb. But I’m taking it relatively lightly. I’m not in this to make a career at this point. As I said at the beginning of this project, I’m in it for the pleasure of learning more about a field I’ve dedicated quite a few working years to.  I also feel I’ve been losing my edge, and want to make sure, as I expand my repertoire from mostly Business and Academic English to Scientific English and teaching speakers of other languages, that my knowledge of methodology and applied teaching is broad enough. I specifically wanted to do this diploma course over a masters course for the practice and exchange with other teachers, and that now lies ahead.  I’m excited, looking at 3-4 weeks of assessed teaching in a country I’ve never been to. Which is something quite different from just teaching and finding your way in, let alone from spending time there as a tourist and slowly getting to know the place. Language is so very key. So to me this is all a real adventure.

Oxford TEFL have told me I can retake the exam if I fail. I’m also handing in my projects late. And all of that is fine.