I recently complained about ‘listicles’ in a twitter video post but because I’m human I’m a just a lil’ bit of a hypocrite. So I’m going to post a list of six (little) things that can be frustrating and/or challenging for CELTA tutors/short course teacher trainers…
…and if you’re a trainer and one of them rings true for you and you’d like to fill in some details, or you’ve got one to add (this is HARDLY an exhaustive list) do so in a comment!
…and if you’re not a trainer and want to know more about a particular one, ask about it in the comments! 🙂
- When you’re not sure how many candidates are going to show up and you have to create two or more alternative schedules, TP rotas, and other documents to prepare for the course (this is happening now, argg).
- When you have a course looming but you’ve yet to find an assessor for it (thankfully this isn’t happening now, but has happened before…it’s stressful!). You always manage to find one, but it’s ful o’ stress!
- When failing to acknowledge copyright on handouts and plans continues to be an issue even after 243 reminders.
- When you have lots of great new ideas for an input session, and get excited to try them out on a course, but end up without enough time to prepare it and so end up doing the one you’ve always done…but without your usual verve because you’re disappointed in yourself.
- When you somehow (once! first and last time!) allow a misspelled name to make it onto a certificate and need to go through the rigamarole to get it fixed…also: #secretpenance
- When you just. can’t. rustle. up. enough. TP. students!!! (this hasn’t been much of an issue recently, thankfully, and things are GREAT at the moment).
That’s my six. Not the result of an exhaustive reflection, just the first six that came to me, frankly.
The whole ‘beautiful struggle’ of training, of course, is the “training” itself! It’s such a fun job, it’s such a great space to be in. And it’s amazing what trainees experience and achieve in those four short weeks. Each and every time, it’s an amazing (and amazingly challenging) month on planet CELTA.
But it’s only a controlled, microcosmic experience out of which you just hope trainees take some lasting, inspired learnings. And each time hope YOU, as a trainer, also bring out some concrete, lasting lesson which will propel you forward into even more satisfying experiences with learning and teaching. It’s very rare that any of the things listed above get in the way of appreciating the point of it all.
Finally, to continue to put it all in larger perspective…I want to say that (of course) the typical cluster of real, large scale challenges in the career of a teacher (and a teacher/teacher-trainer) goes far, far beyond any particular short training course – stretching out afterwards and in fact long BEFORE any training like this ever occurs, as the slide below reminds…
What’s the “Apprenticeship of Observation”?: http://eltj.oxfordjournals.org/content/58/3/274.full.pdf
…*10 minutes later*…
Hmm..so I ended up ^there…because…well, I think it’s just really important to stay with the ‘big picture’ as much as possible: something listing “frustrations with X” can sometimes stray away from.
Basically, I’m paranoid about cynicism leading to burnout (healthily, I think – what’s the word for that?) and try to ‘manage frustrations’ as mindfully as possible. A short course like the CELTA is potentially experienced as ‘fraught with failure’ – for trainees and trainers. In the same way, a term with learners can feel like an endless uphill battle, and never good enough. The list can grow from 6 to 600.
It’s something I’ve seen play out so many times with colleagues, not to mention certain qaudrants of my own mind.
The shall we say ‘zen’ approach to it, I think, is all about perspective – something the ‘apprenticeship of observation’ concept helps provide so nicely. Also, certain SLA principles which teachers can keep in mind when it seems their students aren’t improving/changing in just the ways they are ‘supposed to’ in X number of weeks/months.
Maybe I’ll post a list of 7 or 12 of those perspective-givers in the future. 😛