End-of-course reflections

Today, three of my adult classes and one of my kids classes did their final tests. Tomorrow, my two teenager classes will do their final tests. The three young learner classes, I keep, the three adult classes, I lose. So today was goodbye to three lots of students: I felt (feel!) rather bereft! It’s certainly been quite a roller-coaster of a four months: Moving to Palermo, starting the new job – and these classes! – as well as learning Italian and then embarking on the IH Young Learner Teaching certificate course, to top it all off. Phew! Meanwhile, this is my first job post-Delta and M.A. ELT, so there has been a backlog of learning to process (meanwhile trying to deal with all the learning from the YL certificate course too!), some settling down to do, as well as lots of experimentation, naturally. This mid-way point seemed like a good point to pause and reflect.

I feel I have learnt heaps in the past four months, much of which from my students. It’s been wonderful working with them and trying to help them become more autonomous, confident language users. Learning has also resulted from being observed by my DoS and my Young Learner Coordinator, both as part of regular in-service CPD and as part of the YL certificate course. A grand total of 5 observations in 4 months! In addition, there have been a fortnightly series of workshops on various topics. Sometimes I go to them thinking, “this is really the last thing I feel like doing this [Friday] morning” but then, once you’re there, it’s really refreshing being back in the learning seat and it has a clear positive impact on your teaching. The YL certificate has taught me a lot, it goes without saying, as well as driving me up the wall on a regular basis. Nothing like in-service training certificate courses to test the boundaries of one’s sanity! And of course I’ve also learnt a lot from being a language learner again: my attempts to learn Italian have certainly coloured what I do in the classroom. Finally, the various threads of my learner autonomy project have been immensely rewarding and have yielded some very positive results/feedback, but there is so much more potential for development with the project, which is a great position to be in – very exciting! 🙂  I will continue to experiment and find ways to help my learners harness all the potential bubbling away in them as individuals and as groups.

My Delta and M.A. already seem a very long time ago, and I miss that time, as it was such an immense time of learning and growth for me. However, it’s wonderful to be working in a place where I can really work with what I’ve learnt and build on it. I’m looking forward to the next wave of courses and building on what I’ve learnt during the first lot – using all the freed-up processing space that comes from not having to learn a bunch of new systems for doing things (e.g. progress reports, testing, etc etc) and from greater familiarity with the materials. Once the YL course has finished, and I have more time freed up, I would like to make some more materials – or at least finish refining the ones I made during my M.A. and started to upload onto my blog before the tidal wave of work swept over me! – read more (I’ve got a back-log of ELT reading building up!) and experiment more systematically with the many, many things I’ve learnt over the past year and a half.

The last four months have been hard work, there’s no denying it, but so rewarding. I suppose that is what teaching is all about! Here’s to the next four and all the challenges they hold… 🙂 (First things first, though: a heap of marking and reports to plough through by Friday! 😉 )



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