Monday, April 22, 2013

Get It Started

Thanks to my wonderful husband, I now have a fancy new laptop (ThinkPad T430) with the newest version of Flash. Plus it's portable! Did you all know about this? It's quite a nice feature.

And with said laptop in place, I was able to officially sign up for my TESOL* Certification course. I am doing the 100 hour course through LinguaEdge ($250). After signing up and paying, I was able to crank out two units in about 2 hours. Two units out of a total 44. Ok, so not very far, but certainly farther than I was yesterday with ZERO units done.  I will do my best to work on it 20 hours a week, and hopefully can get it done relatively soon.

While there are a few glitches in the system (why no home button? why always back?) it's been quite fun. There are little interactive games ("match this word to its possible origin") every so often, which nicely breaks up all the text reading. It is also possible to download each unit in PDF, so I will now have copies to review from now until the end of time.

I will try and do 3 units (and an end of module project, 4 units=module) tomorrow and report back if I survive! Wish me luck!

* Often required to teach English abroad. Often required, along with a college degree, to teach in an Adult English Language school in the United States.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Make A Course Correction: Part 2

Ok, where was I? Ah yes, the epiphany. Once I realized that changing the population and subject of what I would teach could fix most of the problems, I became overjoyed. And I realized, whether the subject is swimming, insulin pumps/diabetes, exercise, etc. I am and always will be a teacher.

So I began researching what it takes to teach English to Adults in the United States (most language schools require a Bachelor's degree and a TESOL certification, community colleges require a M.A. in TESOL or an equivalent.) And also outside the U.S. (sometimes just a Bachelor's degree, but a TESOL certification helps a lot.)

Note: You have ESL=English As a Second Language (student lives in the U.S. but is a non-native speaker) and EFL=English as a Foreign Language (student lives in non English speaking foreign country and is learning English), if you combine them you have TESOL=Teacher of English of Students of Other Languages. Confusing? Yes. It took me a good week to sort all of that out.

I asked my husband, and I asked my Mom, "Does this job sound like a good fit for me?" and they both answered, "Yes".

I talked with people in the field, I attended local English Conversation Circles (I couldn't believe how quiet and well behaved the students were. What a difference from what I am used to!), I contacted local language schools to find out what they liked to see when hiring, and I spent a lot of time thinking.

And so, in the next week or so I will begin my 100 hour TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification. I have chosen an online, self-paced program so that I can still accomplish my other goals. And I am also now leading an Adult English Conversation Circle held at my local elementary school. I've been having lots of fun sketching out possible lesson plans for the program and thinking of fun teaching tools.

After my certification is complete, I plan on looking for a teaching job at an English language school. And if that goes well, I will start thinking about getting a Master's degree.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Make A Course Correction: Part 1

After a recent horrible phone interview, which left one of us in tears of frustration (Can you guess who?) I decided to take a step back from my job search.

Way back, back to high school and personality type tests. I took one and I came up with "Harmony Seeking Idealist"

Your personality type: "Harmony-seeking Idealist"

Quietly forceful, original and sensitive. Tend to stick to things until they are done. Extremely intuitive about people and concerned for their feelings. Well-developed value systems which they strictly adhere to. Well-respected for their perseverance in doing the right thing. Likely to be individualistic, rather than leading or following.

Careers that could fit you include:

Counselors, clergy, missionaries, teachers, medical doctors, dentists, chiropractors, psychologists, psychiatrists, writers, musicians, artists, psychics, photographers, child care workers, education consultants, librarians, marketeers, scientists, social workers.

Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes. The full description of a Harmony Seeking Idealist blew my mind even further. This was me on paper. Someone had put into words the things I often can't. And so I decided to stop comparing myself to others and start celebrating my uniqueness.

And if someone had already figured out possible career paths of someone with my personality type, then why not start there? But I had already tried some of those careers (SpecialEd teacher, social worker, psychologist, child care worker) and kept getting stuck.

And then I was hit with a pretty bad cold. A stay in bed unless eating or going to the bathroom cold. Too sick to watch T.V. but not well enough to read and so I just lay there and pondered: How can I have a job in a profession I am well suited for while avoiding previous issues? And it finally came to me: change the population and change the subject. Rather than kids, it will be adults. Rather than SpecialEd it will be English... (to be continued)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

You Live You Learn

I've been getting allergy shots since November and when I tell people about it I get asked the same question. "Did they make your seasonal allergies go away?" I would reply that I wasn't sure yet because I wasn't sure when my season started. Well, April 1, 2013 it started. And the answer to the above question is NO!

Monday I felt sick to my stomach. Tuesday I felt like someone unplugged my battery and today I feel like I have the flu, so I can see how last year, since I had never had seasonal allergies before, I did not know what was going on for months and months.

But this time, I am prepared. I should be back to normal in a few days thanks to my extra medicine and my knowledge that I shouldn't open the windows to let the fresh air in (I had to put up a note to reinforce this issue with myself). And I've already made some notes, so that next year I can be ahead of the game: When the birch trees start to have green leaves, start the nasal spray!

Ok, back to bed for me.