I finally decided on taking CELTA after saving a lot for this. I had to go through such a long thinking process in deciding this. I know that it’s going to be very useful for my PD, but I also heard about how expensive that is and the process itself. Like, really, taking CELTA is no game, think about the money you’ll spend and whether you’re going to take all the challenges and demands. It’s gonna be silly if you decided to withdraw or run away in the middle of the course and lose all the money. No big freakin’ way!
I must say, I did them on my own. I proposed the school I worked for to help supporting the course, maybe half of it, but the answer was “no”. It was maybe unfortunate but I felt lucky as I got some freelance jobs which helped me to save for it. Yup, I worked really hard for it.
I also collected many thoughts and suggestions from my PLN friends who has taken the course. And I could summarized, most of them say how demanding and stressful it would be but it was worth it. Taking 1 month intensive course in which the tasks get progressively difficult, from the easiest in week 1 and become the hardest as it reaches the final week. No final tests or tasks. But we also need to do 4 writing assignments. Okay, thoughts: teaching is my thing, I’ve been doing it for years, but when it comes to writing, as much as I like writing blogs and poems, I’m actually behind, especially in the grammar and sophisticated vocabulary. And as I’m a visual kind of person, so I might be able to imagine how the course would be, but I couldn’t figure out the real situation is.
However, thinking about a better teaching career and experience for my future professional development, as the saving’s almost enough, without thinking twice, I applied for one course at TBI Bali. I had to do the pre-interview task which mostly is about our teaching practice analysis and some writing. I must say it was not that difficult for me to answer them as I have done most of them in my 12 years of teaching. And when it came to the interview, I had to do a short and timed writing which tests how we deal with writing in a very short period of time. The interviewer said that my writing was okay, and there were only a few mistakes I made in my pre-interview task, which he then helped to discuss them together. In a short time, I received an email that I was accepted to the course. However, due to my father’s health condition, I had to postpone it.
Long story short, as my father was recovering, I decided to register again to the course in January at TBI Bandung. But since it took about 6 months afterwards, I had to register from the beginning and sent my pre-application task again. However, this time, I was surprised that I got so many notes about my writing which I didn’t get on the last interview. I didn’t mind about those feedback but it indeed gave me such a “warm welcome” to the course. That however, made me a bit nervous and thought that, even the pre-writing task was this challenging, then the course itself would be even worse??
Time flies, it had been 6 months after the interview and a month before the course. Thank God it was the Eid holiday, so I used my time to read and expose myself with those teaching methodologies. I read 2 (two) of Jeremy Harmer’s books: The Practice of English Language Teaching and How to Teach English; and Learning Teaching: A Guidebook for English Language Teachers by James Scrivener. As time was getting closer to the course, I felt even more nervous though I knew I wasn’t even tested!
Day 1 or Day 0
It was only the beginning of the course. I was glad that the first day, or they call it the Day 0, as the orientation day ended up fine and relaxing. There were 10 participants and 2 tutors who helped us through the course. The first week, the nervous feeling and anxiety were all over me. I got a book where we had to write our reflection of the day: what we think about the input sessions, any thoughts, concerns or questions about the course or the day. I started writing about how nervous I was and whether I was not sure about finishing this course successfully as I am just a mediocre teacher with inaccurate spoken and written English. Thank goodness, I have good and supportive fellow Celtoids (that’s how we call ourselves) and tutor.
I passed the first week succsfully, started with the first 4 teaching practices in the Elementary level class and I didn’t have any difficulty in the first 2 teaching practices and planning the lesson plans. The first week writing assignment was about Lessons from the Classroom. This assignment was divided into two parts: on the first part, we had to describe our personal aims in joining the course; and second part, we should write our reflection of our personal aims and the experience during the course, what was achieved and other things that still needed to be improved. This second part should be done on the final week of the course.
The challenge had just started. I was expected to apply the knowledge I got from the first week in my lesson plan and teaching practices. In addition, we started to teach for 60 minutes in the same level.
This week I got 2 writing assignments: Focus on The Learner and Language Related Task.
This was when the tension and expectation were getting higher. I started teaching Intermediate level but with the duration reduced.
This week the writing assignment was only about using authentic materials and making our own materials and some re-submissions to do.
This is the final week, teaching 60 minutes classes with more expectations to go. Applying all the feedback and input sessions in the lesson plans and the teaching. It was not an easy task, no sir. But at least I managed to do my best.
As for the writing assignment, we only needed to continue our first assignment as our final one, about the Lessons in The Classroom.
So my teaching practices and writing assignments were all done 3 days before the course officially finished. I felt like I should’ve had more things to do, but I ended up exhausted and hit the sack earlier than usual. That might be the time when your body demanded for rest.
Yeah, I actually realized when people told me it was going to be intense. But silly me, it didn’t feel real until I really experienced it. So, it was hard to say if I was ready or not. To sum up, I just want to tell people who are going to take the course: be ready for the worst situation and to push yourself out of and beyond your comfort zone. This might help us not to stress out and breakdown.
Yup, I do realize being an experience teacher could be a benefit and a hindrance for me between applying my previous practices and the new insights I got. However, what matters is actually the experience and the insights; and yes, of course the certificate too. Whatever you have during the course, all the struggles, criticism, ups and downs, tears, sweat and blood are obviously worthwhile.
Herewith I would like to thank people who have guided and supported me from the beginning of time of consideration, decision making until the course itself, especially Andy Boon, Rob Wood, Yitzha Sheilla Sarwono, Grace Marcellina, Try Manoellang, Liany Sebastian, iTDi people, my PLN, people who had shared their thoughts about the course, those who helped checking up on my condition and progress throughout the course, my parents, my little sister Ethika Mandawati for her mental support and of course, my fellow Celtoids. This is such a big step in my PD journey and I can’t thank you all enough for this.