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Teaching Practice Nerves

Posted: 17 Jul 2012, 22:19
by Jemineye
So after successfully completing the pre-course interview, I have been accepted onto the Cert. TESOL course. I'm very happy and I'm determined to do it, complete it and get my qualification, but the only thing that makes me nervous is the Teaching Practice. I am quite nervous about it so I was wondering if there is anyone out there that could share their experiences with me. I would love to hear from anybody, but would really like to hear from people who had strong unease (even borderline fear/phobia) about getting up in front of a class in this scenario.

I'm not a very confident public speaker. I mean, I've done it. I've done acting as a child and felt fine doing that; even reading a speech. But when it comes to anything remotely like a presentation, the butterflies settle in.

Re: Teaching Practice Nerves

Posted: 30 Jul 2012, 11:01
by Elissa
I remember my first experience in front of a class... I said 'OK' and 'So...' far too much, I shook like a rabbit in the headlights and I missed out half of my lesson plan!

And I came from a background in corporate software training!

You have to take the plunge and get the first one over with, then it's much, much easier!

The one thing I would caution is that being a teacher you are very much in the spot light and that never completely goes away. I have to deliver demo classes for prospective new students and their parents, I have to do 'Open door' lessons where the parents of my regular classes come in to watch; the performance aspect is always there. If it is something you are genuinely scared of, then maybe teaching ESL isn't the right thing for you. Most people teach in a different country, where they have to get used to a new culture, new way of life, language and a new job all on their own. If you're scared of being in front of a class, these adjustments can seem terrifying.

2 years ago a woman from Canada came out to China to teach at the school I worked at. She came in to teaching because she'd always thought about doing it and she figured she'd give it a try. She had such stage fright in the classroom she could barely speak and ran out of most of her classes during her first week. She didn't have a very calming or commanding presence and she lasted two weeks before packing her bags and returning to Canada.

So long as you can take control of your nerves and concentrate on what you're doing you should be fine. If anything, teach adults and use the age old stage trick of picturing them in their pants... This doesn't work if you want to teach children, for obvious reasons!

Re: Teaching Practice Nerves

Posted: 01 Aug 2012, 12:51
by Jemineye
A lot of people have told me that the first TP is always the worst (in terms of nerves) but after that you want to do it again and again and again. I'm hoping this is the case for me. I'm not the type of person who wants to fail and very much doubt I'm on par with that Canadian woman. I do think I might adopt a habit of repeating certain language fillers e.g. your "okay" and "so" on my first go, but I feel the advantage I might have once it's under my belt, is that I'm very good at planning things.

I'm so grateful that the first TP is 30 minutes.

Ironically though, I always feel that teaching children would be easier than teaching adults. Even though, some children can be right little rascal, they ultimately defer to you because you're the adult really. With adults, they often pay money, so if you don't deliver, it looks bad on the company as a whole.

I'll see how I go though. This is why I opted to do the TEFL course first and not just to jump into it. Now that I've put money down however, I'm determined to move forward.

Re: Teaching Practice Nerves

Posted: 03 Aug 2012, 09:37
by kaithegreene
I've been teaching for nearly 20 years, and training teachers for the last 5 as well - in my experience it seems everyone feels nervous to begin with. On CELTA, or any other training course, your tutors know this, and should be kind and positive in their feedback which is designed to support your professional development.

I think one thing that makes CELTA stressful is the daily round of feedback after TP. I try hard to help our CELTA trainees gel into a supportive group right from day one in order to facilitate a positive and creative atmosphere in which learning can take place without too many tears. So many CELTA trainees come to EFL after a successful career elsewhere, and suddenly becoming a small fish in a big pond after being a big fish in a small(er) pond can be a little uncomfortable at times - so be kind to each other with TP feedback.

Re: Teaching Practice Nerves

Posted: 03 Aug 2012, 13:03
by Jemineye
That's the thing. I've heard that my course director, while a funny guy, is also, a bit of a straight talker (he doesn't sugar coat) - which I do respect, as I see myself as a straight talker also. I also, know that I'm liable to take certain things to heart - not in the aggressive manner, but in the "I should have done better" ideal. Ultimately though - I am a small fish. I'm early twenties and just starting down which will be my first proper career track.

Re: Teaching Practice Nerves

Posted: 05 Aug 2012, 03:07
by kaithegreene
Of course you should have done better, and so should we all, in all aspects of life - in an ideal world!

However, down here on planet earth you can only proceed from where you are, and all experience can be a springboard for further learning and development. If you think/feel you should/could have done better, why not reflect on both what didn't work so well and what did work well? We often spend too much time focusing on what didn't work well and not enough time on how we could do it better another time; and more importantly, what did work well, why it worked well, and how we can use that to teach more effectively in the future.

I see nothing wrong in telling it how it is, providing "how it is" includes some awareness of our target audience's humanity.

Good luck with the course!