Friday saw me complete my first assessed Teaching Practice (or TP) for the CELTA course. At this stage in the course, they give you quite detailed guidance on what you should do during the lesson and you’re not required to produce a lesson plan. Instead, we each had to produce a ‘run sheet’ of notes to help us run the session. Inevitably, mine ended up looking something like a slimmed down lesson plan – but the good news is that it seems to have gone down well and (other than being a bit too small for me to read easily) it did the trick.
The lesson seemed to go quite well, although for some reason I was incredibly nervous! I suppose that’s what happens when you have five people sitting at the back of the class watching you. I’ve always thought it was bad enough with one person observing, but five is something else! And I think I was putting myself under pressure because of my previous teaching experience. I just have to keep telling myself it’s ok that I’m not an expert yet – teaching EFL is new to me and it’s good that I’m learning.
Anyway, it’s done. I now have a week until my next assessed TP on Friday. I’ve already been given the guidance notes and have made a start on the run sheet, but according to our timetable we have some ‘guided lesson planning’ time tomorrow, so we’ll see what that involves and how it changes things.
Having got the TP out of the way, I came home, packed up some bits and bobs for an overnight stay and took the bus to Chelva to see Sara, the Brit I met at Pilar’s flat.
Chelva is a small town (although the Spanish still call it a ‘ciudad’) of 2,000 people in the mountains about an hour outside of Valencia, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. I couldn’t see much when I arrived as it was gone 8.00pm and dark, but when I got up in the morning, it was to be greeted by the most amazing views.
The town seems to have a really interesting history, which has resulted in Arab, Christian, Jewish and Moorish ‘barrios’ or quarters. (For more info, see this blog!)
After breakfast, I went for a wander round the town and took some photos before meeting Sara and her Argentinian friend at a café in the main square. Although it was cool in the shade, the sun was really hot and I soon had to take my jumper off – unheard of for me in January!
After finishing our drinks and stocking up on the local produce (olive oil, honey and the most gorgeous chilli-flavoured olives) Sara took me for a walk down by the river. The almond blossom was out and you could hear the bees getting busy collecting pollen. The river was fast-moving, but at the end of our walk we came to the ‘playeta‘ – a sort of bathing area (there were signs warning that it was dangerous to bathe there, but apparently people do) where we sat and took in the sights, sounds and smells before embarking on the hike back up the hill. It was a lovely way to spend a warm Saturday afternoon.
I have to say that I was quite taken with Chelva, and could almost see myself living there. It is much smaller than Valencia and I do love the fact that there is so much going on in the city, but it felt like a really friendly place and is certainly beautiful. Apparently, many people split their time between the city and the country and I can see why. Maybe that’s the ideal way to do things – winter in the city, summer in the country.
The great thing is that I have so much flexibility at the moment. My course finishes in mid-March, then it’s time for Fallas in Valencia but beyond that – and certainly beyond the end of April (which is when my accommodation is booked until) – I can choose where I go and what I do. I don’t need to decide right now.
Speaking of accommodation, I get the keys to my new place on Friday and move on Saturday. I’m slightly anxious about the amount of stuff I’ve managed to accumulate already, but I’m sure it will be fine. I’ll just have to make an initial trip and then return with an empty suitcase or two for the rest of my things. And if I end up having to get a taxi, that’s fine too.
I know there are challenges yet to come but right now, life is good.