Follow up to “An Unexpected Challenge”

Early last month I posted a small (but heavy) litany of problem/struggle areas I was having during the first very challenging segment of an extensive CELTA course I was tutoring alone. It bordered on a screed. Maybe a bit of a scream. As I write this now the other trainer has returned from elsewhere and taken over for the second half. My involvement is essentially over, kaput, in the bag…and things definitely turned out….OK! Maybe more than OK!

Why more than OK? First, the trainees are doing well. As of this writing they’re all about to get healthy CELTA passes.  Second, due to the rather rough n’ tough start and the reflection it forced on me (after the fit) it has turned out to be a really solid learning experience for me.

I’m glad I got that really negative post out, too, and expressed something that raw here for the first and only time so far (I believe). Those less-than-excited emotions about my job. This was good, because it was real.

Below I follow up with some brief reflections and updates on the original statements…

1. Only 4 trainees. I have to feel tweek and rework all the input sessions I’m just getting tuned up. This turned out to function as a really good filter through which to pass my still-developing take on a bunch of CELTA input sessions. I needed to adapt them I uncovered some interesting new angles and ways to go about achieving the session aims (as far as I yet can, anyway). 

2. Input session Saturdays = dominoes of timing problems when input sessions aren’t really tight. Lots of moving parts in a tight space. This got much better towards the end – mainly because I gathered the discipline to censor and edit myself when I found myself wanting to keep going. I noticed a bit of a self-interested edge there, and realized I was, subtly, putting my own desires ahead of the needs of the trainees – specifically the need for getting to GLP on time and not forcing them to stay beyond the regular time! GLP! Beyond everything that goes down in Input Sessions, it is GLP that the trainee craves. 😉 

3. My MCT is gone. Off to train elsewhere. The stabilizer I’ve come to depend on, pOOf! Gone. Well, this was really decent training, ultimately, for the next course…on which I was (and still am, it ain’t done) MCT. So I got good experience dealing with the glitches and the admin stuff that inevitably comes up. The lining? Yep, it’s silver! 😉

4. Literally alone with my trainees and TP students eves. Nobody at the front desk. Nobody to deal with late TPers. Mess? It’s on me to manage. That could be a little bit anxiety-inspiring, but it all turned out OK. No emergencies. No larceny. No deaths. 

5. Five weeks of me, me, me. I’d get sick of me too! Even more anxiety-inspiring, when the MCT comes back and takes over for the second half – I’m handing over these 4 trainees in a state unmistakably conditioned by me (and my weaknesses, blind spots, and eccentricities). Nothing blended in. The question, seems to me, isn’t whether they’ll be a gap, but rather just how dramatic it’ll be! The trainees turned out fine. A bit self-aggrandizing in a negative way there, me! Grandiose, that thinking. I just read their final assignment – the reflective paper…and they mentioned all kinds of development from my half of the course. Who am I to think I could have thwarted that? Silly me…of course I get to lack confidence and work with my insecurities as a newbie. But the above does strike me as a bit melodramatic now. And slightly uncharitable to those trainees themselves alongside. 

6. There’s like 10-12 other things! And really b-b-b-bad ones! But I’m already awash in anxiety now after typing out 5! Oi! Can’t even deal. Because…Aaahhhh! Wow, I really was flustered! 

That’s that. Like I mentioned above, I’m glad for it now. This is how I can grow. Like a garden: it really helps to have some manure in the soil.

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