Green Fingers

Therapeutic GardeningWhilst I love living where I do, the sea on my doorstep, the beautiful countryside all around, there is one thing I miss, and that is my own garden.

It has to be said, that there were times in the past, when weeding or mowing the lawn was a bit of a chore. But after many years, the opportunity to get stuck in and help in the garden today was a bit of a treat.

It was fun working together, the whole job was sorted within a couple of hours, and the sight of a nicely mown lawn is always a nice reward for your efforts.

It helped that the garden in question was pretty small, the grass dry and not too long, and that the flower beds simply needed a good weeding. Non the less, the whole process was rather therapeutic, and working in the cool of the evening made a nice contrast to what had been a really hot and sunny day.

Certified Fun

I Can Sing A RainbowAnother wonderful day of certified teacher training fun. Just full on learning, does it get any better than this? Despite the long day yesterday, and the rather challenging homework on verb tenses, everyone was in excellent spirits and raring to go.

We organised ourselves into new groups and moved to new places in the classroom, just to change things up a bit, and then carried on with the training. The morning started with grammar. Do you know your future simple from your past perfect? I do, well now I do. That was followed by teaching techniques for speaking and reading, writing and listening.

Who would have thought that there were so many interesting ways to introduce language concepts? All the topics covered, from both days, were leading us towards designing, planning and finally presenting a lesson on a topic of our choice. So after a quick stroll into town to buy provisions, we all settled down for a working lunch.

Our team task was to design a ten minute lesson to teach children, at the elementary learning stage, the colours of the rainbow, as listed in the popular song. We created posters for the names of the colours and put them up around the classroom. We sorted ‘tiddly wink’ style counters into groups, so each colour was represented.

Each member of the team had to be involved in a teaching role at some point, so we organised the task into sub-tasks and set about learning our part. Although we had more than two hours to complete the lesson plan, it is amazing how quickly time passes when you are enjoying yourself. So in no time we had to stop designing and start teaching.

Despite the similarity of the tasks, it was fascinating to see how each team had slightly, even vastly, different ways of approaching them. Some people used the flip chart and had pictures, others used the projector and PowerPoint slides, one team even used a chair as a prop.

All the lessons were excellent, lots of fun, and would have met the requirement nicely. Ian and Ashling’s lesson on Prepositions, on, behind, beside, under etc. deserves particular mention, simply because they used Ian and a chair to demonstrate the words. There was much hilarity at the sight of Ian, and subsequently Ashling and others trying to get under the chair.

Standing in front of a group of people and talking, or in our case singing, for ten minutes might be daunting for some people, but everyone either enjoyed the challenge, or put on a very brave face. The one thing that struck every team, was just how quickly the time went. I’m not sure anyone actually completed all the tasks that they had designed into the lesson. But that was just another aspect of our training, don’t try to fit a quart into a pint pot.

All too quickly the day was over. We all gave and received feedback on the weekend as a whole and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to be delighted to hear that I had passed and will receive my practical training certificate in the post.

Apart from being immersed in a completely difference world, that of teaching rather than IT, and learning a whole new set of methods, tricks and tools, I also met a great bunch of people, with whom I shall be conversing via Facebook and email over the next few months or years, about our shared goals and ambitions in our new careers. How exciting is that? !!!

A Day Of Laughter And Learning

A Day Of Laughter And LearningThe first day of my TEFL teacher training course today was great fun. Although it meant an early start and a late finish, the time really flew by.

The teacher is great, the topics are bringing back lessons from school days and the other students are a really good bunch of local people.

My partner for the day, who also comes from the Bournemouth area, is a Nichiren Buddhist, so apart from the English, we had plenty to talk about. The work was pretty relentless, one topic flowing seamlessly into another, though we did manage to take a stroll, en mass, in the lunchtime fresh air and sunshine.

I know I’ve mentioned it in previous posts, but I love being immersed in the world of learning. With a bit of homework to complete before tomorrow’s second installment, it has been a long day, but I am looking forward to a whole lot more of the same tomorrow.

This is the perfect example of making causes for the effects I want to see, and I promise to let you know how it goes.

Don’t Say It

Needle In A HaystackIt’s been one of those Mondays again. Indications appeared over the weekend, warning texts being delivered at all times of day and night, harbingers of IT doom. Not that any of the sites were really down in the technical sense, but they were dragging their little feet when trying to load.

So today, Dan and Andy have been digging through log files and reams of code, trying to identify the piece, or pieces of software that are guilty of causing the malaise, while I have been emailing and talking to clients about why they can’t purchase their latest catalogue, new pair of tweezers, or much sought after stamp.

If truth be told, the whole project of cleaning up the background processes is rather overdue. But as with many things in life, it has never seemed the right time to do it. Sadly, again as with so many things in life, the longer you put off the inevitable, the worse the task becomes when you finally bite the bullet.

Now, after all this effort, it would be nice to think that we have fixed the issues, learned from our mistakes, and that we can create a new smoother build that will rid us of these problems, but I fear that might be an over optimistic view to take.

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