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Archive for August, 2011

My life for the month of August has been living amongst the English teaching world of the British Side in Besiktas, a city on the other side of the Bosphorous. The course starts at 9:30 and finishes at 6:30, which means for me, I have to leave the house at 7:15 am each day to catch the ferry. It also means that I don’t get back on the ferry until 6:45 pm, which means I get home, spent, each night at 8:00.

Constantinople

The commute isn’t the hard part though.  In fact, it is quite pleasant.  For the first time in 13 years, everyday I get to drive alone in my car and listen to whatever music I want at any volume I want.  On the ferry, I get to see the magnificent view of old Istanbul each day and the 20-minute ride offers me a chance to read a book uninterrupted. I have already finished two. The grueling part is the course itself. Because I am changing directions in my teaching career, I needed to take a course to prepare me for that switch.

And  this course is delivering the goods. One day three they had us in the classroom with a group of eager students ready to learn English.While teaching is my territory, I am a literature teacher, so teaching the English language, with a panel of observers in the back, hurriedly scribbling notes on every move I make, is definitely out of my comfort zone ,which is their entire purpose.

After teaching or watching our team members teach, we have feedback sessions, where our teaching partners and tutor comment on the good and bad parts of the lesson, followed by daily written  self-reflection. So each day we are either  teaching or observing our teaching partners and taking ample notes so we can participate in the feedback sessions, which we are also graded on. This is all before lunch. After lunch we have time to work on lesson plans, which take on average about two hours to write and prepare followed by three hours of input lessons to learn all of the things we should be doing in the classroom each day. On top of that we have assignments that we are supposed to complete in our  “free time.” Everything we we do, from working with our teaching partners to implementing a lesson is graded. I quickly realized that I was pretty much useless when I rolled into the house each night at 8 pm, so I pack my lunch and work through the lunch hour. Not even the cajoling and teasing of my classmates can tear me away; I would rather work through lunch and be deemed a nerd then have to try and rouse my vegetative brain to think after such a long day.

Even though it is hard work, I am learning an enormous amount and after only two weeks I am feeling more equipped to take on the new challenge that awaits me in September. Luckily for me, the end of the course coincides with the Seker bayram, a week holiday to commemorate the end of Ramadan. So instead of heading into the beginning of the school year, we will pack up the car and head for the Aegean coast where sea views, icy golden beer and calamari await us.

So that is what I am up to for the month of August and why there probably won’t be a post here until school gets rolling in September.

Istanbul Ferry

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