All About the CELTA

After one long month of training and a 10 day bayram…

I’m baaaaack

Now I can finally, FINALLY, catch ya’ll up on everything that’s been going on.  Which, I guess, wasn’t all that much from an outside perspective.  But for me and the other CELTA candidates, it was a whole lot!

 So let me rewind.  I started my CELTA course here in Izmir earlier this summer, and it lasted for one month.  CELTA is a teacher training course/program that, after completion, results in a certificate from Cambridge saying you are certified to teach English as a second language.  This is basically accepted everywhere (except in the US and maybe Canada, because we ain’t having none of that British English!), and it never expires.  To learn more, check out the course online.  The thing that I liked about CELTA vs other TOSEL or TEFOL or what have you is that CELTA is accredited by a well known institution, is accepted worldwide (besides the exceptions I gave you), and also gives you hands-on experience. Also, CELTA mostly focuses and works with adult learners, but it is also acceptable for young classrooms.

 You don’t need a degree in English or anything like that, in fact you only need to have passed high school or an equivalent.  But everyone I worked with had a degree of some kind.  But there were a variety of people, from engineers to tourism and business graduates to actual English Teaching graduates and experienced teachers.  And then me, the Food Scientist.

 Let me go into a bit of detail about my experience, for those who are considering CELTA…

  When they say it is completely consuming, it absolutely is.  On day 3 we started teaching.  Well, by “we” I mean someone in our groups.  At the very beginning we were broken into groups of around 6 and assigned a teaching level (elementary or intermediate- the students we would teach, I mean) and a tutor (certified CELTA trainer).  Then, those groups were split into two groups of three, group A and group B.  Groups A and B rotated teaching days (myself, as a B, taught on day 4, while my friends in group A taught on day 3.  Then I would teach again on day 6, while they taught on day 5…etc).  Each person in their respective group were given a 45 minute slot of teaching time, and the three would teach to actual students (ranging in number from 3 to 10, but that was just our classroom. Others had 14+ students) in the mornings.  After that we would have a break, then the teachers would be taught something by the trainers (teaching methods, observing certified teachers, etc). It was an all day event, going from 9am (prepping for the 10am class), to 5.30 pm at the earliest.

 No wonder I wasn’t blogging!

 Aside from teaching (8 lessons in total), we had four assignments to complete.  The assignments were word-counted, some in essay-ish format, and some in other formats that you would have to see to understand. Between planning those lessons and completing the assignments, we were running at full speed!

But assignments are boring, lets talk a bit more about the teaching…

 Our first lessons were basically planned for us.  They told us what our aims and sub aims were (teaching grammar/vocabulary/speaking skills/listening skills), who would teach first, and basically word-for-word what activities you would do, the materials needed (in a course book), and when in the 45 minutes you would execute them.  As we continued our lessons, however, the amount of info decreased.  In lessons 3 and 4 we were given our aims and some suggestions on what to do, and pages in a book.  In lessons 5 and 6, we were given aims and a page number, then by lessons 7 and 8 we had to choose our own aims, what were going to do in our time, who was going to teach at what point in the day, etc.

  While we taught and interacted with real-life students (ranging in age from 20 to 38, in our classroom), our trainers observed us in the back of the room, taking notes on our technique and whatnot.  Unsurprisingly, I talk way too much (but to teach you need to talk right? Maybe not…you’d have to take the CELTA to find out!) and often too fast.  I developed my own teaching style and classroom habits tremendously in only 8 lessons!

  Half way through the course (starting with lesson 5), we changed teaching levels (I began in intermediate then went to elementary, still adult learners) and continued teaching.  When going down in skill level, I found myself struggling to appropriately grade my language.  Even monitoring the tenses you use can be a challenge!  But at the same time, it was quite fun.  The students got a real kick out of it, and the teachers did too!

I know I still have a long way to go in actually learning how to teach (don’t even get me started on the G word…), but this course has given me a whole new boost of confidence when it comes to teaching.  I’m so glad I took this course, even if it ate up a month of my life!  Besides walking away with a teaching certificate, I met some awesome people (some who live here) and have gained a huge new level of independence that was introduced to me through navigating Izmir on my own.  Now I can take on the world!

So long story short…should you take the CELTA as opposed to other, online courses? In my opinion, it is absolutely worth the money and the time.

 I want to give a special shout out to the folks at the CELTA training program in Izmir.  They went above and beyond to make sure we would succeed…and we did!

Advertisements

 Celta certified! 

When I got that email a little over a month ago that said “leave behind everything, you’re starting the CELTA 1 month intensive course program”,  I thought to myself, how hard can it actually be?

I mean,  I’ve done the school thing. I’ve done grad school.  I’ve dug in cow poop in the Florida sun for crying out loud.  I can certainly handle a little month long course.

But dang,  they were not joking!!

THE CELTA IS HARD !

It’s not that the material is hard, but that you barely get to breath for five minutes before you have to turn around and do something else.  My conspicuous absence from social media is a testament to that!

But would I do it all again? Absolutely, without a doubt.  It was an amazing experience that (I think) has helped prepare me tremendously for teaching ESL.  Stay tuned for details about celta in general and my experience.

Yesterday was my last day! And now I’m escaping to the beach for the bayram! I’ll (insallah) be back with all the nitty gritty then!

By April I mean December, and by December I mean July 2017

Even before we boarded the plane last August,  everyone was asking when we would be back.  I didn’t know at the time, and said we would play it by ear.

The following January,  I had thought that I would be starting a job this September. As you all already know, my headscarf kept that from happening.  But before that,  I had told my family that I would plan on visiting in April (with the promise a future income,  I felt comfortable dropping big money).  Unfortunately I had to take that back.

A bit later,  I had anticipated another job… Another job that didn’t work out.  At that moment I had planned on taking a Christmas break and visiting my family in December.  Well,  looks like that won’t be happening either.

And now I’m starting a course in June,  hoping to find work in the coming months.  Mostly I’ve been applying to schools (which,  as you know,  I didn’t intend to do… But so many are hiring!),  which means I won’t be able to go back to the states until NEXT summer.

image

My mom started a new job on a production line,  so she’s been too busy to miss me.  Hah!  But really, having a scheduled job again instead of being her own boss has made planning a return trip home difficult.  Having to line up her vacation days with my (potential) ones is no easy task! Right now we are hoping I will be able to go stateside again next July for independence day (my favorite holiday!). 

Two whole years (ok, 23 months) since I left.  How will it feel?

Will America still be the way I remember it?

Will it be better? Worse?

What about my hometown? It hasn’t even felt like mine since I moved away for college.  But it feels a lot more mine than Izmir does right now.

While I do feel a little broken hearted (a little crack I guess) that I still have a whole year to wait before I face a 10hr plane flight solo, I knew it could have been like this when we left. Things never seem to go according to plan for us.

And it’s been about a year already, dang!

But hopefully this will.  And maybe if I’m lucky,  I’ll be bringing back more than luggage with me!

“Those who can, do… And those who can’t (?)”

Well,  I guess those who can’t go to a class or YouTube a tutorial… Because they sure as hell don’t teach!

Super rude, George Bernard Shaw.

I’m not sure how someone who can’t do a thing could possibly teach it.  Well,  I guess they could try… But they would probably suck at it.

That is my preamble into announcing I will be super busy next month taking a CELTA teachers training course! Woo-hoo!

CELTA is an English as a second language teachers certification program. For me, it consists of 4 weeks of course work and supervised teaching of English to non-native speakers,  getting feedback, doing some “homework”, and hopefully getting certified when it’s all done! It’s overseen by Cambridge University in England, but I’ll be taking the course offered here. It’s not cheap, but it also doesn’t expire… So if I ever get the opportunity to teach English, I’ll be ready to go!

I spent two years teaching at UF and loved it…I hope this is just as rewarding!

Wish me luck 🙂

Why I Left Nutrition

For those of you who know me personally, this is old news.  But for those of you who don’t, this will be new.  As you can see on my about me page, I obtained my undergraduate degree in Food Science (with a specialization in human nutrition).

But before that, when I first started at Clemson- I was on the Dietetics track.  What’s the difference, you ask?  Well, nutrition and dietetics have the same fundamentals, but dietetics tends to be more clinical- and therefore requires more accreditation.  In the US, a nutritionist does not require extra accreditation, and there is a very loose definition for this label.  However, dietitian is a very strictly regulated field, and one can only be labeled as such after taking special courses and internships at accredited Universities/medical schools/hospitals.

So, back to freshman me. I was (and still am) a huge proponent of using natural remedies/ food as preventative measures and sometimes treatment for acute illnesses and overall wellness.  This can be considered a holistic approach.  I wanted to be a holistic practitioner, and a great place to start was in dietetics.

 However, late in my sophomore year, I changed my mind.

 The main reason is simple, and quite unfortunate.  When it comes to health, everyone is an “expert”

I had determined at the relatively young age of 20, that I could not work with the general public in matters of health and wellness…because, well…they won’t listen to someone with a degree.  They are happier reading from a magazine with bright colors and fun pictures.

I’m going to start ranting now, so you may want to step out…or put on your understanding hat, and try your best not to get offended if you are a self-made nutrition/health “expert”.  Because I have a few things I would like to say to the majority of people out there who googled saturated fat and now know everything.

 Who do you think you are?

In this day and age, where everyone wants to be involved in managing and understanding their health (a very admirable trait), something has gone terribly awry.  A fog has settled in, mixing up the very important distinction between fact, theory, and opinion.  People read an article on crunchygreenearthmother.com and think they suddenly understand everything there is to know about triglycerides, what they are, where they come from, and how they are good/bad for your health.  There is no need for accredited dietitians anymore, not now that there are experts studying under Drs Google and Wikipedia.

I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but there’s a reason people go to University for this topic.  It’s because it isn’t simple- there is a lot more to nutrition than the latest fad.

For a less ranty/more informative post, check out my public service announcement about research articles and food science in general.  I’ll go ahead and leave my conclusion here, since it’s the same as this one…

knowledge>fear

and leave it to the professionals (the real ones)

It’s About That Time

This comic post is a little late since we got so busy packing the last week… for those of you who don’t follow me on instagram, we left Florida yesterday morning- for the last time.  We are now in South Carolina, staying with my mom, waiting on the final word regarding our delicate situation… yes, it has been a many-months-long process.  Inshallah the news will be good!

H1 H2 H3

Throw Back Thursday: The End of an Era

 Yesterday I received an email telling me that my thesis has been accepted by the graduate school.

 My status has been changed to final clearance.

 What does that mean?

 It’s over!

The era of higher education, for me anyway, is done.  Complete.  Finished.  Beginning around six years ago, this month, my technical graduation will be August, but for all practical purposes, I’ve completed my schooling.

 It’s been a long journey.  Starting in upstate South Carolina and eventually finding my way to Florida, I’ve had many experiences as a student.  Realizing that my studies have completed, I became a little nostalgic.  There is so much I miss about my undergraduate experience… the city of Clemson, the friends that I had there, meeting the love of my life (and marrying him), summer Sundays at Lake Hartwell, and fresh fall Saturdays spent on the hill with 80,000 of my closest friends (only fellow Tigers know what I’m talking about).

DSCN2004 DSCN2018 DSCN2080 DSCN0975

  Those are days I will never forget.  Let alone the less pleasant memories…my first failing grade, thinking my love was going to have to stay in Turkey right after meeting him, professors who couldn’t teach their way out of a paper bag…

But the good memories are so much more than the bad ones.

And then I came here.

DSCN2236

  Most of the memories I’ve made since moving to Florida revolve around married life.  Like I had said before, Hubby and I married a week before moving further south…so I wasn’t surrounded with the friends one can only make during their undergrad, but I did experience so many other things that only graduate school can provide.  That incomparable rush when you make an A in the hardest class in the department, spending every waking moment working on your research, forgetting what the outside of the lab looks like, and second guessing why in the world you are here.

 But I came.

And now it’s done.

  Of course there were lots of vacation/ beach trip memories to be made too, but those aren’t over.  There are plenty of beaches to enjoy in Turkey (can’t beat the Mediterranean, am I right?)…but school, formally, is done.  I can’t even wrap my head around it!  What will I do with my time?
DSCN2304

DSCN2659

You never stop learning, really.  For instance,  I will be learning Turkish, sewing, cooking methods, etc (inshallah)…but there is something so heavy about finishing something you have been working on for years.  Six years, to be precise.  I wonder if I will look back on Florida the way I look back at Clemson…with fondness, and a pang of longing. Time will only tell, I guess…

 It’s the end of an era.

Vertigo? Verti-NO!

  And I’m not talking about the movie…

MV5BNzY0NzQyNzQzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTgwNTk4OQ@@._V1_SX640_SY720_

As of two days ago I’ve had a nasty battle with vertigo.  If you aren’t familiar with that term- it refers to dizziness that is not associated with nausea or passing out.  I’m talking about full tilt, world spinning on it’s ear, running into walls dizziness.  It first started on Sunday afternoon when getting up from a nap.  When I woke up the following day (yesterday) for suhoor I ran into a wall… we were afraid that this vertigo was from fasting and I chose to skip fasting on Monday and make it up along with my -lady time- fasting later.  I went to the doctor today and they said I had a viral infection in my inner ear.

  I guess the good side is that nothing else feels bad?

The doctor told me not to fast for a few days so that I can fight the virus before it gets worse.  Lots of fluids and good eating were my prescription- but I am rather upset.  I very much enjoy fasting and feel very in touch with my creator when I do it.

Fortunately the only way that fasting could have caused my dizziness is that my immune system dropped (as does everyone’s) when putting excess stress on your body.  Fasting coupled with my Masters’ defense tomorrow was a stress cocktail that resulted in a viral infection…ick!

Fortunately the doctor said that after I have one full day of no dizziness I can return to my fast! YAY!

But I do want to stress that if anyone out there is feeling dizziness during their fast- they should seek medical help.  There could be a blood pressure or blood sugar problem that has reared it’s head now that you or fasting…or you could have an infection due to a lowered immune system!  Fasting is intended for our goodness and not to make us sick- so don’t be afraid to visit the doctor and take a few days off for your wellness.  Surely Allah is the most Beneficent and Merciful indeed… and you can always enjoy reading Quran or listening to tafsir (lessons) to keep your iman and taqwa boosted during this blessed month.

Ramadan Mubarek!