Heading Back to Being a Student
Looks like there is just about eight more weeks left till I hitch a ride back to America. I've done a lot of preparation towards moving and learning about Seattle. It seems preparing myself for Graduate school and becoming a student again has been on the back of my mind. I know that Graduate school will be a lot harder than Undergraduate school, but haven't really grasped that yet. In hindsight I don't really think there is much I can do to prepare for my upcoming school days, except buy some notebooks and pens.
However, I figured why not get a sense for the terminology and concepts of TESOL before heading into the classroom. So I went on iTunes and downloaded some "iTunesU" of TESOL lectures. The Teachers College at Columbia University offers some videos on the subject such as, "Action-based Teaching and Learning: An Ecological Perspective." So I packed up my notebook (the paper kind) and iPod and headed to my local Starbucks this morning. I figured the crowds won't be there till the afternoon and I could get some cozy listening in before the couples arrive.
As I sat and listened to the lecture it all sort of made sense to me. Although I don't know all the jargon he was using I was able to correlate the content with my own experience. He had a chart on the projector that showed how one can go about lesson planning and execution. On one side was a "very planned" style where students know what to expect every time, and on the other side was more innovative styles. He said how if you stick to a rigid plan each class can become stale, and worse if you don't really plan and just "wing-it" your classes have no clear outcomes. Planning for innovation and exploration is more favored because students get involved and make real-life connections. He asked the audience where they felt they were on this graph, and to me I felt like I was somewhere in the center. I make really detailed plans but also change things up class-to-class. I've also found that I sometimes assess the students attitudes as the class starts and change up my activities or lecture to accommodate.
All in all, listening to the lectures and taking notes reassured me I can head back to school. It's been six years since I was as a student, and hope I'm not too rusty. I think I'll have a lot to input into the class as I'll be bringing my teaching experience with me. So I'm all excited to be heading back to school and also just jazzed up about getting more into this profession. :)