IHCYLT 3: Past the Halfway Mark

It’s approaching the end of Week 7 (out of 12) on the course, and it has been laborious. There have been many times when I found myself thinking that I could have been done with this in two weeks if the YLE course in Saigon hadn’t been cancelled last November, but then I remind myself that those kinds of thoughts aren’t helpful to anyone.

The upside to doing the course while working is that I get new input every week and I learn lots of new things and get a lot of new ideas that I can try out in the classroom straight away. I see what works, what needs tweaking, what can be adapted, and so on. Doing it that way helps me learn better rather than taking a mental note of it and saying, “Yeah, I definitely need to try that in my class one time” and ultimately just forgetting about it or forgetting the mechanics of it once I get around to actually trying it.

I’ve completed 2 (out of 4) Teaching Practice observations at the A2 pre-teens level (upper-intermediate, 10-12 years old) and my final 2 will be with A1 kids level (beginner, 6-8 years old). I got positive feedback on my first observation — which I was happy about, obviously — and I’m getting my feedback on the second observation later on today. I’m not sure what to expect because it was a grammar lesson with the future continuous, and I feel like grammar has never really been an area of strength for me in terms of teaching it. I will find out how I did in a few hours, though.

On a side note, I’m currently recovering from yet another bout of illness, this one actually rendering me incapable of leaving my apartment and forcing me to call in sick, which I have not done in years. I think it’s spring now, and it’s what people are calling “Moldy March” because everything is getting moldy — books, clothes, shoes, walls, floors, cabinets, utensils, bags, tea bags, luggage, cables, etc. The weather can’t seem to make up its mind and goes from cold to temperate, but constantly damp and humid. The kids are sick. The teachers are sick. It’s grim.

But on the plus side, I’ve got 5 more course weeks left and then I might actually have time to be bored again. Will update soon.

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6 Months in Hanoi

I have officially been living and working in Hanoi for 6 months. It’s hard to describe how I feel about it. It’s been a whirlwind of emotions since I arrived here and it has definitely been quite an experience. I’ve gone from liking it, to hating it, to being okay with it and accepting that this is my home for the next set number of months. I’ve experienced the heat of autumn and the harsh Vietnam winter, homesickness and sadness from the weight of missing loved ones, the worst health I’ve had in years, but I’ve also experienced meeting new people, making new friends, and growing as a teacher.

It hasn’t been an easy 6 months, but I can say that I’ve learned a lot — about myself, my relationships, and my career. I have learned a lot from my work place and I can honestly say that I am not the same teacher that I was when I first started here, in a good way. It has been challenging, sometimes to very stressful levels and to the point where I questioned why I was a teacher at all. But it’s made me better and I know it will benefit me somehow in the future.

I’m a third through my IHCYLT course and surviving it so far and I’ve got 8 months left on my contract with lots more to go through and learn. To be completely frank, I am exhausted. Somehow though, I know that at the end of it all, it will all have been worth it.