Monday, 3 March 2014

Confiding in Yourself

So the weekend TEFL course has been completed.

I'm glad to say I passed!

Although it's not that much of an achievement when you consider the fact that it has a 99% pass rate - but still, I passed it!

I think the only way you would fail was if you really didn't like people.

I like people = I passed.

I didn't think I would make it to the second day because of a hell-raising trip there.

The train was cancelled so I had to take the coach instead. As long as I got there in time, I didn't mind. I put my headphones on, got my book out and began to read. We had been on the motorway for about five minutes when I thought I heard shouting. It was loud enough to be heard over my music. I took out one earphone and looked around, everybody seemed to be normal (either looking out of the window, playing on their phones, or reading etc). I waited for the shouting to occur again - by this point I was beginning to think I was imagining it. I was just about to put my earphone back in when somebody shouted something.

'I've told you!' said the voice. 'They're not working! I can't see! Yes! As soon as I got on the motorway.'

It was coming from the coach driver . . .

I looked down the isle to the front and saw several other heads doing the same.

There was rain and mist all over the windscreen.

The wipers had stopped working.

'No! said the coach driver. 'Well what am I supposed to do? No. Yeah. I've told you! Yeah!'

People began to get a bit fidgety. Great, I thought, I'm trying to better myself and die in the process.


It reminded me of what Ricky Gervais says in the film Ghost Town. 'I was just getting started!' He says, just after he has died. 'Everything leading up to this was a warm up.'

Fortunately, the fact that I'm writing this post means that I didn't die. We got there in one piece with a very frustrated driver, who, when we were getting off the coach, was inspecting the faulty wipers.

Back to the TEFL course. The whole group were dreading the long hours. Saturday, for instance, was 9am to 8pm. Sunday wasn't too bad, starting from 9am to 6pm - but still quite a long stretch.

Many people were moaning on the Sunday about getting up early. Why do so many of us think it's against nature to get up early on a Sunday? May be it originates from the rumour that it's the day of rest . . . ?

That said, the whole weekend went really quick. We had fun and learnt new teaching skills. We played a lot of games and supported each other, giving honest feedback when needed.

When you get a group of people doing such a course, it only takes around 20 minutes to suss everybody out.

  • You've got the extrovert who always wants to be heard. They always put their hand up to volunteer and they always want to be laughed at. 
  • You've got the serious people who are there to have minimum fun, but by the end of the course they're cracking a smile and having a good time like the rest of the group. 
  • You've got the shy people who never put their hand up. They smile faintly at other peoples' jokes, but not too much as to attract attention. Towards the end of the course, they're comfortable at putting their hand up and speaking up - but not too loudly.
  • You've got the person who thinks they know it all, but every time they try to answer a question they get it wrong. Yet still, they think they know it all. 
  • You've got the people who are in between the introvert and the extrovert. It doesn't take them that long to put their hand up to voice their opinion, but they're fully aware if and when they're holding the class back, and decide to shut up. 
  • You've always got the person who doesn't seem to care. They don't really want to be there and everything is a chore for them. They sit doodling on their A4 pad and picking their nails whilst everybody else is contributing and taking part. 

It's fascinating.

In school, I was the quiet kid. I knew the answers to most questions but I never raised my hand, just in case I was wrong and got laughed at. The less attention I had, the better. Even now, I still find it daunting to raise my hand to answer a question or to even ask one, because as soon as I do, it's all eyes on Gav. I've always been a self-conscious person, even as a child, but attending courses like TEFL do wonders for confidence.

If I have a question, I can still feel the critic inside saying, 'Don't put your hand up. People will stare at you and you will get embarrassed. You will go red and you'll go even more red because you know you're going red!' bla bla bla.

I turn to that inner-critic and say, 'You're going to be fine. It's OK. Watch . . .'

I force myself to raise my hand, and guess what?

I survive the ordeal.

Every time.

Without fail.

Doing it more and more reduces the amount of control the inner-critic has.

Remember - confidence is confiding in yourself that everything is going to be OK.

If you're interested in TEFL, this is the link I used to book my course - if you go by coach, though, make sure the wipers work before getting on.

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