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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Recuperating & Self-Educating

My belly still feels like I was sucker-punched. My metabolism is so slow that it's taking a while for all the desiccated cells in my abdomen to plump back up with water. I've eaten several times today, drunk a pint or so of chamomile tea, and now that dinner is done and Susan and Steven have gone downstairs to watch a movie while Theo rolls around on the rug and squawks excitedly, I am in the kitchen nursing a large sippy cup of water and a small bottle of vino de screwtop.

The weather has been early fall gorgeous today, and we've had all the screened windows in the house open. If I were in a trifle more robust condition, today, too, would have been perfect for outdoor exercise. As it was, I stayed in my pajamas until dinnertime, slowly watching the grey fade from my skin. Which is not to say that the hours were wasted in dermal-gazing.

Last year I had signed up to take a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) course online, but I never got around to it before the Groupon deal expired. This year, when the same company offered the deal again, I resolved to get off my duff and do it. I started and completed the first of 20 eight-hour modules today.

The first section was about communicating clearly with your students, and I was convicted afresh of my tendency to be less than clear. "Brevity is the soul of wit" was the major theme. It is going to take practice for me to become brief. Thus far, I've done Ok on their little tests, which are somewhat harder than I had expected.

I have 2.5 months to finish the course, which they say takes 160 hours. It might take as little as 120 hours, given my relatively swift reading, but I am also taking copious notes, as the purpose behind my studies is not merely to get the qualification certificate, but actually to absorb the principles of TESOL.  I had told Susan (who is a public school ESOL instructor) that I would be picking her brain for tips, and I've already accosted her several times today with questions.  I would like to have a Cambridge TESOL certificate just because of the wide acceptance and recognition factor, but although they allegedly offer a teaching test to those who want certification apart from their expensive CELTA courses, neither their office in Boston nor one in New York (the closest centers offering the teaching test) have responded to my emails requesting further information.

I have attempted to re-register for the Foreign Service Exam, which is being offered in October. Supposedly, should I have to sit for it again (I think this is necessary, though I did pass it the first time), I will receive an email in early September telling me when and where.

I think my sheer verbosity has overwhelmed my LDC. I have not heard from him in two days.

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