I knew April would be eventful, but while I was caught up with work and studies, I didn’t expect it to end this fast. I tried to savor it as much as possible, traveled to lovely places, and did a lot of reading. I also did my best to stay on top of both my studies and work, but the former proved to be more challenging than the latter. I will share my struggles and triumphs with you in this blog post, and hopefully, you will also read the lessons I have learned this month.
I sank my teeth into my DipTESOL studies—why else would I spend 6 hours on average or more on a single assignment? Yet, studying hard isn’t paramount to studying smart. Obviously, because I scraped through the last couple of assignments. I won’t lie: it dented my confidence and caused me to doubt my capacity.
At some point, I wanted to throw in the towel. I wanted it to be over—I wanted some normalcy in my life again. I wondered how on earth I could pass the exams when I could barely pass the assignments. While I have plenty of time to work on assignments, I won’t be allotted the same amount of time during the exams. It was a soul-crushing revelation.
I know I shouldn’t let my tutors’ feedback get to me—they are there for my growth after all. However, taking a demanding course might take a toll on one’s mental health and self-esteem. At some point, I thought, “Well, I am not a good teacher according to a lesson plan I created—then what have I been all these years? A scarecrow?”
I might have struggled with my studies in April, but work has been smooth. My classes have been great so far, and there are so many active students this year. My colleagues are supportive, and there are new additions to our school. I am learning a lot from everyone around me, including my students!
I also feel that I have improved in planning more effective lessons, anticipating problems, and creating solutions. I spend less time creating lesson plans because I got used to the level of my students and (kind of) know what they need. All thanks to my course! I also noticed that I have been learning a lot even though I don’t get satisfactory grades for my assignments.
Lastly, I have a new private student who was recommended to me by a mutual friend. We started our lessons two weeks ago, and his mother sent me a message yesterday saying, “My son says he has learned a lot from you within two weeks and is excited to continue learning.” This comment from my student’s parent offset the feedback I received in the course!
April was a hectic but also an eye-opening month. Overall, it was full of valuable lessons and experiences. I want to share them with you, but keep in mind that they aren’t universal truths—these experiences and lessons are based on my life. What works for me doesn’t necessarily need to work for you.
Lesson #1: It is true that the more we live, the more we learn. However, I believe it depends on how willing we are to learn and apply it to our daily lives. One can learn a lot from a course, but that doesn’t mean much unless it is put into practice. And being older isn’t tantamount to wisdom for the same reason. My younger colleagues do great right now and get wonderful results because they never stop learning, which brings us to lesson 2.
Lesson #2: The biggest mistake one can make, in any context, is to stop learning. Just because one has been doing the same job for several years doesn’t mean this person knows it all. There is always something new we can learn, and once we stop learning, we yield to our ego that says, “You are great at what you do! Don’t let others make you feel like you still have something to learn!”
Lesson #3: People can’t get better at anything unless they practice it because the theory itself isn’t enough to be good at something. We can read countless books on how to ride a bicycle, but can we actually ride a bicycle unless we try our hands on one? I have been dreading my teaching practice in May, but I know practicing is the only way to expand my horizons and receive feedback.
Lesson #4: One needs to learn how to tolerate feedback and embrace it for personal and professional growth. If a qualified person tells you that you are doing something wrong, you should pause for a second and think about it instead of reacting. I have learned this hard way—I know my teachers aren’t out there to get me. They are there to help me become a better teacher.
Lesson #5: No matter how successful we are, we still need people to share our triumphs with. Studying is a solo activity, but learning doesn’t have to be a lonesome journey. We need people to confide in, vent to, and learn from. I don’t have many people to rely on during my studies, but the ones who are there for me, I am eternally grateful to them.
How was your April? Stay awesome wherever you are!
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