By Heather Holding, Greenheart Travel Intern

Heather is taking our Professional 170 hour online TEFL course, and sharing her experiences through this blog series. Read the rest of the blogs in her series HERE.

The first 2 weeks were the most demanding, but now the TEFL course is starting to get easier and less demanding as the weeks go by. So during weeks 4-7 is a great time to get started on your practicum! I went to go tutor Latino Immigrants on Friday and the woman I have been working with, Maria, made me these delicious Mexican cinnamon cookies! Next week she told me she’s bringing me Mexican sweet bread. Yay!

Maria is so thankful for all of my help that when she gave me these cookies she started crying. She told me that I have given her so much more confidence with her English and that it means so much to her that I take the time each Friday to come and speak with her. This moment really touched me. I have only been speaking with this woman for three weeks. Sometimes it’s the little things in life that can make the largest impact!

This weeks online discussion board was discussing that students often complain that they can understand their teachers, but cannot understand other English speakers because of their accents and/or speaking too fast. I found this discussion very interesting because there are countless English accents between and within English-speaking countries. I am an American, but I still say “car-a-mel” not “carmel” like most Americans do. This week made me think about words and phrases that I pronounce differently. We’re also learning this week about how much should you correct your students papers. Too much correction can make students feel discouraged and disheartened. I am motivated by positive reinforcement, so I can relate to this lesson. Everyone remembers an assignment they had that was covered in red ink and was super embarrassed. This week helped me realize that the overall goal of teaching ESL is getting your students to learn English, not perfecting and nit picking. There are three tasks this week and the reading is very short. The first task asks you to write a short essay. The second tasks asks to correct certain sentences that have errors in them and to figure out what errors are made in the sentence. The last activity will take you a long time. You must create 5 activities for each type of error.

I found my first passport this past weekend when I went to Ohio to visit my parents. I decided to include this picture in “Error” because I noticed on my passport that for my middle initial “E, I signed “Heather 3 Holding,” and then scratched it out. This picture helped me realize why I love to travel and when it all started. I was flipping through my passport looking at all of the stamps I collected as a kid and I still remember each trip vividly. These vacations with my family made me LOVE travel. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t planning for my next trip.