D for Delta
When I first heard about the Delta, I was in the UK teaching Pre sessional English (EAP). A lot of my colleagues had a Celta or a Delta. Me? Nada. No, actually scratch that. I had a BA in English, 15 years of teaching experience in various contexts, and an MA in Tesol. Not bad, eh? Well, that’s what I thought, but then everyone would ask me, ” So, have you ever been observed? What about the practical side of teaching? How do you know you can teach?” ” Huh? I dunno. I just know I can teach. I have been doing it for like fifteen years… duh!”
(Note to reader:brief context. In Greece you can study at university and get a BA in English language and Philology.This is a four year course, during which you either major in literature and minor in linguistics or vice versa. You then take state exams, or at least that is what used to happen before the recession, and when you pass the exams, at some point, you start teaching at a state school).
After my first summer in the UK, I started thinking about the Delta. I read about it on the Cambridge website and then decided I was gonna do it. I was going to do the Delta at my own pace though, slow and steady (emphasis on slow). Oh! By the way, if you are looking for tips on materials and what books to read, stop reading. This is my personal take on the Delta, how I did it, and how it has affected me.
My Delta Course
I did one module at a time. In the order mentioned below.
Module 1- DIY
I started with module 1. I studied for module one by myself. I asked Marisa Constantinides from CELT Athens if she would accept me as an external candidate, she said , ” Yes”. So, I was able to sit for the exams! I passed.
I did a blended course at Celt Athens. I had online lessons on the weekends and face to face observations at CELT in Athens over the months I was doing the course. This was the best option for me cause the lessons were on the weekends, so I did not have to cut back on my teaching hours, and they were online, so I did not have to move somewhere to do the course. Of course, I had to go to Athens for the observations, but that was a chance to go to the capital as well, so win -win. I passed.
Module 3 came after a big break (I think about ten months). I did a distance course at Bell. My specialisation is on EAP and the results are pending (fingers crossed people!).
So, that’s my story. Now, let’s move on to the story, behind the story. How the Delta changed me.
The girlie stuff:
- I was fifteen kilos lighter when I started the Delta. Thing is, when you are thinking about starting the Delta, you ask about the workload and the modules, where people did the course and so on. No one really tells you the ‘other’ stuff. My daily habits changed. I stopped reading fashion magazines and started reading methodology books. Instead of riding my bike, I would think to myself, “I can’t ride my bike now. I have to study” and I ate a lot of food for the brain- carbs and chocs. Forget about healthy smoothies and fruit. Gimme coffee and a cupcake!! So, Delta + sitting in a chair + fatty foods = 15 kilos. This of course takes a toll on your wardrobe as well : (
- Personal life? Huh? No, actually, let me put things into perspective. If you take time off and do just the Delta, I think you are fine. If you work full time, then something has to go. The thing that goes is mingling time. I have spent many Saturday nights working on my Delta instead of drinking a mojito or a pink…. cider!
Other side effects
- I was whining a lot. I was also talking about the Delta 24/7 and when I wasn’t, I was thinking about it.
The bigger picture
So now you may ask me, ” Why do the course?”
- You learn a lot about your teaching style and yourself. Planning sessions on your own, teaching them, being observed and then getting feedback, makes you look at your teaching very closely. You put more thought into your lesson plans, you try to find links between your tasks, everything has to happen for a reason! ” Why am I doing this? How will this help my learners? Will this work? What about that?” Also,the fact that other people watch you teaching and give you ideas on how you can improve or give you thumbs up on things you are doing well is SO important.
- You try out new things. I, for example, had heard and read a lot about TBL, but had never made a lesson based on it, I did during the Delta though. I had been teaching the conditionals for ages, but only when I wrote an assignment about the 2nd conditional, did I realise that there was so much more about this grammar form!
- It is practical, what you learn, you can use.
- You reflect and then reflect some more.
- So the workload is heavy, but the reading you do is so interesting, especially if you are a ‘nerdy’ teacher. You will really enjoy reading the books!!
- You meet people. I have made so many new friends cause of the Delta, friends who share the same interests as me and who were my study buddies. Now they are my buddies.
- Marisa, my Delta tutor, got me into blogging and twitter. I actually wrote my first blog post for the Celt Delta blog. Now, I love blogging (I guess you figured that, eh?) and I really enjoy taking part in twitter chats as well. Also, because of the Delta, my professional learning network has grown and I have ‘met’ people from around the world and am sharing ideas with them. Because my PLN grew, I heard about conferences, started presenting at them and now I will be writing my first newsletter article as well (yay!).
- The Delta opens doors and is a great teaching qualification (truth be told, it looks good on the CV). I teach EAP in the UK, and the Delta is one of the qualifications the unis ask for. You can also use the Delta to teach all around the world!
- Your writing skill improves greatly and because of word count, you learn to tame the wordy teacher inside you! I really struggled with word count, but now I know tricks to reduce the words used in my writing (current post excluded!).
In hindsight my biggest regret is doing the Delta while working full time at the same time (I had a morning job and an afternoon one!). My advice to people thinking of doing the course would be make sure you have time. If you want to get good grades, then this is a MUST. The Delta course is such an interesting course and it is a shame if you do not have the time to enjoy it. Should you do the course? Definitely!!! Just keep in mind, no pain, no gain or as the ancient Greeks said,
τα αγαθά κόποις κτώνται
If you want to share your own experiences, please do so in the comments section below.
Till next time…….