Today I had to sit my first real exam since I finished university in 1999. After two years of hard work (and to be honest I should have done a lot more than I did) I have finally finished my Graduate Diploma in Spanish! Of course I still need to wait for the results but there are no grades for this course, it’s simply pass or fail, and I’m quietly confident that I haven’t failed at least.
The main thing that I found out today is that if you don’t usually hand-write more than the weekly shopping list then having to write solidly for two and a half hours really hurts your hand! And that four hours is a long time to wait for an oral exam that you really should have learnt off by heart but haven’t quite managed to.
It’s been a really hard two years of work. The pace was relentless with new tasks to complete and a tutorial on Skype every week. We had a few breaks but there was always an assignment due at the end of it so it was never really a break. Since Toby was born I’ve found it really hard to find the time and the motivation to get the work done. It was actually easier when I was working full time because I usually managed to find some time to get the work done during the school day, or I would stay after school to get it done where there were fewer distractions than at home. I take my hat off to anyone who is a student and a parent because it really is difficult to do both.
Anyway, it’s all done now. I can speak Spanish to some extent and quite scarily I am now qualified to teach it myself! Hopefully this will all have been worth it and will make it easier for me to get a job in future now I can teach two languages rather than just one. And best of all (assuming I pass of course) I never again have to sit at home watching TV and blogging, while thinking ‘I really should be doing my Spanish homework’!
I’ve mentioned before that for the last year and a half I have been studying for a Graduate Diploma in Spanish. This is a qualification specifically for teachers of other modern languages who also want to be able to teach Spanish. I have been a French teacher since 2010 but so far I have only had temporary contracts lasting one school year. There just haven’t been any permanent positions available, especially as I could only teach the one language. I knew this would be the case so in my first year of teaching I started learning Spanish. I did a course at the local college and then I did an access course through the University of Dundee which allowed me to apply for the Graduate Diploma course.
The Graduate Diploma is a distance learning course so every week work is posted online for us to complete and then we go over this work in a tutorial on Skype the following week. At the end of each module (about every ten weeks) we complete a written assessment and then go to Dundee for an immersion day to do an oral assessment and some face to face teaching.
It has been really hard to keep up with all the work over the two year course. The first year I was working full time and pregnant but I still seemed to find more time to do the work than I do now. I know it will be worth it when I’ve finished but finding motivation has been very difficult since Toby was born. But, the end is in sight! We are now into the final module which, instead of weekly assignments and Skype sessions, is just a final project. I have to write a 2000 word essay (in Spanish) and then prepare three lesson plans, including resources for one lesson. I could choose any relevant topic so seeing as my brother bought me the DVDs of The Motorcycle Diaries and Che Part 1 & 2 for Christmas I decided to base my project on Che Guevara. I have until the 25th April to complete my project. Then there is one more immersion day and three Skype sessions to prepare for the final written and oral exams on 17th May.
Which brings me to the point of this post. I have a lot of work to do over the next few weeks and I really should give it my full attention so I’m going to have a little study break and things might go a bit quiet here for a while. I’ll still be trying to keep up with my weekly linkys but there might not be much else (ooh, apart from one exciting announcement to come soon!) until my Spanish course is all done. If any of you lovely people reading this would like to write a guest post for me then please do get in touch – I would love to have you here on Toby Goes Bananas!
Hopefully I’ll get through this in one piece – see you on the other side!