TEFL Update: Ticking Clocks and Mismarkings

I thought it was about time I give you all an update on my TEFL training with i-to-i. I’m about half way through the standard 60 hour online TEFL certification part of the course. One thing I’ve always struggled with is time management, which is made all the more glaringly clear by the ticking time bomb in the “Course Expiry” box on my i-to-i dashboard. I’ve got 27 days left to finish the entire course.

Thats something that prospective TEFLers should keep in mind: These class do have an expiration date. The standard time frame is 90 days, but I didn’t even get around to starting until about 30 days into it.  So the clock is ticking and it’s a good motivator.  I like how the courses are split into smaller modules, so it makes it easier for me to budget my time and cross the modules off my list one at a time.

But what if you can’t beat the clock?

Most people who are thinking of teaching English overseas already have a job here in the states.  Adding 60 hours or more of online classes to an already full schedule can be pretty difficult.  So for many of us, TEFL courses are done on weekends and late at night after work.  So if you need more time, you can purchase a 30 day extension for $75 or a 90 day extension for %150.  While it’s easy to think that these expiration dates and extensions are just another way to make a quick buck, its also good for people who are motivated by time limits.  Without that ticking clock, I’d probably procrastinate forever!

I do have a gripe about one of the tests I took last week.

Module 3

Turn these phrases into the possessive plural:

Question 20 – My sister’s school    >>   My sisters’ schools

Question 21 – The country’s leader   >>   The countries’ leaders

Maybe I’m missing something, but I think I got these right.  Well, both of these questions were marked wrong.  I still passed the test, but I was curious as to why I missed these questions.  I double checked the PDF textbook that i-to-i provides as a study reference and I found that in the Module 3 Intro to Grammar section I.3, the text clearly states that the trailing S is unnecessary for possessive plurals and is completely optional.  So I win. Well, at least I’m right, I think, but I didn’t really win. The tests are graded by robots, and you can never win against a robot.  (Just ask Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter who just lost on Jeopardy to the supercomputer known as Watson!)

I also got marked off for not including the article “the” in my answer when asked to provide the superlative form of good, tall, beautiful, and bad.  So if you’re taking that test, remember to put “THE worst” and “THE most beautiful” when you get to that section.

I can’t complain too much.  I still passed the test.  And half the tests (all the written assignments) are graded by real people, so I suppose that helps to make up for the occasional computer error.

In other news, I just got back from LA where I took the intensive 20 hour in-class TEFL training, so I’ll tell you all about the next week.

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