A Round Up: May 2020

What on earth is going on everyone? I cannot believe how quickly this year is going by. We’re almost half of the way through and in some ways nothing has happened, yet everything has happened!

Now believe me when I say I’m not one for those ‘look at my lockdown 6-pack’ or ‘I’ve renovated my 4 bedroom house in a week’ type of posts, because I definitely have not done either of those things (cries whilst hiding the layers of fat under a huge hoody). But, I’m completely baffled by how much I have actually achieved in the last 9 weeks.

Hands up if you remember 2019 Claire? The Claire that rarely made it through a full week of work. The Claire that lived in pain, barely eat, barely slept and, let’s face it, hardly did anything other than struggle through the year. 2019 was depressing for so many reasons and it really made me doubt everything I thought I knew about myself.

Well, let me tell you… 2019 Claire is no where in sight and I couldn’t be more grateful for it. 2020 Claire is probably the best version of myself that I have been so far. Why?

  • I stand up for myself. I will not be pushed around by anyone – boss, online troll, people trying to take advantage. Nope.
  • I am working my hardest. I’m working harder than I have ever worked in my working life (Even more than 2012 4-job Claire)
  • I’m following my dreams, and my goals.
  • I’m enjoying my life (okay, minus the neighbours and being stuck indoors all day).
  • I’ve made friends (Claire? No way!)

Despite the Coronavirus madness and not being able to see my family, I can’t really complain. This lockdown has pushed me to work towards things I have wanted to do for a really long time and also tested all of my skills and knowledge.

Here’s how I’m getting on with my 2020 goals so far:

  • Be a better teacher

Definitely. In April I was ‘fired’ because I wasn’t eligible for furlough, nor was I needed any longer. Yay for more TEFL troubles! So, I decided to start my own teaching ‘business’; English with Claire.

It’s going well and I’m enjoying every moment of it (almost!). I’m teaching levels A2 to C1/2 (Elementary to Advanced/Proficiency, or almost beginner to almost expert – depending on who’s reading this!) up to 16 hours a week. It all depends on if someone’s taking an exam or having a break. It’s pushing me to find coursebooks that I like (and at a good price) and to make my own materials, which I absolutely love!

I’ve been making time to improve my online teaching skills and think about how teaching 1 to 1 is so different from being in a classroom full of students.

I have been reading through a lot of theoretical books on everything from teaching methods to grammar and trying to find new activities to use online as well. I’m not one for theory reading but this has been so insightful and helpful for me!

And finally, I took part in a grammar course online with ITTC – where I did my CELTA course – and I really did learn so much. Plus, it was great to meet other teachers too!

I have also been sending my family grammar questions over Whatsapp and sending £1-2 to the winner… it’s hilarious but it’s also helping me to remember those tricky words or explanations.

  • Work consistently (and if possible, full time)

YES! I have worked so hard since January, but in the last 4 weeks I have worked harder than ever before and not had a nervous breakdown over it all. I have been working 8-16 hours a day, depending on how many teaching hours I’ve had and other projects that may have cropped up. The best thing is I absolutely love it. Yes, I’ve had the odd sleepless night and plenty of random tears, but overall I am completely enjoying being this busy and, of course, the money helps! (me to buy plants… *cough*)

  • Health

Well, I’m still eating a bit of chocolate and some crisps, but on the whole I’ve been doing far better than last month. I’m trying to eat smaller portions and more often, instead of eating huge meals 3 times a day. I’m drinking more water and less Fanta.

I’m exercising almost daily and I’ve finally started running again – at long last! I unpacked some of my summer clothes this week and, unsurprisingly, they do not fit me. I feel like a hippo!

  • Reading

Well, I have to say that the reading hasn’t gone so well this month because I have been completely swamped with work. I have, however, finally started listening to audio books! Something I have put off for years. I’ve finished a few books (5) I could never actually sit down and read, so that’s a plus!

  • Make new friends

I’ve met a few lovely people online in the last month – mainly through plant groups. They have really helped to keep me sane and have some sort of connection to the outside world. I’ve also connected with a couple of teachers too. Who is this new Claire?

  • Blog

I haven’t been blogging as much this month because I’ve been so busy, although Helene and I are working on another collab already (our last one is here!). I’ve still met my target of 4 posts this month and I’m hoping to have some more time to write in June! Keep your eyes peeled…

  • Be calmer

Well, I think I’ve gone slightly backwards with this because of how stressful everything has been. I’ve taken on a huge project and it’s consuming my mind every second of the day! The neighbours are obviously getting fed up with lockdown, and each other, because they are getting louder day by day and seem to be arguing non-stop, along with the street full of kids screaming for 8 hours a day. I feel as if my head is going to explode!

Still, I’m staying positive and looking forward to everything exciting that is coming my way! I think I’m doing alright.

  • Save some money

Thanks to my new venture, I have been able to pay off some of my debts and put some money away for future things (aaaaaaaaaaaaahstephsweddingomgcanada2021aaaaaaaaaah) which is really so wonderful when I look at my bank balance and no longer see 0.52p – or something ridiculous!

  • Enjoy being me

This is definitely I’m still trying to work on and I think I’m doing better than I have done before. I’m not as angry at myself and I don’t feel so negative about my past achievements (something that I previously questioned far too often). I’m enjoying who I am, mostly, and what I’m doing.

So, what’s June got in store for me?

  • More teaching hours!
  • I’m taking an online IELTS training course.
  • I’m working on two writing projects (P.S, yes! I finally get paid to write again!)
  • WE ARE MOVING! Yiippeeeee!
  • Hopefully, I finally get to see my family.
  • And, I am on a plant ban *cries*

Do you have any goals for June?

I’d love to hear about your goals so feel free to drop me a comment below or reach out to me on Twitter!

I’ve just read @MissHillsmith’s latest blog post. Have you?

Resources for learning Chinese

The reason I added this section was because of the university semester breaks, which left me without lessons for three weeks, and so I decided to see what else was available. This is how I found Richard’s Chinese Language…

April Chinese Study Plan

I really have forgotten so many grammar points and it’s completely embarrassing. For example, how do I use ‘了’ or ‘的’ correctly?

March 2021

Time has flown by and Spring is fully underway here in Wales. Little lambs are everywhere, the daffodils are popping up all over the place and, for this week at least, we’ve had some beautiful weather.

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