Can anyone else not quite believe that March is over already? 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. I’m definitely excited for April and ready to bid farewell to a difficult March.
As always, I’ve been working hard to keep up with my goals and to improve certain aspects of my life. Interested? Read on!
1. Improve my quality of teaching and develop teaching knowledge further
I say this every month, but I really do try to improve my skills and teaching knowledge every single week. In March, I have been pushed to my limits once again for many reasons.
I have started teaching C2 / CPE classes. I have been putting these off for months simple because I haven’t felt ready or confident enough to do so. However, two of my students seemed to have worked their way up to C2 level very quickly, and I’ve been doing my best to meet their needs and stretch them as well.
To be as prepared as possible I bought C2 books, software and extra materials and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the lessons as well. It’s completely new territory for me, it’s challenging and tough at times but I am looking forward to gaining more C2 level confidence and knowledge!
I have really struggled for work this month and many things went wrong. It was hard to stay on top of everything and remain positive, and that’s why I’m really looking forward to March. I have a few new students, but many who are renewing their contracts and for that I’m truly grateful (and excited!)
I have also made some changes to my business that took up a lot of time and energy, and I haven’t yet seen any benefits. I’m sure I will, but I have been feeling impatient and a little down about the whole process.
On the whole, March was a month full of learning curves and new experiences. The positives kept me going and the negatives have given me lots to think about and learn from.
2. Keep up with my language studies
Waahhoooo!! I am so extremely proud of myself for working at my Chinese every day!
However, I decided to put Spanish and Swedish aside for the moment because life has been unpredictable and I was feeling stressed as we began March. I don’t believe that learning a language should ever be unnecessarily stressful (although, let’s face it, it really can be!)
I have had 4 hours of lessons a week, with the Confucius Institute of Sheffield (where I did my Master’s degree), which have been brilliant. One lesson is based on the HSK exams and the other is General language where we get to learn about the history of the characters, random phrases and cultural points. Then I have also been using a free course via COURSERA, which actually crosses-over with my other lessons in terms of vocabulary and grammar, so it’s been very helpful.
Most days I’ve woken up at 5:30/6 and studied until 8:30, when I have breakfast with my family. I have tried to fit in videos and podcasts in between lessons, and I’ve also enjoyed discovering Taiwanese tv shows, which I usually watch in the evenings.
One of the biggest positives of my language journey this year has been meeting my language partner. She is so supportive and we have a lot of things in common so she really helps me stay motivated meeting her once a week has definitely helped my confidence! *nudge nudge, check out my latest posts below*
Honestly, I am so surprised at how much I’ve learnt and shocked that I never just got on with it before. What was I thinking??
My March language blog posts
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…
I really have forgotten so many grammar points and it’s completely embarrassing. For example, how do I use ‘了’ or ‘的’ correctly?
Let’s kick this off with an obvious point, shall we? By having a language exchange partner you should gain a new friend!
3. Be healthier
I don’t know what happened, but something just clicked! I’m no longer craving crisps and chocolate, I don’t drink fizzy drinks and I’ve stopped drinking alcohol as well (again!). My body still hates me though, which is a shame. It hurts and hurts so often and every time it does I’m terrified I’ll end up being ‘sick Claire’ again, but maybe if I love my body a little more it might try a bit harder for me too.
I’m still not happy with my weight but I am slowly losing it and hopefully my body will let me exercise more frequently in April!
4. Read 50 books
So those thrillers I set next to my bed at the end of February? Yeah… well… they haven’t moved. I haven’t even opened a single cover and I’m a little bit sorry about it. However, with the amount of time I’m spending on Chinese it isn’t a surprise and I’m going to let reading take a backseat for as long as I’m motivated to study.
5. Stop spending and save
Yes! My mum and I have been to Llandudno a few times for food and now and then I’ve bought coffee and cake, or ordered a book online, but on the whole I am saving as much as I possibly can. I just hope it pays off in time!
Because I don’t receive a monthly salary I try to put money in our savings account as soon as I receive it, and this is actually quite a rewarding way to save as I can see the numbers creeping up. Roll on more money in April *please, please, please*
6. Work consistently but know when to take time off
I am definitely getting better at this. I haven’t had a lot of work recently, but I’ve still been working harder than ever with promotions, writing materials, studying Chinese and trying to keep fit so I have made a point of taking the odd morning or day off. I know over-working myself will only result in a burn-out and I really cannot afford that to happen.
I have enjoyed taking time off to go shopping with my mum, sit in the garden whilst having lunch or just chilling out, watching the world go by.
Is anyone else excited for the Easter weekend? I still haven’t bought an Easter egg!
7, 8, 9 and 10 Stop stressing, Blog goals, Travel again, Secret
Hmm…. perhaps we can readdress these at the end of April?
In April, I am really hoping that the teaching / work side of life becomes a little more relaxed so that I can spend time focusing on my languages, reading and maybe enjoying life a little more without being so worried. I’d definitely like to spend less time on the internet, and if my income increases I will probably be able to do this. I want to spend less time watching tv as well. Does anyone remember I was on a tv ban unless it was in Chinese? Well, I only watched 3 hours of English tv in the last 6 weeks and I’m really proud of that. BUT I spent so much time watching Chinese dramas and this has definitely impacted my mood and productivity levels so I’m thinking of having another ban. We’ll see…