Terve! Learning Finnish?

Terve! Olen Claire…

Which means, ‘Hello, I’m Claire’ in Finnish. Although, apparently, Finnish people would struggle to pronounce my name because they don’t have the ‘ai’ together… Interesting right?!

My first day back at BEET meant only two double lessons before lunch, followed by an INSET. As a new teacher these INSETs are extremely insightful and beneficial for me, and Monday’s was by far the best one I’ve been to so far.

One of my colleagues, Janet, who was also my CELTA tutor, ran a lesson entirely in Finnish (she’s bilingual) and it was just fantastic. At first I thought, ‘oh God this is going to be so embarrassing and I’m not going to enjoy this!’. Mainly because I’m such a weirdo about talking to people in foreign languages (I really don’t understand why…).

Janet started the lesson by waving to everyone, saying “Terve!” – we figured straight away it meant hello… but it didn’t stop there!

“Olen Janet, enta sina?” She repeated again, and again, and again, whilst shaking hands with everyone.

I’m Janet, and you?

I was absolutely baffled by this language. I’d never heard it before and I couldn’t make heads nor tails of it.

She didn’t use a single word of English, nor acknowledge any English we spoke either (perhaps to pretend she didn’t speak it?).

Her aim of the lesson was to teach us a few food and drink items, which she did by having the pictures on the board, and labeling each item one at a time, repeating new words, wiping the labels off and having us tell her the name, over and over again.

We learned:

  • punaviini – red wine
  • valkoviini – white wine
  • olut – beer
  • kakku – cake
  • voileipa – sandwich?
  • vesi – water
  • mehu – juice
  • maito – milk
  • kahui – coffee
  • tee – tea

That’s it. I’m proud to say I remember them all after just 2 days!

We did a flashcard game, matching the photo with the label

We also did a role play, ordering food and drink in a cafe – this was hilarious as our accents were all over the place, we couldn’t quite remember the words or pronunciation. It was brilliant! Janet was trying to correct us on tone as well, encouraging us to be more polite or more enthusiastic.

(Although I can’t remember how to say, ‘I would like…’)

What I also remember is:

  • kiitos – thank you
  • hyvaa – good

The aim of Janet’s INSET was to remind us how challenging it is for students to learn a new language, especially at beginner / pre-intermediate level, and that as teachers we need to be repeating new vocab continuously for it to stick in the students’ minds…

We were all exhausted after that lesson and with not a word of English ,it meant we really had to focus!

It makes me empathize so strongly with our students at how hard they have to work to grasps the basics of a language, especially if you’re in a classroom under pressure not to embarrass yourself or get things wrong.

Definitely my favourite INSET.


What the hell are you doing woman?!

… is what I’ve mind-shouted at myself numerous times today.

I absolutely, completely, utterly, totally messed up my Upper-Intermediate lesson today after going over the notes SO MANY TIMES last night. I had it all planned out nicely, had a little conversation / starter ready, had a movie trailer to link in to the ‘film review’ section we were working on.

And guess what guys? Guess what?


I ended up just washing over it completely and moving on to discuss writing a film review, then getting the students to write one themselves, then pair-check for errors and suggestions.

I could have just smacked myself on the head for my complete stupidity and total lack of awareness of my own plans.

I felt guilty. I’m not going to lie. I spent a good hour questioning my worth as a teacher.

  • Did I let my class down?
  • Were they bored?
  • Oh god they hate me.
  • Why am I such an idiot?
  • Why can’t I teach?!

Above are the thoughts that flashed in my mind continuously throughout my afternoon.

I’m sorry guys. I am.

I’ve spent the last 4 hours planning for my lessons tomorrow, and honestly hope that it all turns out at least 100x better than today’s disaster.

Education, Personal


Happy Friday lovely followers!
Hopefully you’ve all had an enjoyable week.

I realize I’ve been awfully quiet the past two weeks and this is mainly due to the fact that I’ve not been working at BEET. I have been inundated with emails, interviews, skype calls etc all for heading out to China.

Last Thursday I had finally made my decision – the offer was great and the people seemed absolutely wonderful – the contract was being drawn up and then dot dot dot the Director of Studies at BEET called and asked if I wanted to work until December. I couldn’t say no. It’s what I wanted from my second week of working there. I just knew I wanted to stay.

I wasn’t quite ready to leave Bournemouth (I know, I’m always complaining about it), or my boyfriend, or my somewhat settled life. It felt awful to have to turn down the other company in China though, especially as I’d been talking to them for nearly a week. My heart was set on going, but it just wasn’t ready to leave, if you catch my drift.

So I’m heading back to BEET on Monday, I’m beyond excited and desperate to improve (quickly) as a teacher. If anyone has any suggestions of courses or top-ups to help, please let me know in the comments.



I’m a teacher! (Day 2)

WELL. After yesterday going so well, I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised that my first lesson wasn’t a total success.

Trying to explain auxiliary verbs at intermediate level just didn’t work for me. I don’t know why, I just COULD NOT EXPLAIN THEM. Argh! It must have been so painful to watch. A total disaster. Most of the students in that group are lovely though, but they don’t talk much, so it’s hard to really get an idea of their personalities. 

Hopefully tomorrow or Thursday they’ll come out of their shell a little, and I’ll have gained a little more confidence too. (Fingers crossed!)

My second lesson is with the elementary students and they are such a great bunch – they make such an effort and never stop talking, I love it! Our topic for the day was jobs & work – which was an interesting one but by no means easy! Still, I feel like I am genuinely able to teach efficiently and make a difference to elementary level students. Is that a cop-out? 

My final lesson was an ‘options’ – which is a 45 minute skills lesson, of which mine was A2 Speaking – I chose Retail Therapy! (Who doesn’t love shopping?!) so that went down a storm and we ended with a gap-full/role play on trying on clothes + buying them. 

I loved my last two lessons and can only hope I come to enjoy the intermediate classes just as much.

I have spent 4 hours planning for tomorrow, so I’m hoping it pays off!

Education, Uncategorized


(is over!) and here’s a slightly late update on it…





Wow. Guys. Week three was intense! By far the most intense week of studying yet.
With lesson plans coming out of my eyes and tears flowing from my eyeballs as I write assignments and re-submissions galore… (okay, three, but still!)

Unfortunately I failed my first assignment, which was beyond disappointing, but I just couldn’t get my head around the ‘checking understanding’ part. It’s safe to say I’ve improved on that now…

I had a few great lessons (teaching practice) and I’m thoroughly enjoying every moment in the classroom – although there are undoubtedly a few nerves before I begin! I so desperately want to be a great teacher. I want to inspire people to learn English, to understand it, and to fall in love with it the way I have. Whether that’s possible or not… let’s wait and see!

Sunday resulted in me working from 8:30am until 11pm, with an hour for lunch and an hour for a yummy roast dinner.

Stayed tuned for Week 4 thoughts…