I got my TAE!

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There were four stages in obtaining the TAE. The first stage was selecting a provider - there are many companies who provide the certificate in Brisbane. Despite my reservations regarding the name, I settled on Chris Morton Powerful Seminars for four reasons. The first reason was that it was cheaper than competitors (sometimes by a factor of three). The second reason was that classes were offered frequently, so I wouldn't have to wat for a couple of months for the next vacancy. The third reason was that class time was compressed into a five day working week. I did not want to embark on 16 weeks of 2 hour classes. The final reason (I repeat to remove any confusion between reason and stage) was that several people at HHH had received the same course, and were not scathing.

Having chosen CMPS, it was time to enter stage two: do the class time. This wasn't too straining, apart from one or two late nights to prepare my two practice classes, of five and ten minute maximum lengths respectively. Since I could choose any topic whatever for instruction, I chose "The Guitar" - an instrument with some familiarity.

The real difficulty of having such short times for training is that you are likely to overrun them. Everybody in the class had an issue with it, myself included. One trick to fit your class into tight allotments is to work out exactly what you are going to teach - the "Learning Outcome". Teach no more that that. This will leave a lot of time. Pad the remainder with assessment tools - handouts and games for the students to do. This is necessary anyway (otherwise, how do you know if the outcomes have been met), and it's more fun for the class.

The third stage was a pain: thirty six pages of a coursebook to complete after the class. Much of the material could be collated from the multitudinous handouts provided, but there were several essays that I needed to complete as well. It took time - a month or two - but it was completed. I do not wish to dwell on it further.

The fourth and final stage was not so hard to do, but harder to organise. I had to teach 15 minute and 45 minute sessions, while being observed by an assesor with his or her TAE or TAA. This was complicated by several factors. The first is that the material had to be connected to a a training package or an accredited course. The problem is that the only accredited course for English teaching in Australia were the Certificates in Spoken and Written English provided by AMES - and the material cost money to access. It took a bit of negotiation with a local institute (who shall remain nameless) to be able to access the materials for photocopying. It didn't help that HHH went belly-up about the time I embarked on the program. With the staff looking for jobs, who was going to sit as assessor to observe me? Fortunately, I had a good, good friend, who offered to be my assessor immediately when I described the situation to him. I didn't even ask - he just offered to do it. And once I discovered that it was piss-easy to book a room at the Queensland State Library, the class went ahead.

Thanks to Des at CWS for putting up half of the funds for the course, and thanks to mum for putting up the other half. Thanks to Chris Morton and company for offering it. Thanks to the students who showed up for the 15 and 45 minute sessions: Văn Khoa Nguyễn, Minh Tạ, Đắc Trí Hồ, Hoàng Phạm, and of course An Trần, who assembled them together. Last, but not least, was the assessor: fellow Kleingeist bandmate, and good friend - David Whatson. He observed, he was impressed, he ticked me off, and he provided a copy of his Cert IV for me to photocopy and notarise. And when all the paperwork was assembled, photocopied and mailed off, a Certificate IV came back.

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