So Thursday the 3rd of March happened. This was the day that I’ve been talking about on this blog, where I would have my Danskuddannelse 3.4 modultest and my vejledermøde meeting at a local college for a foundation course for a teacher training pathway here in Denmark, called a lærerpakken.
I have to admit that the preparation did not exactly go as planned. Not even close. As I got closer to the big day, it became apparent that there were many things that I simply hadn’t considered, and I got quite overwhelmed.
I wrote previously that the main concern was the vejledermøde later in the day after my Danskuddannelse 3.4 modultest. I planned to prepare for this by writing some phrases on what I wanted to say in English, getting them translated and checked by native Danish speakers, and then practising them via skype with my italki tutor.
What actually happened was that I failed to prepare what I wanted to say the night before my morning tutoring sessions, hastily writing something whilst on the train, moments before my tutoring. I also planned to take a very early train to work and skype at my leisure from the staff room before I started my work day. This too did not go to plan… and I suddenly found myself taking a skype call from my Danish tutor on my mobile phone from Copenhagen Central Station at 8:30 in the morning!
I didn’t even have time to find a coffee shop, and then I realised in my panic that even if I had found a coffee shop, I would not have enough time after the tutoring session to make it to work. So I was forced to speak Danish on my handsfree kit in public! Looking back on it, this turned out to be an incredible (albiet unplanned) confidence building activity, as I was forced to face my fear of speaking Danish and looking like an idiot in front of people.
I also found out two days before my modultest that I was required to give a short presentation in Danish, preferably on something to do with Danish society. I got this groundbreaking news while I was in Danish class, and it resulted in me being put on the spot and having to do an impromptu presentation. I almost filled the 5 minutes, but the delivery of my presentation was far from pretty.
On the day of the actual modultest, after my daughter noisily waking me up at 5:30am and refusing to go back to sleep, I partook in what was essentially a string of severe acts of self sabotage. I didn’t bring a dictionary with for the writing exercises (I had been focusing on the verbal preparation), I didn’t have a pencil case, I was wearing a creased shirt, I almost narrowly missed the train to the modultest. I felt like I was going to throw up from the intense stress I put on myself.
But I was saved my friends here. My evening classmate – who just so happens to be off work on holiday right now- kindly lent me dictionaries for the writing test. And the conversation partner for the unscripted conversation section of the speaking test was none other than the guy who runs the local Danish reading group I’ve been going to.
In the end, I was delighted to find out that… I passed the speaking, listening and reading tests! I am still waiting for news about the writing test, but even if I didn’t not pass it, it was explained that I do not need to take time off work to resit it.
In order to make the afternoon’s vejledermøde, I had to push on and take smaller breaks between the tests, or sometimes no breaks at all. By the end of the testing I was well and trulty exhausted because I was ‘on edge’ the entire morning. I developed a headache, I was dizzy, and I was was coming with down a cold.
The final act of self sabotage was not checking the train times to my vejledermøde. I missed the train there, and when I called up to ask if it was possible to reschedule, it turned out that I had booked the last meeting of the day before they closed. They patiently explained over the phone that I need to pass the main Danskuddannelse 3 exam in May before they can even offer me a place on the lærerpakken course. So at least I got some closure on that. I was advised to come again after May.
So what happened? I don’t want to publicly beat myself up on this blog, but I will reluctantly admit to identifying with symptoms of learned helplessness. A quiet theme which keeps on rearing it’s head here in Denmark is battling learned helplessness, taking responsibility in my life and simply having respect for myself. I’d rather not delve into why I have these behaviours, but I will simply say that I acknowledge them and I am addressing them. This blog post is a painful example of this. But it is nonetheless a powerful learning experience if I decide it.
What I learned:
- Always check (and re-check) the syllabus.
- Write a list of what materials are required, way before the event.
- Don’t blindly rely of others to help you (but be grateful when they do!)
- Pack bags and prepare clothes in advance
- Check itineraries if possible, such as train times
- To give myself the best chance possible for success
I refuse to leave things down to chance again. By next Sunday, I will have made a plan to pass the first series of Danskuddannelse 3 tests on the 18th of May, and show it here on this blog.
hej hej alles sammen! (“goodbye everybody” in Danish)