The silent way


You would never guess what happened to me a few nights ago, I can hardly believe it  myself. Before I tell you, though, you must know a few things about me. Yes, me: your  teacher.

I arrived in Palermo three weeks ago with the burning desire to become a CELTA  teacher. Mind you, I already am a teacher. I started teaching when I was a young girl,  before my University degree. As a matter of fact, next September it will be my  twentieth anniversary as a teacher, so what an appropriate way to celebrate, I thought – by getting the prestigious CELTA certificate. You see, being selected is no easy task, not to count costs and sacrifices of a month away from home, so when they told me I’d been accepted I jumped up with joy, I thought the rest would be a cinch, the certificate already in my hands.  

Can you imagine my discouragement when I learnt that I’d failed the first assignment, then the second … and the third! Monday evening when I got home I was so angry I threw the phone off the balcony, I did not want to talk to anybody, no family, no friends, no students! You see, I have never failed an assignment in my whole life! The day after my tutor warned me that unless I pass the fourth, my certificate will be at risk. Stop going out to parties and concerts every night, and begin some serious study, she said.

So I did. That night, instead of rushing home to get ready for another Afro-Cuban Jazz session+happy hour, I decided to remain in school to search for my fourth and last assignment due next week. It focuses on the Silent Way, a teaching method that emphasizes the autonomy of the learner, the teacher hardly says anything, the student does the talking, as indeed it should be. I had purchased this very interesting book by Caleb Gattegno, I went into the trainees’ room upstairs and started to read it. After an hour I simply couldn’t stop, totally immersed as I was, taking notes and sketching my next assignment: no cell ringing, no noise around me (I live near the Vuccirìa), the classroom all mine as my colleagues had already left. To be honest, I did hear a noise at the end, that of the receptionist switching on the burglar alarm mode… When I got downstairs, it was too late.


 I was locked inside. No way out unless I  started  screaming to attract the  neighbours’ attention, which did  not  seem like a sensible thing to do. Calling  the Police or  the Firemen even worse,  the last thing I need, I thought,  is to put  the name of the school and mine on a  local  newspaper!

I returned into my room, no cell, no  friends to call (no  dinner!), and I  continued to study and to practise my  Silent Way.

This is not the end of the story, though, but before i tell you all, can you guess what else happened?

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