Thursday, July 14, 2011

TEFL Log: July

New class, 11, seems good.  First exposure to Czechs today.  Much fun is expected, but as with all first contacts much will be unexpected.  So much the better.

TLH rolls on like Prague Thunder.  Back to back to back Summer courses that make doughy native speakers into lean mean teaching machines.  Things are real up on in here, so real.

Let's get Czech.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fourth Week

This is it, Grammar Test tomorrow, last lessons for the students on Thursday, and Friday the course ends.  It's nice watching things fall into place, methodology and grammar understanding coming together, interviews are popping up for the students.

It's always an interesting time, new students for the next course are already arriving and the current students are arranging travel plans.  After 4 intensive weeks the students become members of the family, it's nice when they stay, but you're proud that they spread their wings and fly.

Only yesterday was my country's Independence Day, Friday is theirs.  BYAHHH!!!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Over Halfway There

 . . . to quote Bon Jovi.

Halfway through the June course and things are moving smoothly.  The students are becoming teachers in their own right and though they still struggle a bit, they are exactly where they should be at this point in the course.  It's a good group that I'll be proud to watch continue to grow and become great teachers as the course progresses.

It looks as if the next three courses will all be at capacity too, so we'll have some fun times ahead and continue to build one of the strongest school communities in Prague.

Live, Love, Learn, Teach, Travel.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

First Week

With week number one under my belt for the June TEFL course I am feeling good; classes are going well, it seems that in a class of 7 only one will have any difficulty getting a job which will be no trouble at all since we can now focus our attention more.  Huzzah!  I'm glad to say we are restrengthening our ties and partnerships with schools in Prague that are constantly requesting our graduates because they love how our graduates teach.

It feels good I tells ya.

I took over at The Language House TEFL as Head Trainer in January and one of the graduates from that course has ALREADY become the Head Teacher at a Cambridge school in Prague and now they want more of our teachers.  What's more, three others from January are working at International Schools.  To quote Martha Stewart, "It's a good thing."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

June is Here!

Another course starts this Monday and I'm excited for it.  Sure, there are moments when I get annoyed watching a movie and sorting each 'if' statement into the correct conditional, but mostly, I love it.  I got into teaching because I love it, I love learning and learn so much daily in the process of teaching.  So it's only natural that I love the beginning of a course.  I get to induct a class into this wonderful life, share with them the joys of living abroad, the challenges and triumphs.

Watching my new students grow and get used to their surroundings and new profession is a great reward.  I can't wait for it to begin!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Life After TEFL

For the four weeks of your intensive TEFL course you will likely be busy and stressed with the workload, the culture and time shift, and trying to set up a new life including finding a job and place to live. Sound hard? It can be, but the most surprising difficulty tends to be the free time. It's counter intuitive a bit, but your days in TEFL are EXTREMELY full, you have something to do all the time and not too much time to worry and dwell on anything but the course.

After TEFL people sometimes find themselves awash in a sea of time and a foreign city with an hour or two a day looking for a job and then nothing to do but worry or mope. There's two main issues during this time: worry about jobs and isolation/depression.

Don't worry, there's hope. Provided you went to a decent TEFL program and you aren't too visibly crazy (notice you can still be crazy), you will find a job before too long even in tougher markets, particularly if your program has any help for job assistance. TEFL is a very transient workforce and there are ALWAYS openings.

The real trick is filling the time between the end of TEFL and the beginning of your work. This sounds easy but can be tough in a city where you know few people and have no routines or 'favorite' spots. The key to this is COMMUNITY. You just arrived so it's unlikely you will have a longstanding and family-like community unless it is a part of the culture of your school.

This is one of the benefits of TLH TEFL. We operate a small course and when you graduate you have shared an experience with everyone that has taken the course. Whether in February of 2006 or April of 2011, you both have enjoyed the "Evil Company" lesson and spent nights in smokey pubs studying for the dreaded Grammar Test. More than this simple connection though, TLH constantly keeps old and new classes in contact with each other both online and in person at events. One of the strongest selling points is the sense of community which often solves both of the previously mentioned problems. Should you choose to stay in Prague, an overwhelming number of our graduates find work, flats and information through other graduates in the city, which is more than simple job assistance or community.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Where can I teach?

The short answer is: You can teach anywhere where English isn't an official language, but it'll be harder some places than others (I even got into a teaching program and got a job in public school in the USA).

The looooong answer is:

First off, your nationality matters. For instance, in Europe, Brits are Kings, whereas in Asia the USA reigns supreme. Canadians tend to fall similarly to the USA, while South Africa and Australia tend to be lower down the line no matter where they go. That said, nowhere is off limits for anyone.

You may hear people say that Western Europe is a no go for non-EU citizens and for the most part they are right. If you are, for instance, an American wanting to teach in Italy, no one is going to reach out and hand you a job and visa. On the other hand, if you are willing and able to go there and pound the pavement from school to school and search out one-on-one private lessons, you can make a niche for yourself and I have known many people who have done just that.

This is about as hard as it gets and with a little cash reserves and perseverance, add a bit of experience in Central or Eastern Europe for good measure, you'll be fine if not legal. I wouldn't necessarily advise anyone to live 'illegally' anywhere, but it is a rather common practice nonetheless. If you aren't concerned with making a long term life and don't make trouble with the police the fact of the matter is you aren't going to be thrown out of the country. Even in these times of tightening visa restrictions in areas many, many people live under the radar for a year or two abroad in Europe. Before you throw caution to the wind though remember that it could cause you stress and make it harder to find work.

Largely though, you are able to work anywhere without much difficulty. The most popular or frequented places to teach are Prague, a TEFL Mecca, and S. Korea, a place to actually live abroad and make a lot of money. In my time with TEFL I have known people to teach in S. America, all over Europe, Asia and Africa. The key is to find the place that fits what you are looking for.

Feel free to ask about any country and nationality combination and I'd be glad to write something up. I may also be able to put you in contact with someone who has worked there or is still working there.