4th and Last week of TEFL

The United States election seemed to have taken a lot of the thought process all over the world, but more specifically in my class and flat. I’m not going to write on the politics and that was not the point of my blog to begin with.

I will say, however, everyone comes from a different background with different experiences. This is the reason I love to travel. To see how other people live and their thoughts on living.

Being in the Czech Republic for this month has given me new insight to this country as well as to Central Europe that I didn’t know previously or thought of previously. For example, Slovakians and Czechs can understand each other when they are talking in their own language. That is how similar it is. Sometimes they can understand Polish as well. That’s pretty cool. It was interesting to sit at a table with a Slovakian and a Czech as they were speaking their languages, but still understanding each other besides a few words here and there. I mean, I didn’t understand anything, but it was cool to witness.

It has been getting colder here. I don’t notice it on my morning runs, but that might be because I am completely numb. Though it has been helping improve my average time since I am pushing myself more since I can’t feel my legs. Which is also bad as the cobblestones are tricky here and I have to pay attention where I am running. There has been times in the US that I have tripped over tree roots and so on with painful outcomes. One morning this week, there was a good layer of snow on the cars.I’m not ready 😦

I do enjoy running in the city. There are so many sights to see and the people give you an additional obstacle to get around. It’s basically never the same running route. The other day, I saw an electronic sign that said one degree Celsius. As much as I’m looking forward to the Christmas markets and skiing, I was hoping winter would be postponed a little bit.

As of Wednesday night, I became a certified English teacher! I passed the grammar exam as well as passed all my teaching lessons and assignments. Some of us were not able to pass the grammar exam, but luckily there is a re-take.

One of us made the best choice for him/her-self and decided not to finish the course and go back home. We were all very sad to say goodbye, but with today’s technology we will always be connected!

This week was also hard for me as I knew it was the end of a chapter. I had gotten close to my classmates and will miss our time together. Yes, we can see each other in the future and stay in touch via the internet, but it will never be the same, and the chances of us all together are very low.

On Thursday we had pub night at Legenda, which is organized by the school. It’s to celebrate the end of the course with each other and the students. It was an amazing night. Z didn’t want to go out after the pub and I normally would not have either seeing that we had class the next day, but as I mentioned before, when would be the next time?

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K and some of our students

To appeal to his hipster self as he self-proclaimed at the pub,

“Live in the moment. What argument can you give me for that?” He couldn’t and he did come out with us. We went to Retro. It was a fun club that played current popular music with an EDM/House mix. It was a lot of fun.

It was also a celebratory night as those who had to retake the test passed with flying colors. G was positive he didn’t pass, but he did! We couldn’t be any more proud of him.

The students were asking who was staying and making plans with us. Many are staying in Prague, but I still have some things to figure out. I’m staying for several more days, but then it looks like I’m going to Croatia. But, now that I have made so many friends here, I want to stay. Maybe I will come back for long term in the near future.

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D and A are also not sure what they are doing in the near future. They are planning on staying in Prague for the upcoming year, just not sure for the upcoming week or so.

G and P are going home to England while K and H are staying here. K’s parents are coming next week to visit, which is great! Is is living life per norm while Mi looks like he is going back home to the USA. Z is traveling the next few weeks then returning, but I will probably be gone by the time he is back.

When we were all saying goodbye, or not goodbye, but a see you later, Is warned me to not cry. I just smiled.

On my gap year, after 3 months in Salamanca, Spain, I did cry, but after many times of saying goodbye to people and then later being able to see them again, I have learned that it’s just a natural part of life. I saw friends after several months or 5 years in the case of SJ, my friend in Budapest.

There are several quotes and I can’t recite them word for word, but they go like this:

Moving from place to place or traveling in general, you leave a piece of you in every spot. The same is with people you meet. They will always be a part of you no matter where they are.

They are now tired of hearing me talk about Buenos Aires, Budapest, and Boston to name a few, but I will always carry those places and the people with me like I will do so now with Prague.

I sometimes laugh at the quote as it reminds me of Voldemort and his horcroxes (Harry Potter fans anyone?), but I find it very true.

Traveling gives you such an amazing experience and I can’t encourage people enough to travel anyway they can.

This week as well, I went to a Filipino store (my mom’s Filipina) and I ended up talking to the store owner for a little over an hour. I had such a great time and he offered to help me in anyway while I’m in Prague.

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Across the way from the shop is an old church that has a wax statue of the baby Jesus. This statue is quite famous because it is said to have caused miracles. Due to this, it has been given many different robes to wear. And these robes are not doll clothes, but made from gold and jewels like emeralds and pearls. Some of the oldest robes are from the 17th century. Paulo Coelho, the writer of The Alchemist, apparently prayed for success of his next book (The Alchemist) to the statue and promised to donate a robe. Well, he did become successful, but according to the shop owner, people are still waiting for him to donate a robe. I don’t know how true this story is, but it’s cool nonetheless.

The church is free to enter and it is beautiful, not as beautiful as the other ones, but still nice. There is a small museum in the back with all the robes. It was really interesting and strange to see.

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Our last day, two companies came in to talk to us about working for their language school. Coming from a business university, I had many presentations and lessons on presenting. It has been branded into me that I should dress appropriately for presentations, which I translated over into my lessons.

“You always dress so nice for your lessons.” D commented one day. I shrugged.

One of the schools was great in their presentation. Very engaging. The other school was not prepared and it didn’t make us feel comfortable with potentially applying with them. It truly makes a difference and until you see two extremes back to back, it’s hard to fully understand the art of presenting even after having lessons on it from university.

Anyways, in the States we just have a resume. The hiring process is blind so no age, marital status, and definitely no picture. In Europe, with the CV’s, there are these things and it was so weird including them. With my university, I had many classes on resume making and I have a resume that I am very proud of- in terms of format, but also my experiences. However, this is meant for a position in business, not for teaching and the format is obviously off. Creating a new one, yes not from scratch, but a new one just the same was very weird. Aligning my experiences with the teaching profession was also interesting. I had to change my mindset that I had spent four years developing.

We don’t have to teach for a language school. Many English teachers get jobs at Kindergardens working with the young kids. We spent one day learning how to teach these young active minds. It was fun and weird at the same time as the 9 of us played duck, duck, goose in our teacher’s demo lesson.

I wouldn’t mind teaching children, but I would prefer older children or adults, skipping the years between 11 and 16 specifically, but then again, I still would not be opposed to taking a job with students in this age range.

The week is still not over! We have to move out Saturday morning, tomorrow, and I have a place to stay starting Sunday. So right now, after finishing this post, I will be packing and looking for a place to stay tomorrow night (Saturday). There is also a nap involved since we plan on going out again tonight. This time, we will finally get to go to karaoke that we have been wanting to do from, basically, the beginning.

There was a reason I was in band in high school, but life is short and if you like a song, then you sing it!

I really enjoyed my TEFL experience and if you are looking for something to do or in transition from one phase to another, getting this certificate will definitely open doors for you- in terms of options for jobs, for travel, and for friends. There are many places to get certified. I picked Prague because I was already in Europe and I heard great things about Prague that were not wrong. But there are places all over the world. It might not be THAT rewarding like volunteering in Uganda, but teaching people a language in a different country and culture is rewarding. You can see them grow in their language skills and you can see yourself grow as well. Maybe you will start learning their language. You will definitely get outside your comfort zone in some way- either speaking in front a big group of people, preparing a lesson/games, or living in a different country with a different language and culture in general.

This past month has been amazing and I am thrilled I got to share it with my new friends and with the internet world.

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CCQ’s (Concept Check Questions), the Golden Rule of TEFL

CCQ’s are Concept Check Questions- questions we ask students to make sure they understand something. (Short/Small definition).

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