This week marks my first full year teaching in Prague. My journey began at the end of July when my Dad and I boarded a plane set for Prague so I could take a TEFL course with TEFL Worldwide, Prague. I remember feeling a mix of emotions from excitement to fear. I felt so unsure of what to expect and what the next month would have in store for me. Prior to the course I had never visited Prague and didn’t know what living in the Czech Republic would be like. I wondered where I would live, who my roommate would be, and what class would be like. I really enjoyed the course and felt prepared and excited to start teaching.
After an initial dislike for Prague, the city really grew on me and I realized that it offered great teaching opportunities for English speakers. I knew before I took the TEFL course that I wanted to teach children. I was initially drawn to the idea of taking a TEFL course because I’d always considered being a school teacher but I didn’t have the credentials to teach in America. I thought going abroad would be a fun and low risk way to decide if teaching was the right career path for me. Originally I had planned to teach in Germany but had found that most of the educational opportunities I was interested in required degrees in education in addition to a TEFL certification. I knew that Prague was a unique place that offered both a beautiful city in addition to the career and job opportunities I desired.
Both at the end of and after the TEFL course I was applying for jobs. I was surprised at the ease of getting a job. Employers in Prague seemed very excited and eager to hire people who had completed the TEFL Worldwide course since we all had at least 8 hours of hands on teaching experience under our belts and they knew we would be well prepared. After receiving several job offers I quickly figured out my problem would not be finding a job but find a job that was a good fit for me. It felt really good to feel so sought after and it was a comfort to know I could easily find a job and holding out for the right job would not result in months of unemployment.
I accepted a position where I would work mornings at a preschool and then spend each afternoon at a different school in Prague teaching game based lessons for an after school club. I remember the first week was so overwhelming. I was not very familiar with the transport system and had a very short amount of time to get from preschool to the elementary schools. I missed the train and was late to my very first day of after school club. Luckily I had a delegate from the school to help me get oriented to the school since I don’t speak Czech and I remember she was so nice and understanding. She had even told me beforehand she understood if I was late because it would be a very tight connection and it would be possible I could miss it. This is very emblematic of my experience working in Prague. This example really embodies my experience with people here in Prague, everyone has been extremely accommodating and understanding. The places I’ve worked have felt like families and I’ve always felt very cared for and supported in my teaching endeavours.
This past year has shown me that I really enjoy teaching and wanted to do it in a more formal classroom setting. I learned that although I enjoy little kids preschool was not right for me. I found that after four hours I was tired and ready to go home. I’ve learned that I love working with slightly older learner and I love the excitement of seeing kids master new skills and improve their ability to communicate. I think the number one thing I’ve learned is the importance of building relationships. If kids like and care about you they will want to learn to talk to you and they will want to make you do things that make you happy and proud of them. I’ve discovered I can get easily overwhelmed and working in smaller groups or more individualised setting is really where I thrive. Over the past year I feel like I have truly grown and developed as a person. I have learned so much about myself. Living abroad is truly a life changing experience. I would definitely recommend stepping outside of your comfort zone and taking the step to move abroad. The TEFLWorldwide Prague program definitely prepared me for life as an English teacher. If you are ready to take the step to live abroad, check out TEFL Worldwide Prague at their website: www.teflworldwideprague.com.