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Alumni Stories – Brandon

We spoke with one of our graduates, Brandon, 1 year after completing the TEFL course. He talks about his experience over the last 12 months.

Do you teach for language schools or do you have your own students?

Currently I am working for two language schools and have a few private students. I recommend for newer teachers to try to stick to one language school when first starting out though just to get a feel for the school and their schedule. I didn’t start working for my second school or getting private students until about three months after I graduated.

You are actively teaching at the moment, so how many hours per week do you teach? How many hours per week are doable?

I currently teach about 22 hours per week. A typical day for me would be like this:

  • Monday- 3 hours in the morning break from 13-16 and then 3 hours in the evening.
  • Tuesday- 3 hours in the morning, 1.5 hours during the day and 2 hours at night.
  • Wednesday- 3 hours in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon.
  • Thursday- 3 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon.
  • Friday- 1 hour in the morning.

A typical full time schedule is about 21 hours for teaching at a language school. I personally would try not to take over 25 hours unless you have it scheduled to teach the same lesson for multiple classes.

What materials do you use in your lessons?

For my materials I use several books from English File or Cambridge English. There are a TON of different websites with pre-made lessons as well. I really like Linguahouse and ESL Brains. Using these resources allows me to plan quickly and I don’t have to start lessons from scratch. I can change and adjust the pre-made lesson as I like.

When you think about your beginnings, would you say that the TEFL course was useful? 

TEFL was definitely useful. I have a background in education, but with teaching English you form a different bond with students because you’re typically teaching all ages from 6 year olds to retirees. The TEFL course also unites you with so many past graduates that love to help and are always willing to give advice.

Are you using some things that you learned during the course?

YES! I like the structure for lesson plans that the course teaches you and during the course you get reviewed by trainers and your classmates so hearing the advice that they gave was amazing. I still have my TEFL notebook with grammar and how I should elicit and use the board.

Did you have any struggles you had to overcome?

There’s always struggles to overcome especially when moving to a new country by yourself. I made sure to do a lot of research about Prague and TEFL Worldwide Prague to have a full understanding of what could happen before moving there. I think what helped me the most was just having the expectation of knowing everything bad that could happen and if it didn’t happen then it was a success. It’s also nice while in the course that you are in the same teacher’s room as other past graduates and you can always ask them for advice because chances are they have been through something similar.

Have you experienced any culture shock in Prague? 

I think the biggest culture shock that I experienced was how quiet the people can be here. In the United States I’m used to hearing people constantly talking and wanting to meet new people and be expressive. Here the culture is a little different, in some areas, people are very reserved and to themselves, but still friendly.

What advice would you give to new teachers? 

I would say take your time. Once you finish the course, definitely relax for a few days, try not to go straight into work. The course is intense and you’ll want a breather. Then once you have your breather take just a few hours to start off because it is an adjustment to have to get used to prepping for lessons. Then once you get used to a few hours slowly add more until you feel comfortable. Remember being a teacher is also being a learner. You won’t know everything and each of your students will be different so be flexible, but also know that sometimes things don’t go the way you want them and that’s okay.

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