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Alumni Stories – Clayton

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We spoke with one of our graduates,  Clayton, almost 2 years after completing the TEFL course. He talks about his experience since graduating. 

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

I currently work for 1 language school. I started at Berlitz a couple of weeks after I finished the course. I really like the materials and the scheduling of Berlitz. You give them your availability and they place classes in that time period. I don’t currently have any private students and I focus on having a full schedule at Berlitz.

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 30-35 hours a week. I can’t speak on teaching for other schools since I just work at one, but I think it’s important to schedule for more than you need to account for cancellations. Be careful though since it’s always possible that nobody will cancel and then you’ll have a really hard time keeping up with your schedule.

How long did it take you to prepare one lesson when you started teaching?

Prepping for lessons is a little bit different where I work. Since where I work has their own material and teaching style you do less prep in general. You need to make sure you understand the grammar subject and you know all of the information for each lesson. When I first started working where I am, I spent roughly 30-45 mins preparing for a lesson.

How long does it take you now?

I usually spend about 20 mins preparing for a lesson. Once you get used to the style and flow of a lesson at your school you can get very good at being prepared for a lesson by just reviewing the information in each unit.

What materials do you use in your lessons?

The school I work at has their own proprietary materials that you get access to when you are hired. The materials give you the vocabulary, grammar and language focus that will be taught in each unit.

When you think about your beginnings, would you say that the TEFL course was useful? Are you using some things that you learned during the course?

I think the TEFL course was very useful. I didn’t have any experience with teaching before the course and I think getting the opportunity to gain some experience standing in front of students was extremely helpful for me. It also gives you a great network of fellow teachers and expats that are always willing to help.

Did you have any struggles you had to overcome? 

There are always struggles when you move to a new country. I’m not from a city so at first Prague was a little intimidating. I made sure I researched how to do the simple things like buying tickets for public transportation. The thing that helped with that the most was just walking around the city and getting familiar with the area.

Have you experienced any culture shock in Prague? 

Probably the biggest shock is interacting with people when you’re walking around the city. Where I’m from you smile and nod while walking around. Here they are more reserved, very nice, but reserved.

What advice would you give to new teachers? 

Don’t stretch yourself too thin. Start with a few classes and get used to your own patterns for prep. Don’t get too stressed about a lesson that doesn’t go as well as you hoped, because you can always learn from things that don’t work during a lesson.

Is there anything you wish you’d known when you started? 

I can’t think of anything. I usually take things in stride and really appreciate learning or adapting to situations as they happen.

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