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Alumni Stories – Liq

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We spoke with one of our graduates, Liq, 1.5 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’m currently working full-time at Spěváček, a language school, and I also teach some private students on the side. I really value the flexibility and stability that language schools offer, and having private students helps me financially. I opted for a language school job after working at an international school previously. While it was a great experience and taught me a lot, I wanted a job where I could have more control over my schedule and choose classes that pique my interest. My main focus is teaching In-Company, Individual, Post-Secondary, and Public courses. Unsure if I’ll ever return to the traditional school routine with fixed hours because I’m genuinely enjoying what I’m doing at the moment.

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

Currently, I’m teaching a total of 35 hours a week—30 hours at Spěváček and an additional 5 hours privately. When I initially began teaching after completing my TEFL certification, I started with 10 hours per week for the first two months. Eventually, I transitioned to a full-time schedule of 25 hours per week. Typically, a standard full-time teaching schedule at a language school is around 21 hours, but most instructors aim for an average of 25 hours weekly. I’ve increased my teaching hours significantly by improving my class scheduling and lesson planning skills. Feeling more confident in managing my workload has allowed me to handle this increased teaching load.

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

When I first started, preparing my lessons was quite time-consuming. If I recall correctly, I spent roughly 2 hours per day, Monday to Friday, totaling around 10 hours a week. It felt extremely challenging initially, and looking back, I believe I made it harder for myself by overthinking and striving for perfection. However, as time passed and I gained more experience, it gradually became easier. These days, I spend significantly less time, typically around 1 to 2 hours per week. I often reuse lessons I’ve previously planned, and I find online resources and textbooks, particularly those with pre-made lessons, incredibly helpful.

What materials do you use in your lessons?

I utilize a mix of textbooks provided by Spěváček and online resources that I’ve subscribed to or paid for. While not all resources are paid, there are some excellent free options available if you take the time to search for them. The specific textbooks I use include the English File Fourth Edition and the Cambridge English First Result. I typically rely on textbooks only for courses that specifically require them, leaning more towards online resources. My primary sources for teaching materials come from various websites such as LinguaHouse, ESLBrains, English4Tutors, and YourEnglishPal.

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?

The TEFL course was a game-changer for me! With 8 years of experience teaching Music before I came to Prague, switching to teaching English to non-native speakers was a whole new adventure—one that I found even more enjoyable and captivating than teaching Music. Surprisingly, despite English being my native language, I was surprised by the complexities revealed during the course, especially in English Grammar. It taught me a lot about structuring lessons, time management, and the ins and outs of teaching English, which really prepared me for my new teaching gig here in Prague. I still apply a bunch of the stuff I learned during that course in my teaching methods today.

Did you have any struggles you had to overcome?

I didn’t face any major struggles; I settled in comfortably right from the get-go. Previous experience living abroad and mingling with folks from diverse backgrounds helped a lot. Before moving to Prague, I did my homework about the course and life here, which made the decision easier. The only real hassle I had was with the long-term Visa application—it was straightforward but took forever. Other than that, smooth sailing. Having trainers and classmates going through the same stuff at the beginning was reassuring. The friendships I made along the way were priceless. The best part of my journey? Meeting my fiancé at TEFL Worldwide Prague. She’s the main reason why Prague feels like home and why starting a new life here was totally worth it.

Have you experienced any culture shock in Prague?

Yeah, I did encounter some instances of culture shock in Prague, but they were relatively minor. What really left an impression on me were the language and the food. Navigating a new language required some extra effort, and while the food was absolutely delicious, it was quite different from what I was used to. Adapting to new flavors and dishes was a notable adjustment. But you know what? These aspects ended up adding a lot of value to my time in Prague. Despite the initial surprises, they became exciting elements that allowed me to explore a different side of the city’s vibe, and I ended up thoroughly enjoying it.

What advice would you give to new teachers?

Enjoy the journey! Put in the effort during the course, but also remember to enjoy yourself. My advice? Don’t rush into a full-time workload right after the course. Taking a week or two off to travel, unwind, or simply relax after an intense month of learning can be incredibly refreshing. However, if you’re eager to start working, consider beginning with a lighter workload and gradually increasing your hours. Remember, it’s okay if things don’t always go smoothly or perfectly. I’ve had moments questioning my abilities or decisions. Seeking support from colleagues and peers during those times can make a real difference. Sometimes, taking a step back can pave the way for a bigger leap forward.

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

I do wish I had more Czech under my belt before coming here, but I’ll admit, I could’ve prepped better. It’s a tough language, but honestly, it’s fun! Apart from that, I wish I knew more about the Visa application process beforehand. As I mentioned earlier, that was my main headache. I had the basics down, but those tiny details caused major delays and headaches. But hey, on a brighter note, I wish I’d known how ridiculously happy I’d end up here. There are moments when I wake up or stroll around town, and it hits me—wow, this is where I live! I’m incredibly grateful for the course, the awesome friendships, meeting my fiancé, and the fantastic career and life I’ve got here.

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