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Graduation Day, through the eyes of Emma

One of our July graduates, Emma, wrote about what graduation day was like for her. Read along to experience the day through her eyes.

Our last day of TEFL was full of mixed feelings: relief, pride, excitement, connection, gratitude, and a healthy dose of anxiety about our futures. I was one of the folks who finished teaching on Thursday, so I spent the morning taking my time, decompressing, and getting glammed up for graduation!

Once I got to class, everyone had positive energy about being done with the course. 18 trainees, and we all made it. After completing a brief survey about TEFL, where we got the opportunity to give our feedback on our course, trainers, accomodation, etc, we were led by April to complete a final activity.

Afterwards, we all moved our desks and sat in a circle. Once we sat down in our circle, our emotions started to come to the surface. Staring at eachother as equals having completed a difficult month together. Everyone went around the room one by one and said something they would take away from this experience. My takeaway was that this was a surprising environment because, even though we were all striving towards the same goal, no one was competitive. We all wanted eachother to succeed and helped one another. Tears were shed! Many people discussed how proud they were of accomplishing this goal and how amazing the support for the trainers and their peers was.

But the feelings couldn’t stop there! We had the idea as a class to give our lovely trainers flowers and handwritten cards. The cards gave us all a chance to write a personal message to each trainer, and we hand selected the flowers to match their personalities. After the sharing circle, we made the trainers turn around and present to them the flowers and cards. A small gesture from the class, but one that they were very touched by. Apparently we were the first to give them flowers? It was the least we could do. For me this was the highlight of graduation, because in order for all of us to have succeeded, our trainers needed to be there with us every step of the way.

Then it was time for our proper graduation. We all sat in rows facing our trainers and were individually handed our certificate, complete with photos of course! One by one, we were introduced and called to the front. Every time someone went to get their certificate and shake hands with April and Tasci, we all cheered and applauded. Talk about supportive! Everyone was beeming beautiful smiles and in celebration mode. Then came the real fun, champagne! We got a champagne toast and some treats and hugged, laughed, and congratulated one another. We were given an hour or so to really soak it in (and enjoy the champagne).

After graduation we went to a local pub, where April had reserved us a huge patio space. Not only are the monthly graduation parties a chance for us to keep celebrating with our trainers, but also a chance to meet other alumni! So many alumni came out to celebrate with us and mingle with us. Hearing their life experiences since living in Prague and teaching was helpful and all of them were so kind and congratulatory towards us. We stayed there for hours soaking it all in. Eventually we kept the party going and moved to yet another bar! We didn’t want our TEFL experience to end. Some of us all went to get pizza and talk in a more intimate setting. After pizza we were all full of carbs and feeling sleepy, so the wonderful night came to an end.

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