One of our team members, Melody, is leaving our team. Before she heads off on a new EFL adventure, she spoke a little about her time with us at TEFL Worldwide Prague.
How long did you work at TEFL WWP?
I started out as an observer in August 2020 and did observations as needed for a year. In September 2021, I joined the team as a TEFL trainer and continued in my role for two rich years full of growth, memorable moments, and an array of delightful trainees!
What did your sessions mainly consist of?
My module focused on lesson planning. I also made an effort to incorporate a lot of group games and kinesthetic activities to get learners up and moving! The methodology module focuses heavily on teaching individuals, so I was striving to complement the methodology module and arm trainees with a toolbox of low prep group games and speaking activities, such as my signature spoons game.
What was your favorite part about being on the TEFL team?
My favorite part about being on the TEFL team was playing a part in trainees developing confidence in themselves as people and in their teaching skills. It was incredibly fulfilling to be a part of such growth. It was lovely to observe trainees finding their teaching personality and coming into themselves.
What are the three most beneficial pieces of advice you gave to the trainees?
1. I once attended a seminar entitled “Who am I that my students’ eyes are not smiling?”. I found the title to be thought-provoking. If your students’ eyes are twinkling and smiling, your lesson quite possibly resulted in a positive outcome. Ever since that seminar, I advised trainees to check out students’ facial expressions, body language, and eyes. If students are laughing and their eyes are smiling, you’re doing something right. If there’s no twinkle in their eyes, might something be missing?
2. Check out all the teaching options in Prague and the Czech Republic! While language schools offer flexible schedules, primary and secondary schools can offer stability, paid time off, benefits, and other perks. Research all your options and make an informed choice based on your goals for your stay in the Czech Republic. And remember that there is life in the Czech Republic beyond Prague! There are excellent schools in Brno, Ostrava, Olomouc, and other towns around the Czech Republic bursting with stunning nature and culture.
3. Get students up and moving in the classroom! Kinesthetic activities lead to an abundance of positive results in the classroom. They raise energy, and if there is any negative energy present in the classroom, they can diffuse this energy. Mingling activities also enable students to talk to several different classmates, thereby building community.
What advice, as a trainer, would you give incoming trainees?
1. Enjoy teaching and let your personality shine through!
2. Our TEFL course works by learning through doing, so try not to expect to receive high scores from your teaching at the beginning of the course. We are looking for you to try out the methodology and structure that we teach, but we don’t expect any sort of perfection.
3. Get organized! Take some time to make a daily and weekly to-do list (or organize tasks in a way that suits your workflow) and review the new slides from each day every night to consolidate what you have learned.
What do you think you’ll miss the most?
I will miss the monthly thrill of new trainees at the beginning of each course. Where are they from? What is their story? What sort of personality will they have as teachers? What will they delight in and what will they find challenging?
I will miss helping trainees adjust to life in Prague. I love meeting up with trainees for a coffee after the course and hearing how they are faring. I love providing some teaching ideas and thoughts on life here to support them in having the happiest and most fulfilling time here that they can.
I will also miss showing trainees my games and activities. I love my games! And I love showing trainees a variety of ways in which teaching can be fun.
While the TEFL chapter in my life has come to a close, I will always be fond of the folks at TEFL and grateful for my experience as a trainer and an observer. I grew tremendously as a person, a teacher, and a trainer. While I am excited for a change in my life and new challenges, nothing will ever replace the TEFL-shaped spot in my heart.