“True, I talk of dreams, which are the children of an idle brain, begot of nothing but vain fantasy.” Mercutio, Romeo & Juliet
Unlike Shakespeare’s beloved (albeit dejected) Mercutio, we all have a persistent fantasy or determined dream to realise. Whether it be a personal work goal or an ambitious travel plan, the majority of us have a dream or two. Mine this fuzzy morning, was my subconscious showing me that I was trying to turn off my actual alarm clock which was blasting from my real phone at 05:00am. (Weird right?)
A previous dream I had exactly 10 years ago, was to become a widely travelled TEFL Teacher. I’m grateful to say that I was able to make this a reality, unfortunately it only took me 10 years – but I made it! Eighteen year old me was working at a restaurant non-stop as it was and to complete a TEFL course online within a month or so, seemed easily achievable. I can safely say that did not happen. Life has a funny way of chiming in at unexpected times, until you age a little and come to the understanding that everything is technically well-timed. Before starting the TEFL course in Prague, I had already become a Freelance English Tutor, helping children and adults with their English skills and had saved enough to visit different countries in between. I may have dreamed of becoming a TEFL Teacher and wanted to see the world 10 years ago, but it was on the 15th November 2019 that I was meant to begin my TEFL journey with TEFL Worldwide Prague in the heart of the Czech Republic.
Having gotten engaged in May 2019, I was apprehensive about leaving my Mister for a month, but he supported my aspiration to become a qualified TEFL teacher and insisted that if I didn’t do it then, I never would. When I tentatively arrived at Václav Havel Airport on the evening of 15th November 2019, I was greeted by an assigned driver who drove me to my student accommodation, which was ever-so conveniently situated right across from the school building! After an informative briefing from a former TEFL Worldwide Alumni, I was escorted to my new home for the next few weeks.
The flat was cosy and had panels of natural wood adorned around the kitchen, giving you that proper indication that you were in a warm, Central European home with added cabin feel. Shortly after my arrival, one of my flatmates had also arrived with the earlier greeter: a blonde haired, almond eyed, Californian woman by the name of Tani who despite her twenty-six hours of travel from the USA, had greeted me with a big smile and we then spent the next hour getting to know one another. Little did we both know that despite our shy politeness that evening, we were to become great friends, shoulders to cry on during lesson planning and revision, noodle buddies and Friends fans. (Okay we were both already lifelong fans of Friends, but still.)
If you were to ask Tani or anyone else on our course, 1 month at TEFL Worldwide literally whizzes by! The course was led by our Teacher Kenny, whose first lesson planned for us was conducted in Czech and had us all struggling to speak and pronounce the simplest of greetings. Kenny’s technique at first seemed puzzling to us all, ’til we realised his brilliance in getting us to empathise with our potential students who would be learning how to speak, read and write English as a foreign language. The course may have been short, but it was highly intensive and my coursemates will agree, intensive is an understatement. It was stuffed with every grammar topic possible, the topics we were taught spurred us on to teach our own English group sessions every week to native Czechs, ranging from Elementary to Upper-intermediate levels, whereby we had to submit our lesson plans at least the night before the day of the lesson. Textbooks and teaching equipment was readily available for us all and each member of staff at TEFL Worldwide ensured that our needs were met and provided valuable advice to all of our questions. Job workshops were provided and the Director Cheryl even provided us all with individual links and networking opportunities to schools in the countries we hoped to pursue TEFL in. Everyone on the course got on like a house on fire and I’m proud to say that I made amazing connections with people from differing countries. We went out as often as we could, trekked to the local sights such as to Charles Bridge and The Astronomical Clock, bohemian coffee shops and even a robot bar. Prague may be famous for it’s gloriously, gothic-style architecture, but it’s developing fast and is becoming increasingly popular for expats and tourists alike. Together, we ate in every different restaurant possible, tried in vain to translate food items in Czech supermarkets and supported each other throughout our TEFL journey. On our final night after graduation, we bawled on one another and vowed to never stray from our WhatsApp group or Facebook. Had I completed the online TEFL course 10 years ago, I would have missed my chance to experience actual teaching practice, I wouldn’t have met my lovely friends, the Teachers and the Czech students I had gotten to know, which was all a better dream I didn’t know I needed realising.