Richard has taught in Prague
Our course was amazing, not only for Chris’s energy and teaching style but for my fellow course mates. Without exaggeration, the best sitcom writer in the World couldn’t have invented characters as eclectic, engaging and outright bizarre as the group of 12 people I shared a happy month of my life with. I have fond memories of them all, from the Canadian bodyguard, to the Geordie Casanova, to the man born in former Zaire and all the ones in between.
TEFL at the language house introduces you to people you never really believed existed. What is more, one of this group has become a friend that I am sure I will have for life (John Stanlake, mentioning no names). My advice about getting through the course, is to embrace all of it. If Chris asks you to stand on the desk and shout something crazy at the top of your voice, don’t take that moment to think, just stand up and do it. Whatever crazy thing you end up doing, believe me, there is a reason for it.
LIFE AFTER TEFL:
Amazingly, I am still in the Czech Republic. For about a year and a half I worked for James Cook Languages in Prague. This is one of the biggest language schools and I had a good experience with them. They gave me classes, paid me on time and quickly promoted me. If you ask enough people about any language school you will hear something bad but remember this; some people have bad experiences because they are terrible teachers. If you are genuinely good at what you do, most schools will see they have an asset and try to keep hold of you.
A year and a half in Prague left me a little fatigued, it was a fun life but sometimes tough too. If you stay long enough, be prepared to regularly say goodbye to people you really like, that is just part of the package.
So I left Prague and took a job teaching Kindergarten kids in Podebrady, a small town an hour from Prague. I wanted to really get to know the Czech Republic and its people. This was another brilliant year and a totally different experience. You don’t have the safety net of the Expats community in a little town but you for me it was totally worthwhile. Podebrady really feels like my home now.
Once I had made some friends I soon realized that I could work independently, so I got my Zivno and started working as an independent teacher. If you are British, I recommend this, some people say getting a Zivno is hard, in my experience it isn’t (at least for Brits). Once you have it (if you are good and in demand) you can earn much more. I enjoyed working for myself, it gives you a sense of pride to know that you established everything for yourself, of course with the help of some friends.
In Autumn last year, one of my former students that works for a large software company in Hradec Kralove told me about an opportunity to become a full-time employee at his company. This was a chance to have something more stable, after nearly five happy years teaching, I was ready for something new. This is where I work now, I proof read English, teach a tiny bit and discuss the best ways to write and present all sorts of things. So that wraps up my entire TEFL experience. !
Good luck to anyone that takes the course. Use TEFL to help you travel, or for getting a start in a teaching career, enjoy it but don’t get lost in it. Try to have some long term goals in your life and not to drift for too long!