Graduates

How The September 2021 TEFL Class Fell In Love With Each Other (and 3 Tips How Your Month Can Too)

Hello there! I’m Megan from the September 2021 class. TEFL at TLH is already a stressful month. When you add in the pandemic, tensions can become a lot. Instead of letting the stress get to us, we became one of the greatest classes The Language House TEFL has ever had (those are the staff’s words). Learn how below!

So, how did we do it? How did the September course of 2021 become the greatest class to grace the halls of The Language House? While the starting point was having bonded over the shared risk-taking experience of leaving American life for Czech life, the rest incorporated so much more.

Communication is key

We landed in Prague and began The Language House journey without any sense of the bonds we would form, the skills we would harness, nor the shared feeling of accomplishment we would have after four long weeks. It began with a common understanding of the position we were all similarly in – untrained TEFL strangers in a strange city facing the persistent unknown. The unknown was tricky to navigate – we each had a grasp of what we were likely to face and experience here, but this understanding wasn’t complete in any way, so what did we do? We cooked up a massive class group chat. While The Language House is flawless in their advice, help, suggestions, and overall support, we felt that as a class there should be more for us. More than the day-to-day waves and smiles and classroom talks among our peers. We created a full class group chat, aka “Westergaard’s Warriors” (still existing today) that facilitated a line of communication that allowed us to seek others for help, make weekend plans, and celebrate the good moments in our week.

So, if there isn’t one already in your class, I recommend collecting numbers now! But make sure you get everyone’s – or the group chat will fail in its purpose. As a class, you will be able to create a sense of unity while seeking similar solutions to similar challenges you’re facing. The Language House TEFL already has a new student group, Pack Your Bags and Move to Prague. Join that and then reach out to your current class memebers.

Support, don’t abandon

There are many days throughout the course where you might feel like you are miserably failing, unable to develop another new idea, or simply without any ounce of energy left. Most times, we think we’re better off figuring it out on our own, so as to not bother anyone. Or we might feel too consumed by our own tasks that we neglect to check in on our peers. But!

It became quite clear that the only way we would get through the program feeling every success, small or big, was if we leaned on each other. We all quickly realized that there isn’t a competition, but only an opportunity to help others grow and build a community with. In this, we motivated each other, we pushed each other, and we were patient with each other and the process. When we sensed one was struggling, we were intent on ensuring they knew they were creatively capable.

When our second week of teaching rolled around, we had all gained a sense of confidence in our strengths yet knew the weaknesses we needed to address. Still, we were tired – VERY tired. On one of the teaching nights in this week, a classmate reached out to me expressing his struggles and fight with exhaustion, which I could empathize with. So, I gathered points of my shared experience and we worked through it together. First, we had to be willing to open up, but first there needed to be a line of trust. As a fellow peer, Ilana Stern, put it, “There were constant open streams of communication. These were especially felt during our teaching weeks when we were able to connect with each other as we were navigating our lesson planning and teaching.” In other words, you are all in it together – sharing a unique experience with equally unique people. Lean on each other for help, guidance, and support and you’ll leave the TLH not only with a certificate, but lifelong friends.

Welcome individuality

The core of the beauty in this program is the ability to welcome a flourishing and unique set of people into your life – people with backgrounds completely contrasting yours, challenging yours, or edifying yours. Whatever it may be, it comes as a surprise when you first begin your TEFL studies. It was rare that we ever met such a dynamically driven group of individuals back home, but here it became a daily awe. Each person joins this program with similar mindsets – of travel, of growth, of learning, of challenge, and of dedication to discover something new in life. Yet, we each have our own beliefs and goals in life – moving abroad is a step in reaching those. We could have either isolated ourselves from the liveliness surrounding us because of stress or fear, or we had the option to embrace the unique traits of each other. And the latter we did.

I believe September’s success in cultivating a well-rounded community of people who cherish each other stems from this. We embraced each other for who we were and aided some sense of growth as we processed the change together.