I started the course on 8/1/07.I was quite nervous in the days prior to starting as I haven`t really studied intensively for a number of years. I was also a little worried about standing at the front of the class teaching English but not speaking Thai. I hadn`t done any reading about how the course actually works and I now know that it would have been a good idea to have done this.The first day you get thrown in at the deep end because you have to stand at the front of the class and talk for 3 minutes about a subject of your choice.The three minutes seemed a lot longer than it was.At the time I didn`t really see the point of this exercise but now I can appreciate the relevance of it.It`s basically a confidence builder and also gives you some insight into what it will feel like when you are actually teaching.
The course itself starts off at a quick pace and doesn`t realy slow down. There is a lot to take in and you have to concentrate at all times. Our first teacher observation gave real insight into how the teaching is actually done.The teachers were of a high standard and the students were very eager to learn. We were told that we would be teaching on the third day and this came as a real shock. At the time I felt out of my depth and completely underprepared to actually teach for real. The teachers gave us all the help we needed and helped us in every possible way in the preparation for the lesson. The actual teaching of the lesson seemed to come naturally and the nerves soon disappeared. It was such a good feeling getting through that initial lesson and also a very rewarding experience.It was after this initial lesson that I realy felt I could teach. It was far from a perfect lesson but the confidence it gives you is a real boost.
The more academic side of the course however is tough. I found learning English grammar the most difficult aspect of the course by far. It` obvious why you must learn this though or your credentials as a teacher are compromised if you don`t know the grammar rules. Its very indepth and I wish I`d have read and studied some aspects of English grammar before coming onto the course. Although English grammar isn`t exactly the most exciting subject our teacher always kept things upbeat and interesting.If we were stuggling with something he would go over it until it was understood by all.In the four weeks my knowledge expanded greatly and I learned more than I ever thought I would.We also learned about Phonetics which at first was a totally alien language.I never thought I was going to get to grips with such a method but again it was taught well and I eventually picked up how and why we use it.
By the end of the course you have completed a grammar/phonetics test and taught six , forty five minute lessons.You really feel adequately prepared to go and teach in any foreign country in the world. You really are a fully qualified TEFL teacher.
Author: Stephen Whelan
Date of post: 2007-02-06