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TEFL Int'l exposed!!! pt 1.2


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I will try to complete the report of my first week, although please bear with me because competition is fierce for computer time around here (and it costs)

Before I get back to the narrative, let me discuss briefly the schools set up, staff, and (in answer to a question posted in the first thread) the student make-up.

The school/hotel is 4 stories tall, the first being a lobby/recreation room with a tv with full cable lineup, vcr and dvd player. It also serves as restaurant dining room as they have a full menu for all meals of the day to choose from. The prices, for both Thai and Western food are slightly higher than can be gotten from local vendors (with the exception of the steak/spaghetti items - which I haven't seen offered anywhere else) but are not far off the mark. The quality of the food I can't attest to because with living/working there, for mealtimes I need to get away. The large bottled water is a good deal at 5 baht, but I've just been informed by the head teacher that it sometimes gives him urinary infections...so maybe not such a good deal (I say as I take another swig)

The second floor is entirely made up of two large classrooms...only one of which is used for the TEF'L class. The third and fourth floors are designated for bedrooms for students and some staff. (although there's always several people hanging around for whom I have no idea their purpose) There our also an innumerable supply of dogs, cats, and the ever present gecko's which always seem to find their way into my room. There is also a large, huge really, backyard area with bungallo's, a mountain-climbing wall, and other playground equipment for the English Campers who come approx monthly for a few days at a time.

The Teaching Staff really boils down to one man, Dave, who truly is a Master Teacher. A man of more experience couldn't be found, and although he occasionally assumes we know things for which we have no clue, he is definately somebody to model yourself after. This becomes especially clear whenever another teacher is brought in for any length of time. He always tries to show, rather than tell you information, and does it in a way which doesn't make you self conscious or afraid of failure (well, not too much) Course, this opinion could change in a New York Minute should my grades fall!

Although I'm sure each class has it's own unique demographic, ours has 10 men and 4 women. I believe only one of the men is in his 20's and only a couple could be considered anything like the backpacker stereotype (I'm guessing the B60,000 keeps them away) The rest are in their 30's and 40's from varying backgrounds. We are pretty evenly split between Brits and Americans as our the instructors. (Dave is an American)

So Monday morning we arrive for our first class, and after playing name games which forever cement my classmates identities into the fabric of my soul, we start in on learning Thai as a foreign language. This is to show us different techniques of learning a new language as well as giving us some empathy for the students position when dealing with us. We will have 3 days of this.

Along with these language sessions (or inputs, as they call them) we also do a series of team building exercises to get to know each other better, including many which involve theatre games and techniques. Having 15 years experience in the live theatre, these suit me quite well. The grammar is a different issue.

Dave freely admits, even propagandizes, that grammar is both inacurate and unnecessary. He claims he teaches it only because we will want to be able to discuss it with other teachers. I, for one, couldn't give a flip about talking to other teachers in the hall (especially if doing so requires me to re-learn what a dangling participle is) but I think the real reason is that it is required by the powers that be for the certification. There is to be a test after the fours days of grammar and phonology study, but we are assured that we WILL pass this test if he has to stand over our shoulder while we take it. (It is open book...so keep good notes, you prospective teachers out there) Also we learn that this course has just been recognized by the University of Washington for 12 credits, which may look good on a resume.

The highlight of the week was our first encounters with the Thai students. Both the first and second day, we were driven to a middle school on the outskirts of town to do one-on-one teaching with our own little Thai guinea pig. Mine was names Surajit and he is 13 years old.

The first days goals were nebulous at best. Get to know the student. We wrote out a lesson plan which included a seemingly unending stream of questions we could ask during our one hour together. 30 minutes in, those questions were used up and it was improv time (and you can only sing "The Birthday Song" so many times without barfing into the swarm of mosquitos who are making a nice lunch from your leg)

The second day was far more rewarding as we had actual lessons to teach and goals which could be attained (goals are a big thing with me) The boy and I got along very well and I was proud of the progress we made together. It also re-inforced what Dave had told us about the importance of modelling any question or ideas you are trying to put to the student, who may not understand the words by themselves.

Interspersed with all this were occasional inputs on teaching techniques, but the dreaded grammar and phonology took up most of the rest of the week, leaving us more than ready to get away for the weekend. Some would go to Bangkok, others Ko Samet, or Pattaya, but I was headed to Rayong.

More about this and other matters when I write about Week 2, coming in ONLY 6 DAYS!!!

Hope Ã'm fulfilling what you all were looking for in this type of report. Let me know. Also, I check the board every other day and would be happy to answer questions.

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Hello Dave,

Another excellent report and different as well. I have looked at the particular school where you are learning your TEFL and it looks nice.

Could you tell me if the class rooms and rooms where you work are airconditioned or not, also what do your wear is it a shirt and tie.

Has it been hard to get yourself in to the frame of mind to work in such a place?

Appreciate any answers and good luck with the rest of your program.

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Great report! As an individual that's been accepted to this course but waiting for the right time to punch-out of my current job, I really appreciate the feedback.

The news about the U. of Washington's agreement to recognize the Course for credit is also very important. Gives TEFL Int. the credibility it deserves.

Do the rooms have television, or is there a public television room?

Are you mentally drained at the end of the day from the classroom routine, and is it difficult to do the homework after all-day classes / teaching?


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There our also an innumerable supply of dogs, cats, and the ever present gecko's which always seem to find their way into my room....

Look out for snakes as well Dave - I had a long green fucker sitting on my curtain rail one night, I saw more snakes in Ban Phe than in all my time in Thailand!

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Excellent reporting Dave...I'm just lapping the s^%$ up!


PS...Why would bottled water be giving someone urinary problems?

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Hey Dave...actually I have a few questions...one of my concerns when taking the course is how well they prepare you for "the move" back into Thai society and teaching. That is, helping you to get the better job now that you have the certificate. Are they starting to discuss this now? Or do they wait for the last few days?

Also, just curious, but when does your visa run out...and if it's a "one month visa"...does the school help you to get that extended...or give advise on "visa runs" and such stuff?

Will they help you in finding apartments in Bangkok?

Will their "alumni" help you out?

These questions , I hope, will be answered by the time you leave...I'm just curious if the school makes it a point to answer them early or later...

For me, that information is just as important as the schooling...

thanks Dave,


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Thanks for all the questions and feedback.

I'll try to answer all of your questions here (at least ones I've seen and remembered...sorry if I leave anyone out)

We have air-conditioned classrooms, and we dress casually...except when we teach at Thai schools. Then we do need a shirt and tie. It is easy to get in a learning frame of mind because there are so few distractions.

There is a common tv with full cable, but the Thia staff is usually watching it. I haven't watched much myself, but I did break down for "Buffy" and "The West Wing" (which always make me pine for an American government which actually cared about it's people...sigh)

Haven't seen any snakes yet, but thanks for putting the thought in my head. (I'm sure it'll be of comfort on the long, dark walk home.)

Sammy, regarding job prep...

I expect there will be more to come but we have had a one hour meeting regarding the types of jobs available with their pro's and cons and Dave (the head teacher) was joined by a recent alumnus to discuss the current situation. There is also a large notebook filled with ads from different schools and Dave says he'll sit with me and chart out a route for me to take when I'm hunting for interviews. They do have a relationship with AUA, and I think it'd be easy to get a job there. NO apartment help that I know of, and while they do encourage graduates to keep in touch, I don't know if any program exists for that.

Hope I got most of ya. Keep the questions and stuff coming, and I'll be back in a few days with the story of week 2.

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Oops, I forgot to answer about the ater and visa runs.

The bottled watch in question is a local brand which seemingly uses a poor filtering system. The local water is very poor (which is obvious from the smell when you shower)

They don't help with the visa run per se, but they do have an information packet about it which includes an itenerary and price schedule should you want to go yourself, and another if you want to use a company to do it for you. I have a 60 day double entry, so I won't have to worry about a visa run for another 2 months.

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I'd suggest getting a 60 day visa as Dave has. The nearest immigration office is on some industrial estate outside Rayong it's only open Monday - Friday and is a real pain to get to. As the course runs one month, you'd have to either go during class-time or extend it for 10 days after the course finishes, the two month would save all the bother.

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