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TEFL Int'l EXPOSED!!! wk 3 by itsmedave


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I must first apologise for the lateness of this edition. Much has happened this past week...including my getting a job, and with the end of the course coming up, time to write here has been scarce. That said, let me get into week 3.

As mentioned before, the Ban Phe high school schedule of holidays rearranged our planned agenda of events and we had to make new plans for Monday and Tuesday.

On Monday, Dave Hopkins gave us 5 hours of Business English, which included much of what you might teach in corporate classes. Interesting stuff it was, but with only five hours to learn about an entire class of teaching, all I came out with was that I wasn't ready to do this right away without some additional experience with it. This business English study is normally not in the class at all unless you pay Dave to teach it after the normal course has completed.

Then, thanks to my, and other classmates suggestions, they held another 90 minute workshop on how to write your resume and where to look for work. In it, they gave us a map which noted the schools on the skytrain line, their contact info, and whatever information they had on them. As I have said, my main reasons for taking the course, were that: A/ I could get a job, and B/ once I had the job, I'd do it well. This job getting info then was, in my opinion, one of the most important 90 minutes of the class altogether. Also on the plus side: No Homework!!!

Tuesday, Bruce, our fearless leader himself, came in to teach us about teaching young learners...which he defined as anybody who wasn't yet able to read. This was fun and interesting, but, as it seems to have a lot of similarity to babysitting...I think I'll pass.

Whether or not my issues about Steve lecturing us had any impact, he has, thus far, never led our class again without Dave being in the room to back him up. Steve, if you read this, I hope I'm not hurting your feelings, but at this time I believe we were better off this way.

We got out a bit early Tuesday, and I used the time to put together my resume. Through a computer literate classmate, I managed to attach a picture to the resume and send it out to 4 e-mails from ads in the Bangkok Post. By the next day, I'd have three reply's. I decided to go to Bangkok that weekend to start the job hunt, and maybe check out apartments.

On Wednesday, our classtime schedule changed from a 9am start to an 8 am start, which it would remain for the rest of the course. This was so we could leave via a very crowded songtoew to get to the high school in time to begin teaching at 8:30. This first day, all we were to do was watch as three teachers, Dave, Steve, and Erica each took a one hour turn teaching a class. We would then fill out observation reports on them. Learned several things this day: Students get to school at 7am so they can stand by the flagpole in uniform and listen to various speeches, songs, and moral messages for an hour and a half; shoes are not to be worn in the classrooms; the classrooms are NOT air-conditioned (making for some very sweaty teachers); 3 of the floor rooms we'd teach in had no desks or chairs, meaning we'd be getting up and down from the floor to communicate with the students; and Thai students are adorable in every way...but can be extremely rough, hitting each other wildly much of the time.


All three of the teachers did a good job with the students, but, surprisingly, it was Steve who seemed to have the best control and keep the students the most interested of the three. It was good to see.

That afternoon, and every afternoon to follow, would be given up for us to write out our lesson plan and get materials together for the next days lesson. Our first teaching day, Thursday, would be shared teaching, with 2 of us working together with the class. My partner and I decided to keep things as simple as possible to make it as easy as we could to keep our first experience with a full class from ending in disaster. And together, we did quite well.

By Friday, I had 2 job interviews lined up for the following day, but I first had to teach my first class on my own. Also, I was given the video classroom, meaning there would be nobody to supervise the session but the cameraman. Whether this was done as a show of confidence in my abilities or just dumb luck I don't know, but being I was also the first one on the day, I was a touch nervous.

Not too much though, because, with all of my theatre experience to guide me, I'm used to talking in front of people. The hour went by quickly and successfully. While, as I was sure would happen my artwork left a good deal to be desired, my rapport with the students was very good, and they grasped the ideas I was trying to show them. We had fun together.

Our schedule for the last 6 days of class would be the same, teaching from 8:30 to noon (50 min teaching, 3 hours observing classmates...which really means sitting in the back filling out work for your next class) then preparing for the next lesson and getting feedback from the teachers until you were done. Knowing how bad I am at art, (and that no matter how hard I tried it wouldn't get much better) I spent comparatively little time on this aspect compared to the hours spent by others drawing the cutest little pictures of stuff I couldn't do given days. Instead, I made copies of pictures from books, and rummaged through piles of cards made out by former students to get my stuff together. For some of my classmates, the cards themselves would do most of the teaching. For me, though, I was gonna have to do it myself.

Next...the job hunt in Bangkok. and the final week of classes.

Please write with questions, likes, dislikes, and the rest. Look forward to hearing from you.

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When you flew out I take it you only had a one way ticket.

I have booked with Eva on a one way and will have a 60 day visa.

On another post I heard that some airlines do not let you bored with a one way only.

Also how do you intend to get your one year visa ?

The school states that most people go to Penang, do you have to get a job offer first ?

How are you going with the Apartment hunting, the BKK post ads are a bit frightening on the cost front.

Thanks for all the info.


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First, congrats on getting a job! Can't wait to hear what the details are on that and hearing your interview experiences.

It's obvious that things are very hectic right now, but we really appreciate you taking the time to write these reports. It is absolutely invaluable.

Thanks again,

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Thanks again for another excellent report. This series of posts is without doubt the most useful I have ever come across on this board, it's going to be absolutely invaluable to me and I'm sure a lot of others.

The job-hunting final report is going to be the one we're all waiting for. Let's hope they keep that 90 minute resume and jobhunting workshop on the agenda!

I would also echo Kevan's visa questions, I would assume you need a work permit to get the one year visa, and hence a job?

Great news you've got a job already, what would a realistic wage be for a newly-qualified TEFL graduate? I don't expect you to tell us what your own wage is but what could I expect?



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They post on their site that they teach you Thai. Do they? What does that consist of?

Actually I'm more interested in their Thai cookery lessons, (no bullshit), and wonder if you have taken them up on the opportunity to learn how to cook roaches.


Yeah, interesting report by the way. Just feeling a little jealous at the moment. I'm thinking of getting in touch with John Pilger to do an expose on the working conditions of first world office wallahs... the horror... the horror.

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Thanks for the comments everybody. I just arrived in Bangkok today and MOVED INTO MY NEW APARTMENT!!!, so I'm way too bushed to type out week four today. Hopefully, I'll be able to get it done tomorrow.

Anywho, in answer to some of your questions. No air-con in high school rooms = sweat (and plenty of it) Otherwise a great place to get your feet wet. (not to mention your clothes and the chair you're sitting in)

Regarding the extra sessions that TEFL offers...

They don't really try to teach you Thai. You spend about 6 hours learning certain phrases in Thai (plus homework and study time) These phrases are of your choosing, and it's more to give you the feeling of what it's like to be a beginning language learner than to actually teach you Thai. Still, I did learn a few important terms and now I know my numbers, which has come in incredibly handy.

The cooking class and trip to Koh Samet are weekend activities for which you may choose to do if you wish (for a small additional fee) I did not partake of either because the Ban Phe area was the LAST place I wanted to spend my weekends (I'm a city boy at heart) Still those who did take the cooking class raved about it afterwards, although Erica said that when it was over that if she ever even thought about eating again she would explode like the dude from the Meaning of Life.

I will get into all the salary stuff in the next part of the report when I get to the job hunting section (and, yes, I'll even tell you what I'll be making!!!) so hang on for that at a later time.

Looking forward to seeing all of you ex-pats at the dance contest next week. (secretly hoping somebody buys me a beer) For my part, I start teaching Monday.


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