The Art of Teaching

I’m well into my third week of my TEFL course now and it’s hard to believe that the course will be finished in just a week!  I have learned so much in such a short time and have a new appreciation for the work that goes into teaching.  I’ve always been a huge proponent of education and had great respect for teachers, but never knew how much preparation went into sometime as short as a 45-minute lesson.  Everyone in the program spends 4+ hours on the development of our lesson plans and then even more time actually writing and planning out details.  We’ve been told that it only gets easier, thank God!  One of our course teachers said that his first year of teaching it took him forever to plan anything, but every year it got easier.  What use to take him 2+ hours now takes him about 10 minutes. He has so many resources and such an advanced gauge of how students at different levels process information. Hopefully I’ll develop similar abilities with time…

In addition to our 2-4 lessons a day we each teach twice a week. One group teaches Wed/Fri. and the other Tues./Thurs.  The first two weeks I was in the Wed/Fri group, but I’ve switched to the Tues./Thurs. section for the final two weeks. Thus far I’ve taught Elementary, Intermediate and Upper-Intermediate classes.  Every class has been unique and rewarding, but I think the upper-intermediate group has been my favorite.

In addition to the rotation of groups, we also get the opportunity to plan and execute a variety of different lessons.  I’ve taught reading, listening, speaking, writing and grammar. I enjoy the reading and speaking activities the most and absolutely abhor the grammar sections.  I do have to admit though that my grammar has improved a bit and the lessons we’ve had on it weren’t as bad as I anticipated.  I’ve found that as long as you have some context with your grammar it tends to go over easier, i.e. a story students can pull examples out of or a video clip that shows a specific tense or form.  Next Thursday we have our big final exam/grammar test so I’ll be spending a good deal of time this next week learning even more about things like past perfect, 3rd conditional and future perfect simple…sounds exhilarating doesn’t it!

Teaching has been much more challenging, but much more rewarding than I ever imagined.  I still can’t imagine a job that I’d love more than the job I had at Northeastern (I still miss it terribly!), but I think teaching will be an invaluable way to see education from a new perspective.  I’ve been on the administration side of schools for the past four years and am curious about the faculty perspective.  I’ve started to search for jobs in Berlin, but haven’t had any luck yet.  I’m hoping to send out many more resumes this weekend and hopefully I’ll get a bite soon.  I’m going to try and not worry too much though, but rather enjoy the rest of my time here in Prague with my lovely classmates and teachers!  Weekend here we come!

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