Teaching at times is a thankless job. It can make or break a person and many good teachers leave the profession due to the never-ending torrent of stress that comes their way. The system will chew you up and spit you out and another will take your place. Here is a personal story from a guest blogger, that maybe you can relate to. Continue reading “Am I cut out for the job? “
Guest blogging for us is André Hedlund with his inspirational story about teaching in Brazil and why being a teacher is so important.
My name is André Hedlund and I’m a teacher. But I’m not just a teacher. I’m an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teacher in the country that currently holds the 63rd position in science skills, 59th in reading, and 66th in mathematics according to OECD’s PISA survey. These numbers would alone be bad, considering that there are almost 200 sovereign nations in the world, however, they’re even more disastrous when we realize that only 70 nations were assessed. I live in Brazil and I am certainly not proud of my country’s current educational status. Now, if you are reading this, after you finish, take a few moments to check where your country stands and answer yourself the following question: “Am I proud of my country’s position?” If you’re not, I hope my text will help you find the strength to pursue your mission of changing that scenario. If you are, I hope my text will make you realize how much you can contribute to the world’s teaching community and help peers become transformation agents.
I posted a blog several months ago about this interesting topic. I hadn’t read anything about it beforehand or been asked to write by someone championing the cause, I had simply seen it in Spain, everywhere I looked, and felt that it was not right. Why should my partner, who is a far better teacher than me, not get a job but I should because of my nationality? It baffled me, after all, ‘teachers are made not born’, but apparently I had serendipitously been born in the right place and been afforded unworthy privilege as a result.
I have been following this topic for several months now, since I published my article, and although just a small time, in the grand 60 years of discrimination that has taken place, I have in fact learnt several things about the topic and I feel I should share them:
After the minor success of our blog; we decided that we wanted to start a Facebook Group where people can post their blogs, whether they are established ones or new ones, about EFL teaching as well as teaching resources. It would be a great place for people to start discussions and ask questions about working as an EFL teacher. We want to read your blogs and we want them all in one place. We don’t have many members yet (….7) but we thought it’d be worth a try. Here’s the link enjoy! (There are no cookies)
There are many many websites that you can browse to find the perfect TEFL job, however the sheer amount can at times be overwhelming and what may be the perfect job can descend into a nightmare quite fast. Making sure you pick the right job is make or break for any teacher and sometimes the adverts, and what you get when you arrive in your destination, can be vastly different. All jobs come with a danger of not meeting expectations but having some knowledge of what to look for and what to avoid may just be the difference between walking into a disaster and walking into a damn good time.
My most obvious piece of advice is don’t let where you want to go cloud your judgement. I’ve heard it so many times: Continue reading “5 things to watch out for when looking at EFL job advertisements.”
Before I came to Spain I only had a vague knowledge of conversation classes and it was not a point that was really focussed on during my CELTA. However after arriving in Spain i soon realised how popular they were and all the problems that can come with this interesting concept of solely speaking for an entire lesson.
I’m not entirely sure where this idea of everyone must have a conversation class comes from , as improvement in all areas of language is valuable and as the skills are interlinked it seems in my opinion quite strange to focus and be obsessed only with one. I can’t see a conversation class being effective for anyone under B2 level (free to disagree). Below this level, speaking can be incorporated into any lesson and specific focus on pronunciation and fluency can also be done here. For higher levels a conversation has the benefit of focussing purely on speaking for the whole class time and within that you can focus on very specific student speaking problem1s or the more wider overall fluency and it gives students enough time to switch their minds into English mode and really test what they know and how they can express themselves.
Either way, in Spain (and most of Europe) you will be asked to do them so here are some pointers that might help you. Some are common sense and some might just make the difference between a successful class and unsuccessful one. Continue reading “Conversation classes 101”
The classic tête-à-tête. The first formal meeting between employer and potential employee. They are a fundamental part of the recruitment process for any EFL teacher and can also be quite nerve-racking. Especially when the job is in a place you really want to go. Through my experiences of doing interviews for positions in Spain, Italy, Malta and England I hope to put together some questions that you should definitely ask during the interview. And I’ve had it all, from why are you asking so many questions, to why aren’t you asking enough, to even… I don’t want to answer that. Well, with some decorum and respect you can ask these questions below and, hopefully, it will help you get a better picture of what you are stepping into and, like the once bitten twice shy teacher that I am, you can avoid the trap of working for the kings of this pyramid scheme we call EFL. (a term from a comment on a previous blog I wrote that still makes me chuckle). Continue reading “EFL Interviews- The questions I like to ask”