I occasionally skip through the forum on teaching to see what is happening and see what advice is being sought. I often question whether posts are genuine or if I'm learning what exactly a 'troll' is. I wonder if there would be any interest in a kind of open forum/presidential debate style with representatives from the various training organizations making their pitch. I'm more than happy to pitch for OxfordTEFL as I reckon we have a great course/package which other schools can't match. Any interest in this?
Hi David, I believe a forum is a great idea. Although I am not affiliated with any schools, I have been seeking information regarding teaching English in Prague and seem to be getting conflicting information. I have found that there is a blacklist of schools to avoid, but many of the posts are outdated. I also located a website: TEFL Course Review which has been very helpful and up-to-date, if you can believe that the posts are from actual students. The site did help me from making a huge mistake as I was seriously considering a school that did not fair well in the review posted on TEFL CR, and on other sites as well. I just read on another blog that the teaching English profession in Prague is saturated which means less jobs, less money, etc. I would like some honest answers concerning this. Thank you!
The best bet you can do is get a list of graduates from course providers. Most graduates of a program are happy to share their experiences on and off the course. It's pretty easy to do, just contact a course provider and ask for a list of the their last couple classes or something. It's hard to check the credibility of posters on forums regardless of where you go. With social networking sites, it's a lot easier to see if people are real or not. So my advice is to get a list of contacts and contact them on facebook. It's an easy way to determine if you are chatting with a genuine person or not. In terms of saturation, the market is way more saturated than it used to be. However, the work is out there. Both you and the school just have to make more of an effort to connect you with employers. The advantage of taking a course in Prague is that the level of teaching and expectations are high. All of the courses in the city I would imagine have to strive to create good graduates. That's different than taking a course in the states for example where a lot of the graduates never actually teach - thus the actual hands on training is not at the same level. Is there are guarantee that you'll find work? No there is not and anyone that tells you this is being dishonest. If you put the effort in, work hard, take advantage of opportunities, the work is out there though. Also remember that if worse does come to worst, the certs that schools offer in the city can be used almost anywhere and at anytime worldwide. Is teaching abroad in Prague or anywhere for that matter a good career choice forever? Probably not, but I can't think of a better way to spend at least a few years doing it. You'll have the greatest experience of your life and you'll learn more about yourself, the people around you and the world than you would have ever thought possible. Cheers, Chris TLH TEFL
Thank you, Chris. Your message was upbeat and stated exactly why I looked into teaching abroad in the first place. And, thank you for the affiramtion that particular schools offer certificates that are recognized worldwide; it is knowledge that I have uncovered in my search, and it is extremely important information to know. My next job is to discern which schools in Prague offer these certifications. I appreciate your time... Cheers to you! Carla USA, Florida
Hi Carla, IĀ“d go along with most of what Chris says. ItĀ“s definitely a good idea to try to get real contacts. You mentioned the TEFLCourse Review website which I wasnĀ“t even aware of until some trainees last month said it was weird that we didnĀ“t have a review thereĀ of course they put some up and now we suddenly have 4, but it does show the frailties of such sites. Why does a course end up having reviews? IĀ“m sure we can up our numbers of reviews on a monthly basis simply by asking our trainees each month to rank us. IĀ“ve also always wondered when I see comments such as āX is definitely the best course in Pragueā. Is there somebody out there who has taken them all? ThatĀ“s the person to ask about where to take the course As Chris says, you will do a lot of hard work, and get a lot out of the course wherever you do it. All the courses strive to provide quality training and a quality experience. Not all the courses provide an independently validated course (as far as I know there are only Trinity and Cambridge courses are externally moderated through a university, but I stand to be corrected). Not all of the courses are in the centre of Prague. ThatĀ“s my sales pitch as thatĀ“s exactly what we offer. Regarding the āsaturationĀ“ question, I donĀ“t feel that things have really changed over the past 7 or 8 years since I returned to Prague. There is always work available. There are times when there is a glut and trainees on the course have 3 job offers before they have even graduated. There are other times when more legwork has to be done and maybe you need to take part time jobs with different schools. It slightly disagree with Chris on whether teaching is a good career choice. ItĀ“s not a good career choice if you want to get rich and own two cars, but thatĀ“s not the be all and end all for everybody. Most people donĀ“t actually take a TEFL course with the intention of it becoming a career anyway. ItĀ“s a way to live abroad and work before returning home with (mostly positive) experiences. Some use it as a springboard to stay abroad, but move into a different field (I know people who have stayed in Prague, but moved from teaching into journalism, web marketing, HR manager for a multinational, jewellery designer, greenpeace representative, tour guide, etc.). For others it can represent a career, either a career they can take around the globe, or like me, unwittingly stumbling into something they enjoy doing in a place they want to be.
Wow, thanks David! Your information is invaluable, and I agree that 'location' is very important especially when living in Prague for the first time. I wasn't aware that a TEFL course (and teaching experience thereafter) could help move you into other opportunities, as you stated. The overall experience in itself is worth the time, money and energy, but to know that it could open doors to other venues makes it all the more exciting. Thank you for taking the time to write. Oxford is definitely at the top of my list!