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Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) International - Phuket Thailand
This article is a reflection of my experience with TEFL. I have provided some helpful tips for someone who is considering taking TEFL but is unsure of where to go and who to take it with. It was an amazing experience and I would do it again.
TEFL International in Phuket Thailand was quite an experience. I arrived for the August class of 2020. There were about 28 students, all different ages and from many places in the world. Mostly from the USA and the UK. Some of us had accommodation in the school we studied in while others stayed in the hotel up the road. I stayed in the school. The school doesn't have air-con, so it was hot many times, but we were provided with fans. We were also on a busy road so it was very noisy in the mornings and at night sometimes. The one thing I liked the most about living in the school was the computers were located right outside of my door and I could use them anytime.
The staff at TEFL I have to say were great. The main coordinator was always there to help and he showed he truly cared about what was going on with the students. There were four TEFL trainers, two from the USA and two from the UK. The trainers did everything they could to help us out if we needed it. They were caring and understanding. Each was very helpful in teaching the students how to teach a proper English class.
When classes began we started at nine-thirty each morning. We would switch between two teachers who would teach grammar, phonetics and tenses, so we were not sitting listening for an extended period of time, usually moving around and getting breaks in between. Most of us were nervous because we were unsure about how to teach grammar, phonetics and tenses and were concerned we would do poorly in this area of the exam. Once we practiced our lessons each day it became a lot easier and the fear of not knowing went away. Some of the classes were a bit tedious because grammar, phonetics and tenses can take a long time to get through, but all and all I really learned about each one and would be able to teach my own class what I learned.
The third day of the course we were each assigned to teach a lesson. We would have a break for lunch and some of us would be teaching that evening. The trainers gave us the lessons we were suppose to teach, and then it was our job to create a lesson plan. The trainers closely monitored the lesson planning and they advised us if we were doing a correct job. At the end of each lesson that was taught we had a feedback report from the trainers telling us how we did and what we should improve on. TEFL provided the local Thai people with free English courses taught by the students. It was free for them because the tuition we paid covered the cost of the classes. The students were split into pairs and each class was split in half by time and we would teach about two different lessons. Beginning to teach was very nerve racking, but it was the only way any of us would know how to teach a class. The English classes for Thai people would start at 6:30pm or at 8:30pm and would last for approximately one hour.
Since the school was split in half usually we would teach every other day and have the weekends off. After all of my studying and attending classes I ended up with a 92% on our three-hour written exam (you only need a 75% to pass the course). It was the major part of the course and you needed to pass the exam in order to get the TEFL certification.
If I had to take the course over again I would definitely do it and I will tell you why: First I met some really amazing people. There were a few people that I met in which I will probably talk to for the rest of my life as we shared a really rewarding experience together. We were living together for four weeks so there was a lot of time to get to know one another, which was really great. We would eat, shop, study and hang out together everyday.
The map of Phuket is a little deceiving in that it appears TEFL International is right on the coast and we could be at the beach within a matter of minutes. The closest beach was about twenty to twenty-five minutes away by tuk-tuk. It wasn't so bad, but you had to plan going there since there were always evening classes to be taught.
Thailand is very cheap; you can bargain with everyone and usually get the price you are looking for. The food is also very cheap and some of the best food I have ever had. I loved the food and will continue to purchase Thai food wherever I can find it in the world. Also, there is a western restaurant very close to the school within walking distance with very good food for those home-sick cravings.
TEFL is located in Phuket town. Phuket town is not a very nice place to live long-term, but it is tolerable during the course. If you are planning to live and teach in Phuket after the course completion, I would suggest living somewhere closer to the coast. Visiting the beaches is the best way to see what you will like best. I'm happy to say I took a TEFL course, it was very fun and I learned something from it. I learned how to teach and I learned to improve my public speaking skills, which will help in the future with my career. Taking this course is a great way to travel and a great way to learn how to teach anywhere in the world depending on your nationality.