Our class of eleven students is now down to five, literally dwindling by the hour as more of us head to the bus station and far-flung teaching billets. We’ve all graduated, even the two of us who have not taken the final exam, so this week is basically ‘filler’.
Monday’s class was three hours long and was largely an anecdotal lecture for the students that are leaving to teach in the few days. Topics covered were similar in nature to what was covered in the first two days of the course: classroom management, attendance taking, rules of a school, how to keep records on your students, introducing yourself to other teachers, how to get assistance, how to find the bathroom, printer, books, etc. It made more sense to have this information now that we’ve received instruction on teaching and have been to a school for a few days. The information was in context and certainly more immediately relevant for those departing.
There were stories about how to and how NOT to act in your town once you get settled. There was a lot of advice dispensed on how to get tutoring jobs, how to solicit students, what to charge, what materials to use, and how to find English camps. This was very helpful for those that will be out there seeking additional income via private lessons.
There was some good advice provided within the framework of TEFL that everyone benefitted from as well. Cap’n Jack rolled through a large number of games to play with students; he gave overviews on the biggest stumbling blocks teachers have when new to the classroom setting like talking too fast, not pausing enough for students to digest the material, keys to maintaining a high level of patience with the students, how to anticipate problems with a lesson plan in advance, and types and styles of questions to ask students.
Tuesday’s class is another filler. There is good information, but it’s definitely just passing time. It’s become sonewhat clear that there never was a lesson plan for this week and that Entrust’s strategy all along was to have students shipping out and ‘graduating’ early.
Not to be misunderstood, the five of us that are left in class still received good information through our discussions today. Jack reviewed with us some games and activities we already know and gave us a few more. In total, we discussed about 25 activities that can be used in a classroom or English Camp setting. Each are potentially powerful weapons in the teacher’s arsenal.
We also reviewed basic English grammar. It’s remedial stuff, but none of us remember all of it from primary school, so there is value in it. Having said that, its also not a part of the normal teaching curriculum of a TEFL teacher in Thailand to teach the names ‘indefinite article’ or ‘past participle’; it is important that we can teach the students how to properly use them in the right situations.
I continue to be sad as one by one the class gets smaller and smaller. And as one of two that aren’t leaving Chiang Mai, I get the horrible pleasure of saying goodbye to all of them.
Wednesday had us getting together for a very short class, we start at 9:30 and have two presentations that were assigned to us as homework. John, Marina, and Jolandi have been teamed up and I am partnered with Mathieu. We presented “how to teach TEFL in Thailand”.
John, Marina, and Jolandi put on a skit demonstrating the differences between two TEFL students, one that takes the program seriously, one that doesn’t. It was quite funny and entertaining, especially when Jo sings and did some kind of nifty hand-jive with a glass and John danced like Michael Jackson.
Our presentation pretends that Mathieu and I are opening ‘Matt & Mike’s Discount TEFL Institute’ in Thailand. We discuss our strategies and show our first television commercial featuring elements like our proprietary methodology: Be enthusiastic, Use Language Lesson plans to Seek Happiness In Teaching. (note the acronym for our ‘BULLSHIT’ methodology). Our presentation got much raunchier, but I’ll spare you from that.
Mathieu is off to a job interview – good luck! Marina is off to take an English proficiency exam (as a South African, she is not considered a native-speaker of English by the Thailand Ministry of Education and some schools). Jolandi is off searching for a job. As is Nico.
Our class size actually grew today as we have a special (return) guest in our classroom…Nico. Yep, he’s back after only 48 hours. His posting in Bangkok turned out to be a bust…a complete lack of planning and poor customer service left him with a very bad taste in his mouth (but more on this in a future post).
So, class is over, we are done. John and Marina ship off tomorrow…another goodbye (or “see you soon”).
Those who left for jobs after two weeks of training spent 50.75 hours in the classroom (42% of the prescribed TEFL standard)
Those who stayed in training until the end (five of us) spent 54.5 hours in the classroom (46% of the prescribed TEFL standard)
So, the class winds down with no fanfare; we’ve already passed our final exams (those of us that have taken them), and the class size has dwindled. I enjoyed the actual learning time and loved the time with the children. Most of all, I loved my classmates.