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Alex’s Story

Why did you choose Live TEFL when you were choosing a TEFL course?

Our family friend, Sara, completed Live TEFL two years ago and recommended it to me. Without her, I wouldn’t have known such a qualification existed.

What made you want to change your life and take a TEFL program?

It has always been easier for me to express myself in English. During my studies, I noticed that when most people were struggling with the language, they came to me for help. Not long after, I also became an instructor at a camp that focuses on teaching children English. During the camp I realised how much I like teaching the language and being able to see the students’ progress, however, I was not officially qualified to teach.

Were you afraid to take a step into the unknown and start a new career? Did you have any doubts? What helped you overcome your fears?

Although I am a social person and like challenging myself, I was afraid of being the youngest in the group or not being able to speak English as well as the native English speakers. I didn’t doubt myself and my abilities in completing the course, because I am very hardworking and strive to achieve whatever I put my mind to. However, I do have stage fright and get nervous speaking or performing in front of a bigger crowd, therefore, I was a bit hesitant about the teaching practices. I noticed that in comparison with my first peer teaching lesson, where I got nervous and it had an impact on the students’ perception about me and my abilities as a teacher, with more teaching practices, I felt that I had grown more confident.

What were the best and worst moments of your TEFL course?

When it comes to the best moment of the TEFL course, the feeling of accomplishment and joy once you complete and obtain your TEFL certificate is indescribable. However, being able to celebrate the accomplishment with people that had become my friends over the few weeks of the course and be given the opportunity to teach with them made me feel more confident and happy that I belong somewhere.

I cannot particularly remember any “worst” moments during the TEFL course, nevertheless, there were a few mistakes I made during the teaching practices; miscalculating the time when I was supposed to end my lesson and ended up finishing the lesson 15 minutes early or due to being sick I wore a comfortable top and did not realise it was not so appropriate for a teacher. On the other hand, these minor inconveniences helped me progress and helped me address each flaw gradually and improve my performance as whole by the end of the course.

How did you feel after finishing TEFL?

I felt accomplished, happy and proud of myself for completing the course. It definitely was worth the hard work.

Did your expectations from the course differ from the actual reality of it? Did you think it would be easier/harder, did you have all the info…?

During the interview, participants of the TEFL course are warned beforehand that it is an intensive course, I do not think many of us believed it. I did expect the course to be challenging, but not as challenging, intensive and time-consuming as it was. Undoubtedly, I thought it would be easier. On the other hand, we did receive all information and were fully aware of the up-coming challenges and tasks that were in front of us.

What is it like to be an English teacher? Is it what you expected?

I enjoy many things about teaching. From interacting with the students and seeing them progress in the language, to seeing them finding the topics interesting and gradually letting down their guards and letting me to get to know them properly. Being an English teacher takes responsibility and reliability, but it is also entertaining and fulfilling.

Despite some students making it hard for the teachers to teach, there will be some that will prove to you that it was worth the effort. Not only do the students develop, you realize that you also develop as a teacher. Importantly, without a doubt, seeing their progress and improvement is a fantastic feeling and truthfully, the best achievement.

What do you like the most about life in Prague/the Czech Republic/Europe?

Although I am a local and was born and raised in Prague, travelling around Europe, and getting to see a variety of different picturesque cities, I still believe that Prague is the most beautiful and breath-taking city I have ever been to. Not only are there many forests, parks and lakes further away from the city centre, you will always find smaller gardens, lakes and parks and wine-yards  in the city centre. Getting around the city is easy as well, thanks to a diversity of transportation; trams, trains, underground, buses, e-bikes and e-scooters or UBER. Everything in the city centre is so close to each other, it is also a short walking distance to wherever you want to go. Another aspect, which is to love about Prague, is the diversification of entertainment and events, nightlife, galleries and museums, landmarks and wine tasting cellars. The history is preserved and reflected in the soul of the old town, where it is particularly beautiful during the winter with the Christmas markets and ice-rings, which are placed around the city.

Prague, no doubt, is the most astonishing city I have ever seen, not only culture-wise, but also from its tradition and the medieval atmosphere from the landmarks built by King Charles IV.

When it comes to travelling, the Czech Republic is located in the heart of Europe, therefore, it does not take long to travel to a different country. It takes approximately 4 hours to get to Berlin or Vienna from Prague by train.

In what aspect did your life change the most?

Participating in the TEFL course has helped me to mature and become more observant in terms of needs of each individual. Also, my self-confidence and self worth have grown, because I achieved something which none of my peers did.  I feel that my life is more fulfilled as I enjoy teaching

What would you recommend to someone who is now considering taking a TEFL course in Prague and teaching English in Europe? Do you have any advice for them?

There are three pieces of advice I would like to give to future TEFL students.

Firstly, the description about “Live TEFL” being an intensive course is by no means an exaggeration. The course will be on your mind when you wake up in the morning and go to bed at night and the reflection essays, lesson plans, unknown journals and learner profile will be haunting you in your dreams. Do not take any extra activities during the duration of the course, otherwise, you will feel under pressure.

Secondly, get everything essential and necessary for your stay in Prague sorted out as soon as possible. Do not leave it until the last minute.

Czech students are a bit harder to teach, especially if you do not speak their language. Since primary school, they are taught grammar so intensively, they will be able to tell you the rules when you wake them up at midnight, however, when it comes to conversation, they will not speak or their debate will last for thirty seconds. Although they would like to speak, they are afraid of making mistakes. Warm them up and reassure them that making mistakes is a part of learning and improving.

Lastly, enjoy it. You have been given a great opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and explore beyond your boundaries. Do not let it go to waste.

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