Recently just read a post from an i-to-i intern at the office in Leeds and it really sums up what Chalkboard is all about.
If you haven't read the post, here's the link - "Let Chalkboard Change Your Life!"
I was interesting to read that the number 1, or top priority, of why you should use 'Chalkbaord' is to come and find help or even ask for help when you are stuck on your TEFL course.
This baffled me because there are endless of books out there on TEFL, CELTA, grammar etc. Along with countless websites with TEFL suggestions, lessons plans, explanations etc. She does write that you can go to a 'Group' page and ask for help, but serious, does any one actually do that.
In my, almost, 2 years of being on chalkboard I know for a fact that most people rarely go and check out the group section for help - why bother when you can post a blog with the title "HELP!" etc.
If i-to-i were at all serious about offering better support towards those people that seem to struggle on the TEFL course (regardless of the endless amount of knowledge on the website - i think most people are just too lazy to do the research), then i-to-i would either create another site OR another 'tab' called TEFL HELP!!!
You can have each check point listed, with more examples, suggestions etc - if people get stuck they can go to the section they need.
I know some people get stuck, you can get a mind block, it happens, but this site has become so annoying to use.
Originally it was a site to go to, to read about peoples experiences IN OTHER COUNTRIES. You could ask questions in the groups about interviews, schools, students, experiences. Or seek out new friends who are in or going to the country your interested in. It was a fun place to be.
BUT now, every other post is about the dismal experience of people doing their course "YAY! Today I passed check point 1...i wonder where this will lead to...i'm so excited...i just made myself a cup of tea and about to start the next check point...wow! this only took me 35mins, how long did it take you!"... OR ... "Help! im stuck on check point 5... i dont know what to write...please help me...its my last attempt...can you check my answers!"
Even worst are the posts "Hey, i wanna teech english in sum other country. gimme sum advice pleeze. I aint got a degree but dunt matter rite"
Just to put into perspective - today i long on to find 9 out of 15 of the popular posts are about the TEFL course - some asking for help, some informing us of their progress.
Basically, what i am requesting - is either a different 'tab' to put all the TEFL course stuff in OR a different website - or even better would be a site that is specially for talking about experiences in other countries, as teachers etc - i want to read about my friends in thailand, how the internships are in china, what people are doing in korea...these should be my popular feeds
i'm tired of reading about the tefl course...it's not that difficult!
(On a slightly different note, relating to TEFL in Japan - a lot of companies are starting to be put off by the i-to-i course because many people are being passed, coming to japan and not really having the knowledge they should have from a TEFL course... at the same time, many people are complaining to Interac because Interac never called them...according to the i-to-i website you will get a phone call interview by do the TEFL course with them...Interac specifically said they do not guarantee this regardless of what company you do the TEFL course with...to sum up, as i feared and mentioned a while ago, i-to-i TEFL is not as highly recognised as it was before due to people passing so easily when clearly they shouldn't pass - the truth is "Teaching is NOT for everyone"...you learn this on CELTA the hard way by failing and being £1000-£2000 less in the pocket)