I thought I would answer some commonly asked questions some of you have emailed me about......hope this helps!!
How did I find out about TEFL?
I initially wanted to teach GCSE/A-level Psychology (I have a Psychology degree) and so had put in my application during my second world trip but found out after two months in that I hadn't got a place. I was talking to a guy in Buenos Aires in Argentina about it and he suggested doing a TEFL course. My first thought was TEFAL haha. So I made a note of it and 6 months later when I got home I looked into it and decided teaching + travel (two passions of mine) = happy Jenn!!
How did I find i-to-i? and what did I think of my course?
I did the 140 combined i-to-i course because I thought I haven't a clue what I'm doing so the biggest course will give me the most information and training and I'm glad I did! I found them by just googling TEFL online, I looked at a few companies but i-to-i seemed to have the best deals and best support, i.e chalkboard etc so I decided to go with them.
What do you think about the course you did?
I was very very happy with my course. The teachers that marked my assignments gave really good, detailed feedback and were on hand if I needed advice or was unsure. Chalkboard was very handy in that it was easy to find other people in your situation and help each other. I did the weekend course and the advanced weekend course, both of which were very useful and enjoyable. I was so nervous but the teachers James and Amelia made it a lot less scary than you think it's going to be. I still speak to Amelia now! So the support isn't just for when you're doing the course.
Where did you get your TEFL job?
I found my job through Footprints Recruiting who are in Vancouver, Canada, although there are lots of recruitment companies out there. They are a brilliant recruitment company, always answering my late night emails! Dave and the South Korea team are fabulous! My application - from getting all my documents together to booking my ticket - took about 2 months in total, so very quick. But the service was again brilliant, they answered all my questions and there's lots of great advice about each country on their website. Things like getting there to what to pack!
What do you think of Korea so far?
Honestly.....so far Korea has been good and bad. The first week was the hardest as obviously it's a new country, you dont know anyone and you have no phone/internet/tv for comfort. But I searched my area in Facebook and within a day had 10 new friends. Everyone has been in the same boat so they're all very friendly. I dont know about Seoul but there's a good teacher community down here in Ulsan. Just search for them on FB and you'll find them. The best advice, once you know where you'll be going, would be to get talking to people as soon as possible and then at least you'll know some people when you get here. I met one girl on Chalkboard as it happens and then found out I had the job in Ulsan (same as her) so I knew her when I got here :) although she lives 20 mins away it was reasurring that at least I knew someone, and she gave me LOADS of advice on what would happen when I got there.
Did you get any training?
I haven't....yet....but I came out in November and I wasn't with EPIK so that maybe why. I teach high school where as most other people teach middle or elementary. I thought high school would be harder but it's actually better as their English is quite good so you can have talks with them which is fun. I have heard that if you're coming out with EPIK you'll have orientation so you'll get to meet other teachers there.
How soon did you start teaching?
I teach high school students which is new out here so I literally landed on Friday and had my first class my Monday so was thrown in the deep end. BUT the students were so excited about my arrival I could have taught them anything and they'd be happy! I only see the class once a week so I just do one lesson plan and amend it for different abilities, otherwise I'd be doing loads of lesson plans! For my first lesson I did an introduction about myself, my family, my hometown etc for the first week while I planned the next one, which was fine. They had lots of questions so don't worry that you'll have nothing to say :)
What is the school like? I've heard bad things about some places.
Granted, it is possible to get a run down school. My school has only been open 3 years so it's all new and shiny. But some teachers are in old schools with dull walls. Just remember that you can get the students to draw posters to brighten the place up! Fun for them and less dreary for you! The teachers at my school have been incredible! The lent me a bike to get to and from school as I got horribly lost on the bus one day - I caught the wrong one. The co-teachers are all lovely and so excited to meet a native speaker, probably more so than the kids! The kids are so excited they literally say Hi to you every 5 minutes or come up to you to talk and practice their English (the girls giggle but that's just nerves lol). Check out my video for the welcome I got in my first week of classes.
OK I think i have answered all questions.....If you have any more please email me and i will try to answer them as best I can!
Be sure to watch the videos I have uploaded too!
:D Jenn x
PS Here are some links that may help:
Finding teachers on Facebook (Just type "English teachers in" and then your country. Once you know your area in that country look for them:
A place to meet other teachers in your area, ask advice on teaching, get lesson plans etc: http://www.waygook.org/
If you have any questions that I haven't answered above please post them below and I will do my best to respond. I am going to be writing a post on what to expect once you have your contract (this is Korea specific but may help anyway) so if you have any questions about Korea please email me! :D
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