Lesson 3: Teaching English in Prague is Challenging but Rewarding!!!
Yep. I found a teaching opportunity in the beautiful city of Prague. It took less than two weeks. I sent my resume to three schools and got responses from two very quickly. I went for the meeting (because it was not an interview) and I was hired at a school in a great location near metro stop Namesti Republiky, basically the center of Old Town in Prague 1.
The job was to pick up a variety classes that fit into my schedule adults (1-on-1), online, company course. However, it was summer and there were several summer intense English classes available. These classes required teaching teenagers visiting from Russia and various other countries for 2 hours to 5.5 hours a day. I decided to take the challenge of teaching the teens. Many of the teachers at the school wished me luck, this couldn’t be a good sign, but I went into my first class a bit nervous but optimistic.
The students who were mostly Russian teenagers were not excited about my first lesson. After the first 30 minutes, I started to notice I was losing their interest and their attention and I still had 1.5 hours left to teach.
It had been a few years since my last teaching adventure teaching mostly adults but I know what I did wrong.
Why my first lesson failed:
- Although I had a decent lead-in, my introduction was not interesting
- I underestimated their English level
- My lesson plan was too easy and therefore too short and I had no back up lessons/worksheets with me.
- I’m sure I was not radiating confidence
I made it through this lesson with games and grammar review and a deck of cards (Old Maid) but I was upset with myself. How could I have been so unprepared?? The students deserved more. I decided to be better–could I be worse?? I didn’t think so.
My plan to be a better:
- Lesson plan, lesson plan, lesson plan- with preparation came confidence.
- Bring interesting tangible items into the classroom to help with the lessons (yep, I made a trip to Ikea!!)
- I decided to have fun and not be so serious, the students were essentially on a summer English learning holiday in Prague, I needed to lighten up (idiom).
- Learn from the experienced. I decided I needed the Young Learners Certification offered by The Language House, a great TEFL school, located in Prague.
- Learned from YLT, a bit of competition is great for keeping their attention.
My plan worked. I became a teacher I would like to have but I didn’t achieve perfection. There were still some classes where is was necessary to take phones and a student would test my nerves (ps. it really stinks when you can’t speak the students L1/first language) but I started to enjoy teaching all the teenagers. And by July, I had a group that I absolutely adored teaching!!