Well we did it, we graduated!! Taking the TEFL course felt like it should have been a semester long endevour and since it was squeezed into a month it was super difficult. We each had two teaching practices a week, which were normally 45 minute long classes. Everyone had to do one 90 minute lesson as well. We taught to two different model classes pre-intermediate and upper-intermediate. We dealt with difficult students. Each morning, we had workshops from 9 to 12:15. There were two different workshop topics during that time. Then we had a lunch break from 12:15 to 1:30. Every Friday we had one workshop and then a Czech language lesson. Each afternoon (besides Fridays) we had between 1 and 3 teaching practices with each of the groups of students. When the TPs (teaching practices) were over, we gave peer feedback and got feedback from our observers as well, and then got our grades. We had about 7 assignments due throughout the course of the month, all requiring extensive research, effort, and time.
But I could never, ever complain about the amount of work that we had to do in the last month. I went in knowing very very little about teaching using Communicative Language Teaching methods, and knowing even less about the way Czech learners expect to be taught. The past month as been a mind expanding 30 days, filled with stresses, successes, and personal growth.
Over the next week, we will send out our CVs to various language schools, get a few interviews, find a place to live besides the TEFL house, and hopefully get hired! But until then, we finally have time to explore this beautiful world around us.
Friday after our Czech lesson, we went to a nearby restaurant with the course coordinators and our head teacher for our graduation ceremony. There we all chatted over drinks and ordered some delicious food. Before the food came, we got our TEFL certificates. Wow, what a feeling to open up the certificate and know that all the hard work payed off. It was fun to be able to sit around a table with our instructor and finally have a laid back atmosphere with the other trainees. We all enjoyed ourselves and the food was amazing! (Payed for by the school, too!)
Then we headed back to the the house and for the first time in a month, I had the feeling that I didn’t know what to do with myself. I literally paced the bedroom wondering what the next step should be. Finally, at around 7 our fellow trainees started to wander down to the communal table and the festivities began. We had a fun night of card games, beer, and music, all with one underlying theme – we graduated!!
The end of the night lingered on, as we knew it was our last with Bijoya, who would be heading back to Switzerland. My eyes were opened to a whole world of language learning that had been Bijoya, a native Bengali speaker’s, life for so long. I thought to myself, I can’t wait to get better at Czech.
Well the night finally ended and Saturday began. We wanted to make the most of the day. We woke up early to get ready and bid farewell to two of our roommates that were heading back to The States. As they hopped in their taxi, we told them we would see them in a month when they came back to Prague. One will be one of our future roommates.
Then we headed to the TV Tower, a huge futuristic tower covered in crawling babies. The view of the city was great. Because the tower was in Prague 3, we could look on to all of the famous sights in the city that we had seen.
There were three different observation rooms, and one even had couches and weird hanging globe chairs that had speakers playing outdoor noises in them. It was so relaxing to just sit and stare out at the city.
Afterwards, we headed back towards the city center and checked out the love locks wall and the Lennon wall. The love locks wall is a tradition where lovers put a padlock on a bridge and throw away the key. We didn’t put a lock on, but hey, maybe next time.
Then we saw the famous Lennon Wall. There was a man playing guitar there – mostly Beatles/John Lennon Songs. The wall had been white washed about a month ago, but it was already almost completely re-covered. When the group of art students white washed it to symbolize the new things the wall can stand for now in the post-communist era they wrote “WALL IS OVER” but some of the graffiti artists had already whited-out the L and and fixed it to say “war is over.” Seeing the wall, I felt so much history and emotion I actually was brought to tears. It was a very inspirational place. I highly recommend it.
To end our day full of adventure, we walked down to an island park that we had been eyeing from the Charles Bridge for some time now. It was a nice park with sandy playgrounds and plenty of benches to sit and enjoy the view.
I was so thankful that the course ended and that we had some time to explore this beautiful city that is really starting to feel like home!!