Wednesday, 31 October 2012

ITTP Prague October Monthly Guest Writer: Holiday Eng

(Click on photo to enlarge)

For this month's Guest Writer we asked Holiday, a new member to the ITTP teaching Team, to see if she wouldn't mind jotting down a few thoughts about an average teaching day as this is one of the more common questions which TEFL newbies interested in coming to teach in Prague do ask us. Here is Holiday's article unedited and we just want to say a big THANK YOU Holiday for taking the time to submit.

A Day in the Life of an English Teacher in Prague

I tried to pin down an average day for you, a day that would be perfectly normal and exemplary of not only my experience, but the experience of other expat-teachers.
And of course that perfect day doesn’t exist.
My schedule is different from the schedule of my colleague who teaches preschoolers, from the schedule of my colleague who works with just one language company, and from the schedule of many other teachers besides.
But, well, this is what’s great about teaching here in Prague – there are enough opportunities that if you work hard, are patient, and have a bit of luck, you can mold your schedule to what works best for you.
For me, I teach mostly adults and do mostly conversational courses with various companies and private students. This is definitely something I enjoy, as it allows me to speak to many different, fascinating people all week, as well as learn a huge variety interesting details about Czech life.
So, on to what I deem to be my ‘average’ day.
I wake up early – 7am most days, except for the occasional class which causes me to wake up at 6:30 or so.
After the usual morning-getting-ready-routine, I slip out of my flat and down to the metro for my first class. Today it happens to be with a private student at a coffee shop, 8am. For an hour we do a mixture of practicing conversation and book work – he’s studying for the FCE (First Certificate in English), so today we go through clothing vocabulary and the more complex details of comparatives.
I have an hour and a half break before my next class, so I leisurely walk over to the tram stop and ride it across the bridge, back to Prague 2.
Before class with my next student I go over my lesson plan, making sure I know the ins and outs of our listening-focused lesson. During our 90 minute class we discuss the US election, strategies for his upcoming work meetings (which are in English), and then work on understanding a radio news story from NPR (his specific interest is in trying to understand the American accent better).
I take notes on what he wants to do next lesson then grab lunch and head back over the river to my next couple lessons.
From 1pm until 3:20, I teach three one-on-one conversational lessons back to back at a company. Today we’re working on a big presentation that two of my students are doing together – in English, of course. With the third we discuss various topics throughout the hour, with part of the lesson devoted to reviewing prepositions.
I, on purpose, left myself a small break of 2 hours here so I can go home, grab a snack, catch up on some emails, and lesson plan for the next week.
My last lesson for the day is for an hour at 6pm at another coffee shop. My private student is interested in increasing her vocabulary and fluency, so we read a current news article from the Prague Post, focusing on the new words and discussing how the issues apply to the lives of Czech citizens and foreigners.
I’m done for the day! Since it was definitely a longer one, I head home to eat dinner and relax in the evening. I also might decide to end the day by having a chat with a friend at a pub, or if it’s summer, enjoy a beer in one of the great beer gardens overlooking all of Prague.
And there you have it – an example of an average day of teaching in Prague….or at least a possible average day :)


Holiday Eng can be contacted through email: holiday [at]