TEFL Certification Day 2: Orientation

After taking one last Sunday afternoon to sleep in, a few of us headed off in search of a place to purchase some work clothes. I’ve been backpacking since January so I didn’t bring along professional clothes for the classroom. There is no place to purchase anything in Ban Phe but I was assured from the trainer that on Tuesday they will be taking us into Rayong to go to a proper mall to pick up slacks and a couple of shirts.

Orientation started at 4pm where the rest of the students met. There are 7 students total all from different walks of life coming for different reasons. One of the British guys, Dan, has already been teaching English in South Korea for 2 years and is getting his certification so he can get higher paying jobs. It is nice to see this because it assures me that this isn’t just a piece of paper but a means at which to find more competitive jobs. He says the money in South Korea is incredible. Housing is paid for and the salary is about $2,000 USD per month in which 3/4’s of that can be saved if you spend your money wisely. I have no real desire to live and work in South Korea but it is good to know that if money ever becomes an issue or I decide I want to come home, I can do a 1-2 year contract in Korea and save up enough money to do whatever I want to next.

There is one other American, one Kiwi (New Zealander), 3 British and 1 South African in the course this month. This is the last month that the course will be held at this specific location so that explains the lack of upkeep in the building. Both instructors are American, with the head trainer being of Colombian decent. He has an impressive resume and has been teaching for 5 years. He has worked at the University of Tokyo and taught at schools in Indonesia and Colombia, both locations that are on my radar for eventual teaching jobs. The only problem with the head trainer is that he is a graduate of the “U.” He made fun of USF with in the first few seconds of meeting me. I’ll have to get my Hurricane bashing in at some point.

The course is 4 weeks long with the first week being about the fundamentals of 2nd language acquisition. By Thursday we’ll be observing our trainers teach one of the modules to Thai students. By the 2nd week we’ll be teaching each other and by the 3rd we will start to teach Thai students in their classrooms.

Orientation was pretty typical with laying down the ground rules. Focus is very important in Thailand and the trainer made it clear that without focus there would be no passing. There are plenty of distractions in Thailand, especially since we’re in a beautiful beach side town. I think I’ll be fine as long as I get my assignments done right away before venturing out anywhere. There is a beautiful island (Ko Samet) just across the straits that is tempting to visit but it will probably have to wait till after the course.

We already received our first homework assignment which was a pretty heavy reading about teaching methods with a few study questions to answer. There was no easing into the course as it doesn’t even officially begin till tomorrow and I already found myself sweating through boring material. Hey, but I need this, it’s time to learn again and I couldn’t be more excited!

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