Published 24th October 2016
Are you thinking about being a TEFL teacher but not sure if you want to take the plunge? Are you a bit sceptical of all the awesome stories you hear about teaching EFL? Ever wondered what it’s really like to be a TEFL teacher?
To allay any fears and satisfy your curiosity, here we take a peek into the average day of a TEFL teacher teaching English to adults in a language school in Bangkok.
6am: Wake up. Make my way to the taxi stand, picking up a breakfast of pork kebabs and sticky rice on the way. (I actually order something else but they clearly don’t understand me, so I just take what they give me – and they are delicious! Note to self: must go back to my Thai lessons.)
6.30am: Jump on a motorbike taxi to dodge the traffic and get to the Skytrain. Sit in the freezing aircon of the Skytrain for the 12 stops until I get to the school area. Sweat profusely as I walk the last few blocks to school.
7.30am: Say hello to colleagues; make the first of many cups of tea. Wait in the queue for the photocopier to make copies for my first lesson.
8.45am: Go to my classroom to make sure all the technology is working. Chat politely to the student who arrives early (there’s always one).
9.10am: Finally get the lesson started once all the stragglers have arrived. Today we’re practising the contrast between the present perfect and the past simple so the students draw a map of the world and tell each other where they’ve been and what they did while they were there. Travelling is my favourite topic to talk about; all my students have so much to say!
10.30am: End of the lesson. Go to the staff room for more tea. Wait in the queue for the photocopier.
11am: The second class of the day is a new class. Only one student turns up so it ends up being a 1-to-1 class. I do the same lesson as prepared but adapt it and because it doesn’t take as long with one student, spend some time on speaking, focussing on aspects of pronunciation and errors. Even though I am not usually that keen on 1-to-1 lessons, they end up being really interesting because you get to know your student so well.
12.30pm: Lunchtime. Have lunch in the staffroom with other teachers. Catch up on school gossip.
1.15pm: Make another cup of tea.
1.30pm: Do a conversation lesson with 20 students. Spend the hour chatting about secrets, which results in some really interesting conversations. Find out that Miguel used to be a policeman, and Jinny was once on South Korea’s Got Talent!
2:30pm. End of the day. Faff around in the staffroom, filling in the paperwork for the day and preparing for tomorrow’s lessons.
4pm: Take a slow walk to the Skytrain, happily sit in the aircon and catch another motorbike taxi to my door. Try not to think about my lessons for the rest of the evening and instead daydream about my weekend trip to the beautiful island of Koh Chang.