Wednesday, 15 February 2017

A Warning About Teaching in the Czech Republic

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The following post is from Ella L., a guest blogger. She taught in Korea, went to the Czech Republic and is now back in Korea. You might also be interested in reading, Stories from an EFL ClassroomWhat are your stories?

Some months ago, i thought the grass was greener on the other side in Europe. I had a job offer in the Czech Republic, and thinking it was the offer of a lifetime, flew to Europe. However, what I got was less than what I expected thanks to a broken contract, unhelpful bosses, and theft.

First, the contract was broken as soon as I had landed. I was told that the contract was invalidated at the immigrations office and so had arrived there with no legal documents to support me. I wound up being paid less than half of the promised salary and had to use online teaching to support myself.

Second, the bosses there didn't help with anything. They made me pay for everything, never got me a refrigerator, and expected me to do my visa by myself, which was nigh impossible to do. They also did not pay for insurance, and expected me to cover it.

Third, I had some items stolen from me. My son, who is nearly 2 years old, had some toys taken from him. I had a couple of valuables taken from me at the bus terminal. It broke my trust in humanity that a nanny could steal toys from a child they had cared for.

I don't feel that Europe is the place to go anymore. You might find yourself having difficulty getting the work visa, spending a lot of money, having your items stolen from you, and find yourself struggling if you're not paid enough. Asia provides jobs with living wages and the people are more helpful, so I recommend going there.

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Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Stories from an EFL Classroom

The following post is from Maria D., a guest blogger.

Being an English teacher in Korea can be a thankless job. The hours are long, vacation is short and cultural boundaries can be intimidating and annoying. But the thing that keeps me teaching are the students. Watching them progress is rewarding, but they also provide ample entertainment in the classroom. Here are my favorite stories!

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1. I was teaching a class of middle schoolers. One of them absolutely loved attention and constantly disrupted the class to get attention. I told him, “If you’re going to act like you’re in kindergarten, you can sit on the floor like in kindergarten.” So, he sat on the floor for the rest of the lesson and quietened down. At the end, when I gave him permission to stand up, he stretched up, then started rubbing his rear, and said, “Teacher! My ass!”

Other disruptions included, “Teacher! He said he cut my pen-is!” and “Teacher, what does ‘wasted’ mean?” He was never boring.

2. I got engaged and had a nice diamond ring to prove it. Often, my partner would pick me up outside the school. One of my other middle school students proceeded to say, “Oh! Teacher, boyfriend handsome!” then held my hand and slid my ring off, then wore it herself. I pretended I was going to fight her then took the ring back.

3. The fifth graders were learning body parts, and the expression, “I hurt my [body part].” When students were lining up to leave, one of the boys walked around to each student, pointed to his crotch and thrust, then said, “I hurt my penis! I hurt my penis! I hurt my penis!”

4. For some ridiculous reason, a middle schooler thought it would be a great idea to bring her 3 tiny pet fish to school in a water bottle. I put it to the side on my desk. Two of the students started play fighting then fell onto the bottle, breaking it apart and suddenly there were three flapping, traumatized fish on the floor and a bunch of screaming middle schoolers. I had to pick up the little things and place them in the remains of the water bottle.

5. And last, but not least, one of the most adorable students I had was a chubby cheeked first grader. She told me about her pet hamster named, “Pudding-ee!” I confirmed with her, “Pudding-y?” and she replied, “No, no, no, teacher… Pudding… EEEEEEEEEEEE!”

These moments are what make teaching worth it, for me. What are your stories?

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