After going through a TEFL training program, I was able to land a job at IJV. This was, (and still is), one of the best opportunities that I have ever had. My whole life had shifted 180 degrees and that different/exciting lifestyle I was looking for had arrived. The staff at IJV took me under their wing and helped me become a better, more experienced teacher. As an English teacher in Prague, you tend to hear lots of “horror” stories about language schools that hire new teachers and then leave them on their own with no support or guidance. This is not the case at IJV.
There are many different things that IJV does for their new teachers. They start teachers off with a very reasonable class load and explain each textbook that will be used during the course. You are able to attend more experienced teachers’ classes for peer observation which allows the chance to see firsthand how a class is taught. Besides this, workshops are also held each month at IJV that cover a different topic each time. Topics vary from “different and fun ways to teach grammar,” “useful tips on teaching Elementary classes,” and “teaching English exams such as the FCE and PET.” All of these workshops are very helpful because it not only gives you new ideas to use in your classes, but it also gets all of the English teachers in one room to brainstorm and work with each other.
Although working in IJV is great, one of my favorite parts of the job is teaching company courses. Teaching a company course can be quite different then the public courses at IJV. Company courses tend to be much smaller than classes at IJV. You can have anywhere from 1-5 students (usually) in the company classes and it allows you to get to know your students better. Not only can you become more comfortable with the students, but you are also able to really work in-depth with them. These smaller classes’ lets you recognize in detail what problems the students have and give you the chance to focus on those areas. For me however, the best part about teaching company courses is the travel. Most jobs I’ve had in the past were in an office where I sat at a desk for 9 hours and I hated that. Company courses allow the chance to go all over Prague to different offices and buildings. You get to meet so many new and interesting people as well as see other parts of Prague besides Old and New Town.
All in all, my experiences in Prague and working as an English teacher at IJV have more than exceeded my expectations. When I first came to this country I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it as a teacher. I had no previous experience teaching before my training program and I didn’t really know anything about the Czech people or language. However, over the last six months, IJV has helped to craft and mold me into a confident language teacher. It’s a partnership that is made up of hard work, dedication and support between one another. It’s reassuring to know I work for a school that generally cares for me and my future as a language teacher. I’m happy I didn’t turn out to be another one of those “teaching horror stories” that you hear about from other people.