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seeking advice about TEFL schools (Caledonian specifically)
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jshogan11



Joined: 19 Jan 2005
Posts: 4
Location: California, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2005 8:57 pm    Post subject: seeking advice about TEFL schools (Caledonian specifically) Reply with quote

Hey folks-

just looking for adivce from anyone...

I am planning a move to Prague in the coming months. I considered enrolling in a TEFL course and then searching for a job once in the CR. I have since decided that I would rather find a program where I can complete my TEFL training and be automatically placed with a job guarantee. I came across the Caledonian school and began to correspond with the secretary. She assured me of the details and things were going well until I found some disheartening stories about the school online.

Does anyone else have a RECENT opinion about the Caledonian school and their current state of affairs? Are they still having problems? So far, it is the only school I have found with a job guarantee (with a pass- 90% pass rate) and decent price. I also read that the TEFL certificate they offer is not as good as some others. I am wary of moving overseas if am not assured of a job, due to my financial situation.

Any thoughts and advice are appreciated.

Thanks,
Jon
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Christina0924



Joined: 20 Jan 2005
Posts: 5
Location: MN

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2005 10:55 pm    Post subject: TEFL in Prague Reply with quote

I am looking for the same information as Jon so if someone could provide some information, that would be great!

Jon, When are you planning to go?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9318
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2005 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are several good basic TEFL courses in Prague. You might check out TEFLWorldwide also.
But, in terms of moving to Prague and having work right away, here's the scoop. First of all, EU citizens are being given priority in hiring already, although it is still possible to get a work permit for non-EU citizens, providing you're willing to jump through all the hoops. Also, there is a LOT of competition for jobs in Prague. After all, with all the programs in the city, there are literally a hundred newly-certified teachers hitting the streets every six or eight weeks.
That said, if you are really motivated to work in the city, you should be able to find somthing within a reasonable period of time, like two to six weeks, depending on the time of year. It's not impossible at all, but it's usually NOT instant.
The bottom line is that you shouldn't really consider moving overseas to ANY location without a reasonable financial cushion. The worst scenes I've encountered in my eight years in the field are seeing teachers stranded without resources because of a couple of minor setbacks, begging bucks from their friends or family......
You should be aware that if you rent an apartment in Prague, for example, the landlord will want two months rent up front: one month as deposit, and the first month in advance. Schools generally do not begin paying until you have taught the first month, so you can't count on any income right away. And you'll have expenses: travel passes, telephone arrangements, etc. Food is not necessarily super cheap. You'll want enough cushion to be able to have a fairly free mind about all this.
So, the best course of action is to be sure you have two or three thousand dollars in reserve, and to KEEP it in reserve - don't go if that's all you've got to pay for your course and live on too. It's better to wait, save up, and go when you be reasonably sure you're going to be safe. That's true for ANY location; just that the amount of money you will need might vary from location to location. I'm giving you my estimate of a safe cushion for the CZ.
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jshogan11



Joined: 19 Jan 2005
Posts: 4
Location: California, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2005 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral-

thanks for the info...it is helpful.
are you familair with any programs that offer a job within the school where you take the TEFL course? caledonian is one but ive heard some bad things (some good also) and they are slow to respond to emails. like you said, a lot of people are hitting the streets looking for jobs over there, which is why i liked the caledonian 'teach where you train' job guarantee. is that too good to be true or are there other places that have similar offers?
also, are you familiar with the different types of TEFL certifications? if so, whats the difference and why. thanks again.

christina-

i am planning to go as soon as i find a good place to take my TEFL course, get my $ together, and book a flight- probably a month or two. my good friend moved there in mid december to start a sales job and we'll be looking to get a place. what are your plans?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9318
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2005 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First, check the Caledonian job guarantee. The last time I spoke to them, they guaranteed jobs to successful grads with one of their schools, but not necessarily in Prague. Brno and other locations are nice, too, but if you specifically want to be in Prague, they may not be able to guarantee you a position there. If you decide to go with their program, be sure to clarify this issue.
Via Lingua used to hire some of their own grads, but I don't know of any other training schools that do this. Via Lingua's no longer got a Prague location.

Generally, training schools do not also run language schools. They are really two separate businesses, and it takes a lot of admin staff and etc. to try to cover both.

Currently, I'd recommend TEFLWordlwide for a good, solid, well-run training course. They have a network of contacts at language schools, and can help give you some direction regarding finding a job. This is what most programs offer.

After all, the language schools overall want to see a candidate standing in their offices, business dress on, CV in hand, looking professional and reliable, and ready to teach a demo lesson. In the real world, it's up to you!!

The basic issue, again, is that Prague is a highly desirable location for teachers. There is a lot of competition. You can find a job, but you should really count on being without income for a MINIMUM of two months: one month for your course. Then, even if you get a job the next day, you won't be paid until the end of the first thirty days. Realistically, you should budget for THREE MONTHS living expenses, and upfront apartment rental costs (unless, in your case, you'll be able to share with your friend).

As for me, I moved to Prague in 1998. I taught for two different schools there, then worked for a teacher training program. My spouse is Czech, and though we are living outside the country now, we have a place there and I am in the CZ for four or five months every year. I maintain a lot of contacts in the country, including language and teacher training schools. We plan to return to the CZ to live full time within the next few years, so it's useful for me to stay in close contact.
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jshogan11



Joined: 19 Jan 2005
Posts: 4
Location: California, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2005 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks....your advice has been quite helpful.

ill correspond with Caledonian again to check on the job guarantee. thier long delay in email responses is troubling...


a few more quick questions for you-

i have a lot of experience teaching in the states; math tutoring, educational jobs, etc. will this be helpful in getting a position once i complete my TEFL course? i know it can't hurt, but do you think it will give me much of a leg up on the competition? since theres so much competition it would be nice to know how much (if at all) previous education and work experiecne will play into finding a good TEFL position.

thanks again, i apprecaite your willingness to answer my questions.

regards,
Jon
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9318
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2005 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Be sure to emphasize your previous experience on your CV, particularly if you can get some brief letters of recommendation. In Prague, they are looking for reliability, and the fact that you've been a responsible teacher in the past should certainly help you.

I can also say guardedly that it matters a bit about your appearance. I know that's not politically correct, but generally Europeans dress more formally than North Americans for work, and if you LOOK professional, you'll get further. It's understood that, as you likely be traveling around the city to businesses to teach, you will need walking shoes or other comfortable footwear, but if you are a guy, a sports jacket or two will be useful, and a decent shirt. A tie's not really needed except for job interviews. For women, nice trousers and a blazer will be fine. Black jeans might be ok sometimes, but regular blue jeans, especially faded, won't help you professionally there....
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Czenglish



Joined: 12 Mar 2003
Posts: 14
Location: Czech Rep.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 11:15 am    Post subject: politically correct? Reply with quote

why is it not politically correct to look professional for a job interview? what's more for a job where you will most likely be going in and out of companies on a daily basis.....
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Czenglish



Joined: 12 Mar 2003
Posts: 14
Location: Czech Rep.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 11:32 am    Post subject: politically correct 2 Reply with quote

or did you mean that it's not politically correct to put all Europeans into one bag?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9318
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I meant that North Americans occasionally take offense at the suggestion that teaching requires 'business casual' dress as opposed to beloved jeans and t-shirts. An amazing number of trainees on courses show up to do practice teaching with real students in extremely casual clothing - and it's a point that sometimes really has to be made openly. I don't think it's because people wish to be disrespectful; they just don't realize sometimes. Maybe their high school and uni teachers worked in jeans and sweats?
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Czenglish



Joined: 12 Mar 2003
Posts: 14
Location: Czech Rep.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 3:13 pm    Post subject: pedant... Reply with quote

sorry, I was just being pedantic...... Smile I guess what you meant was that it's not politically correct to require employees to have a certain physical appearance (full set of limbs, organs, aryan, etc), and I agree.
But regulating somebody's attire for the purposes of work has nothing to do with political correctness in my book.

Mr. Czenglish, write out 100 times:
I must not be so pedantic in future
I must not be so pedantic in future
I must not be so pedantic in future
I must not be so pedantic in future
I must not be so pedantic in future
ad infinitum....
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9318
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're forgiven. I tend to be pedantic myself..........but try to restrain myself (most of the time).
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Fud



Joined: 01 Mar 2005
Posts: 27
Location: Khon Kaen, Thailand

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2005 3:39 pm    Post subject: In defense of jeans! Reply with quote

Personally, I find nothing wrong with wearing a NICE pair of jeans (non-tapered, no holes) along with a button-up shirt and a pair of loafers. I don't know what the business world's obsession with khakis and slacks is. You can look nice in jeans AND feel comfortable, and that makes you teach a lesson that much better, methinks!
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9318
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, and would wear nice jeans with a blazer to work - but only after I've worked there for a little time and ascertained that it will not appear to be disrespectful.

And, the point above was made in light of job interviews - where I wouldn't personally take the risk!

Are you in the CZ? If so, you're aware that business dress there is still relatively more formal than in North America, for example. Especially when interviewing, much better to be safe than sorry -
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Fud



Joined: 01 Mar 2005
Posts: 27
Location: Khon Kaen, Thailand

PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, not in CZ, in Spain. I think my problem is that when we all wear khakis, there's little to differientiate from. I own nice jeans and nice khakis, and could put on the same blue shirt with either. I would probably look nice and professional in either, but somehow the khankis are the more professional look. Personally, I think jeans offer a more contemporary look that fits a teacher mold, but could just be me...

Back home, in Washington, DC, I worked for a bit at this high-powered lawyers office, wher I had to wear a Tool Costume. Soon after I started working at non-profit where I got exercise "business causal:" Jeans and the button-up!

And you know what? I got a lot more done in jeans...
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