A Turkish TEFL Adventure: Interview With Richard, Part 2

Richard, who had quite an adventure working in Turkey, was able to come away from it all bearing some advice:

On TEFL Certificates: The CELTA he did in Istanbul after a year of teaching was excellent because it was a hands-on, practical course with a lot of teaching practice and observation. He worries that, regarding online courses, “Theory and practice are worlds apart” and recommends attaining an MA to get out of the “private language school rut.”

On checking out your potential employer: “Talk to someone who currently works there before starting a job – at least ask for an email! If they won’t give you one, it’s a problem.”

And: it is a good sign (not to mention a useful practice) when a school has regular observations; being observed and observing other teachers, both more and less experienced ones, can really inform your teaching.

Finally, Richard identifies a few issues that could be considered “universal” TEFL concerns.

  • “As few teachers stay anywhere long enough to become fluent in the local language, you’re always having to rely on people you don’t really know or understand to help you with a lot of aspects of day-to-day life.”
  • “The number of hours on your contract has little to do with how much time you spend at work. Split shifts are common, probably the norm. My 18 hours per week in Hiroshima typically involved starting at 9AM (or even 7:30) and finishing at 9PM. I spent up to four hours per day traveling between assignments to boot.”

Stay tuned to the TEFL Logue for more on this topic of universal TEFL issues.