Hi, I just started teaching English at a private language school in Spain. I have a TEFL certificate, but no experience other than that.
I had a brief orientative meeting with the director the Friday before beginning to teach and I left kind of confused. He then went directly to the mountains where the school is running a summer camp for children, which I will be teaching at eventually for 2 weeks.
I am the only teacher at the actual school now and the only other person there is the receptionist. All the books they have are at least 10 years old (I shouldn't complain, I'm sure other people don't even have that!) and I suppose I am expected to use these books, but photocopy them. When I came for the interview at the beginning I asked what method they used to teach. Well the director said they have a book explaining everything. However, now that I am teaching, this book is "lost".
My question is this: how much support can I normally expect from a language school? I feel like I'm not even sure what they want me to teach the students. I've been poring over the textbooks they have, as well as looking on the internet for this information (e.g., what is appropriate for low intermediate, etc), and it is taking me hours to plan my lessons. I have asked the receptionist if I can talk to the director twice and she acts like I'm asking her to move mountains.
One class I am teaching is an intermediate class, but it is very mixed. One student is preparing for the TOEFL, which I am expected to help her with, even though I don't know much about actually preparing for it. Another student is preparing for the Selectividad in English (this is the test all high schoolers in Spain take in order to get into university). The third student has a much lower level than the other two. So, not only do I have a very mixed-level class but I have to figure out how to teach to these different students' objectives.
In addition, this school does not use a written placement test, apparently the director just interviews the students. Since he is gone they were asking me the first day to give placement tests without any explanation in how to do them. I kind of understand that now, but don't agree with only doing it orally. (when I first came to spain it was to go to a private language school to learn spanish. my spoken level was beginner and my written level was high intermediate!)
I am very frustrated and really want to quit. Do you have any advice? Talking to the director the two times on the phone has helped some, but am I asking for too much by saying I need more help??
p.s. You wrote the following in response to a previous post with the title of 'The difference between?'
"The needs of learners of English as a second language are different to the needs of learners of English as a foreign language. I think that in the USA, this distinction does not exist."
What do you mean by this? I did my TEFL course in the US, and of course we talked about the different needs of EFL vs ESL learners because these differences DO exist and it is good to be aware of them when teaching. Students who study English in the US are learning it as their second language, whereas in non English speaking countries it is a foreign language.