Difficult situation

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Difficult situation

Unread postby CelticAlbion » 28 Jul 2012, 11:06


Apologies if this isn't in the right forum.

Last year, I started my first volunteer TEFL job, teaching in South East Asian. The role involved teaching college age students (18+) and I was allowed to design my own work plan for the students and it was hoped i'd be able to develop some sort of regular curriculum for the college to use for other TEFL teaching volunteers.

Before I joined, I advised them, i'd never taught before and the company advised it wasn't a problem as there was going to be another TEFL teacher going as well as myself. So we could work together.

Sadly, that didn't happen and I went there alone.

Going alone wasn't an issue, but trying to implement what I wanted to do in terms of a curriculum was a problem.

I was left alone with a class of students who struggled to understand what I was saying and no teacher from the college sat in my lessons to help assist or translate and eventually,a lot of students stopped attending my classes except the ones who's English was quite advanced.

This meant I struggled to implement what I wanted to do for the college and I got very annoyed that the teachers didn't care enough to help the students use the opportunity to work with a native speaker. Everyday I would go to class and only a few students would turn up, it was really a disappointment.

The next problem came because I wanted to take a week off to see some of the country and I had a massive fall out with the college principle because he didn't want me to go alone for a week. I know he was just trying to show concern, but we fell out because his bottom line was, you can't go alone, you're a woman and my bottom line was, i'm going, i'll be back in a week.

As this was my first teaching abroad experience, it's really put me off going abroad again for some time. But now I feel i'm perhaps ready to try again. But I'm unsure what to do about putting this on my CV. Because I left on bad terms, I'm not sure putting the college down on my CV would be a good idea, on the other hand, that is the only teaching experience I've got.

Does anyone have any advice on how to get around this? and does anyone have any recommendations on countries to teach in? I was considering China next, if anyone has any stories about China, i'd love to hear about them.

Thanks in advance,


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Re: Difficult situation

Unread postby Elissa » 30 Jul 2012, 07:12

You shouldn't have been left to do that without training! I'm a certified teacher but designing a whole syllabus would have stretched me as a first role! Unless you are given training, this is exactly the situation I'd expect to happen. Unfortunately, a lot of places in Asia will hire you to simply be a foreign face so they can tell prospective students/parents they have a foreign taught program in place. Their interest stops once the money has changed hands.

I would put it on as experience anyway. I have been involved in recruitment at my current school for a year and most places in China do not look past the fact you have experience. The only time other schools have been contacted was if the candidate was still at the school and that's because the new school has to verify the candidate has 'release' papers. (ie: can legally transfer their documents to another school).

Depending on what you want, China can be great and it can be awful. It is a very different culture, their approach to private education is greatly different to that in the west and depending on where you go the hours can be long and tiring. If you give me some idea of the age you'd like to teach or the area you'd like to go on, I can probably give you more specific advice!

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