The Oxford TEFL Blog

Prague Graduate Interview: Hannah Kollef

Oxford TEFL Prague! I love you! 

 

That’s what I’d really like to say, and I think it sums my thoughts up accurately. I took the Trinity Cert. TESOL course in January 2013, and I’m so glad I chose the winter to begin my studies. Our January class was an intimate group. I made amazingly tight friendships with the other seven people in my class, all of whom I am still very close with today. After graduating, I ended up living with two of them for the next year and a half, and I think it’s safe to say that was the best year of my life thus far.

 

As for Prague itself…can you fall in love with a city? Is that a creepy question? I don’t care, I’m happy to admit it, loud and proud–I love Prague. I love her old buildings, and the weird architectural quirks hidden behind the baroque and gothic facades (have a look in Cinema Lucerna for the recreated St. Wenceslas statue–I’m sure it’s the only place in the world to have an upside-down metal horse and right-side-up rider suspended from the ceiling). During the course I loved living next to the Most Legiibridge, a stone’s throw from the castle and the famous Charles Bridge. Afterwards, I loved my apartment near Jiriho Z Podebrad, stopping by the farmer’s market on my way home from work, anticipating what I’d discuss with my students the following day. I’ve never been anywhere where modern and ancient history made such perfect companions, and those histories are inescapable. They live on in the walls of the buildings, in the graffiti on the sidewalks, the alchemist workshops that still sleep between fast food restaurants and bustling apartments.

Hannah at the DMZ-w800-h600

 

I was triply blessed during my time in Prague with an abundance of work. After the course, I was quickly hired by several language schools thanks to the resume-blasting efforts of Sinead (our course coordinator). Over time I also found a number of private students. Honestly, teaching in Prague was the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. My students were so curious, and so open. I learned about the fall of Communism from people who’d lived through it, the practical beauty of Czech culture. And along the way, I figured out how satisfying it is to watch someone learn how to communicate in English.

 

In August 2014, I packed up myself and my Trinity CertTESOL and left to teach in Korea. It has definitely been a different experience to teaching in Prague–here I work in the public school system and teach exclusively children. I’m in a middle school and have really enjoyed this different aspect of language teaching. Getting to know the kids has been the best part. I’m now at the point where I have good, solid relationships with my students and it makes school a lot of fun. So far, I would say I’ve been lucky to have many kinds of teaching experiences, and feel that between Prague and Korea my skills have become more well-rounded. I’m equally comfortable in a one-to-one conversation lesson as I am in front of thirty-six teenagers. Which actually brings me the most important part of the course.

 

At Oxford TEFL, I learned how to think for myself in a classroom setting. They prepared me for almost any situation. Materials-free lesson? I can plan that. Grammar heavy? No problems. Textbook today, conversation tomorrow? I’ve got it handled. Because of the independence Oxford TEFL instills in its teachers, I’ve been able to adapt from one teaching style to the next in several countries, all while being confident in my ability to not just do my job but to excel in any classroom environment. Since graduating I’ve met many teachers without that kind of training, and watched them flounder in the last-minute free-for-all that can be teaching in Korea, not to mention the intensive, individual lessons often required in Prague.

 

If there needs to be a conclusion, I’d like to point back at my opener. And to say that I miss Prague, and can I come back and take the course again? 

 

If you would like to read more about the Trinity Cert. TESOL visit this page, contact us or go ahead and start the adventure in Prague by applying here.

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