The Oxford TEFL Blog

Prague graduate interview: Sam Whitten

Sam Baxter Whitten is a Trinity Cert TESOL graduate from our centre in Prague. He is originally from the US but is very comfortable in his adopted home of the Czech Republic. He works with young learners in an after-school programme called Anglická družina. Here he talks about his experiences of the course and his life in Prague.

When did you take the Cert TESOL course?

January 2014. I was lucky that it was a pretty mild winter so it was easy to get out and about between classes and at the weekend and discover the city.

What do you enjoy most about being in Prague?

It’s so hard to put it into words what I enjoy about Prague…honestly, it’s pretty much everything! The beauty of the streets and the buildings, the history. The more I learn about the culture and about the Czech way of life, the more I want to know. It goes without saying that being able to eat out regularly and also afford a few amazing beers is one of the big pluses of this town. Or should I say, more than a few – I definitely like the beer a lot!

Best TEFL course Prague

Where did you work after the course?

I had a lot of private clients, a few that I found on the website and they were some of my favourite classes. I then got a job with a school in Namesti Republiky, but again I was working in-company, so going into different businesses and working with small groups of individual students.

How did the course set you up for the realities of teaching?

It definitely showed me the important things of how to be a good teacher. It showed me that while understanding language is a big part of the job, the ability to talk and listen to your students is also vital. Grading my language for different levels was something I worked on quite a lot during the course and continue to work on.  I learned how to plan classes in a logical way so that activities flow somehow seamlessly from one to the next. I have no doubt that, without the course, I wouldn’t have been anywhere near as successful and comfortable in the classroom as I am. I feel like the classroom is where I belong and the course helped me to see that.

So what are you up to now?

The last school I worked with put me in contact with a local Czech teacher who was in the very early stages of starting her own business; an after-school programme. She asked if I was interested in teaching English to young learners and very soon after that, I joined her. It’s a very exciting project to be involved in. It’s incredibly rewarding to help young learners take the language off the textbook page, out of the classroom and put it to real use. Watching them communicate meaningfully with each other and facilitating that has been phenomenal and I know that these are skills they will develop on for the rest of their lives. Playing some small part in shaping their future is really more than I ever could have hoped for when I started out on this journey.

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. You never know…Sam might even buy you a beer or two when you arrive!


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