Is That a Phrasal Verb in Your Pocket?

I know what you’re thinking: Does Alicia do anything other than drink in Prague? It’s all right, I understand. I really have not shared much else with you – until now. That’s right kids; the illusion is about to be shattered. You had better sit down for this one. The whole ugly truth is that I spend about 90% of my time doing TEFL related things. The drinking is merely a release from stress. In fact, as I write this I am avoiding a ten-page paper that I have due tomorrow. Oh I have started it, but I just can’t think about it any more.

Here’s the skinny: Monday’s we are in training all day. That is, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. we learn how to be teachers. The rest of the week we are in training from 10 a.m. to 1:30 when we break for lunch. After lunch we come back to teach classes until 5:15 p.m. Each of us TEFL trainee’s have to teach two 45 minute lessons each week.

We also each have a solo student. We have to teach three, 1 hour-long private lessons to our “one to one” student.

Every time we teach, whether it is a class or a private lesson, we have to turn in a detailed lesson plan. They average about six pages. The lesson plans have to include our every move, what we are going to write on the board, time limits, exact questions we plan on asking and what color of underwear we are wearing. Okay, not that last one, but I think you get the point. Oh, and hand written. There is no way to get something printed.

On top of all of that, we also have to do 2, fifteen-minute grammar presentations on specific grammar points. An example might be relative clauses or phrasal verbs. I love a good phrasal verb, don’t you? We have to include context and function. Sweet! I don’t know about you, but the last time I had to explain the present simple to someone was, um, never. Oh, and in case you were wondering, a phrasal verb is a two part verb: A verb + adverb particle. They can be with or with out objects and have both separable and inseparable forms. Jealous yet?

The last bit of fun is the dreaded revision lesson. We have to “re-teach” a specific lesson that the students didn’t quite grasp the first time it was taught to them. The bummer here is that we cannot use any of the materials from the students’ book. We have to come up with all of the practice, production, and lexis – everything – from scratch. They give us lots of books to get ideas from, but we are not allowed to take them home, so it’s really difficult to plan. I have already done my revision lesson. It went all right. I had a really hard grammar point to teach: simple and continuous for action and state verbs. Yeah, that’s a party right there.

I hope I am painting a clear enough picture for you. When I am not in class or teaching I am doing work for class or preparing lesson plans. It is a lot of work, but you know what? It’s super fun. The instructors, Pete and Terry, are really great. They are awesome at what they do and inspire us to be better teachers. Three weeks ago I had no idea how you could teach someone to speak English. I mean I don’t speak Czech, so how could we possibly communicate? It’s all about personality kids. Personality and planning. I think I might be good at this one day. Terry said I already am, so, that’s kind of like getting complimented on your singing from Babs.
So that’s me. Work work work. And that’s why the TEFL kids need to let out a little steam on the weekends. The best way to do that in Praha is drinking cheap beer or wine or whatever. This past weekend featured a spontaneous dance party in our kitchen, two Polish guys trying to buy Brent’s scarf for 55 beers, watching 40 Year Old Virgin while drinking Bordeaux at 3 am on my bedroom floor, and multiple mojitos and bottles of wine. We even liberated Ousco the bunny and brought him to the party for a while. He seemed to have a good time.

This is my life now. Not bad, huh?


3 thoughts on “Is That a Phrasal Verb in Your Pocket?

  1. I’m pretty sure that they didn’t teach all of that English type crap that you were talking about at Baldwin Elementary. I think I’d be screwed. Good Luck!Bob

  2. Hi, I’ve been reading about TEFL Worldwide Prague and ended up on your blog. I tried to find your contact information, but couldn’t find anything. I know that was 7 years ago, but do you think I could bother you with some questions?

    • Sure thing! I just left Prague last year, and I can’t recommend it enough. It is a special place. If you have questions about getting work or a Visa… don’t bother. The rules change so quickly there that any info I have is surely outdated. Best to ask folks at the TEFL program you choose to go with. I’m still in touch with Cheryl at TEFL Worldwide and consider her a friend. Good folks there.

      Any other questions, I would be happy to answer if I can.

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