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as it happens, i sent another hail mary to one of my former japan contacts. They were always keen to employ me but really wanted me to get a tefl. So maybe even without the visa i might still end up back there and working :) Doubt it though. Just got semi encouraging news on a place just south of seoul. Just waiting to see if the school seems happy with the idea since i dont have elementary school xp, (but have korean ps teaching exp and elementary exp in both japan and thailand). Not a perfect fit but if we can jump the first hurdle then things might not be so dramatic. That being said, earliest start i assume is around 2 weeks - docs sent out... visa app number given - visa docs and pp sent to embassy, then finally flight to kankoku.

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Picture if you will a poor little fat kid getting his first intercity bus. Its a 5 1/2 hour journey so he brought snacks. He is fat, thats what fat people do. Now picture him walking up to the driver

Yes, I can vouch that Ippy is a real person and a very messy room-mate!  

Ippy doesn't have sex though. He finds it troublesome, or something.

KK, today in effect i complete my TEFL (as in my last day teaching - in about 2 hours) tomorrow is a revision/review day and friday is exam/blowout.


So what did i learn?


Surprisingly a fair bit. I genuinely didnt expect all that much. But then again im a grammar moron so if you dont really know the VERY INCREDIBLY SIMPLE RULES for a tense then youll get lots out of it too.


Starting with the PPP lesson plan (present/practice/produce). Genuinely dislike the method. Too methodical if that makes sense to anyone. In summary, 5 minte warm up, then structured elicit on all vocab - elicit, teacher models word three times, students repeat en masse, then target individual students. This is the present stage.


You then dash onto your dialogue. This is something handy though i never honestly thought of. Get two cuddly toys or whatever, give them names, repeat a few times until ss happy then pull out doraemon or whoever it was and say line 1. Hide doraemon behind back, pull out kittie chan, say line 2. Do that a few times so ss get idea that doraemon is saying line 1 and kittie is saying line 2. Voila! dialogue teaching without an assistant teacher. Basic, but just something i honestly never thought of.


Then you get ss to repeat dialogue lines. This is the teacher-teacher method.

Next you take doraemon and give kitty to student. You say line 1, they say line 2. This is teacher-student.

Then switch, you have kitty, random student has doraemon, they say line 1, you say line 2: This is student-teacher.

Finally, you give student a doraemon and student b kitty and they do dialogue: this is student-student.


After this you do an ORGANISED and very teacher controlled version of the dialogue where they switch partners as a class (in groups or lines).

And this is OPEN student-student.


Once your happy with that you can add lines 3 and 4 of the dialogue using the same system,


This is the Practice part.


Finally you take 3 communicative activities allowing the students a bit more leeway applying the dialogue - game or something - and maybe 2 more for backup on time and youre pretty much done. And this is the Production part.




You play a last 'cooler' game and there you go. You can now teach TEFL. I give you this structure so you need not pay for it. This is the method theyve wanted us to use since point 1. Its not for me, but it does add to my arsenal in a way when i really do need a dialogue focused lesson and can pretty much whip it out to keep it simple. Obviously if youre half decent, youll realise theres way too much sitting around and doing nothing for lots of students so if you go this way then you probably need to break up the present and practice stage with an activity like fly swatter, key word, bingo, or karuta type games (assuming elementary of course - higher grades youll probs throw in a worksheet or wordsearch or summat).


Its going to take you to time, and you dont have to think. You just need your vocab flashcards and your dialogue and you have a lesson plan you can repeat ad infinitum.


So on that regard. Not essential stuff but its certainly given me more weapons and a more focused approach to at least the vocab step. I still hate teaching dialogue in itself. But itll look smooth to your coteacher, so no harm done.


On the teaching practices themselves. Well, this is thailand. The kids are lovely but the schools are insane. Its bedlam, I may have mentioned this before, so if you come here to ever do it, be prepared for a bit of a reality check. Very little info on class sizes (weve gone from classes of 12 or so all the way through to a class of 72 (one class) 7 and 8 year olds with some kids sat on the floor). Worthwhile to an extent, but you do a ppp like the one above and youre going to have bored kids for ONE HOUR lessons. Youll need to switch it up a bit. I did get to do some small scale hotel teaching though early on, and realise that teaching adults above intermediate level is a breeze. They fill the time asking questions. You basically throw out a general structure and they fill it all in for you. So again, worthwhile and a good experience. If i hadnt taught in a thai school before and was planning to, this would have been absolutely invaluable. Teaching public school in thailand is definitely something youre going to need to be born with mad reserves of energy and patience to do effectively.

Had 12 teaching practices from ES1 to HS3 and private adult learners from beginner to fluent. If youre a new teacher, 12 teaching practices is awesome. Most places give you 6-12. If youre me, it kinda gets annoying having to not only plan lessons every night, but also having to hunt down a print shop so you can fekkin photocopy and color the shit in (you cant use any school facilities and the tefl course doesnt supply printers for you to make your worksheets). Massive pain in the ass that one. Also expensive when youre photocopying a work sheet for 2 classes of 50 kids at 2 baht/copy). But you can definitely see the confidence improve on the dudes who were teaching for their first time. It took at least 6 lessons to find their feet and just not be overblown by it. Lessons 7-12 helped them with their teaching skills enormously. So yeah, first time teacher is going to love 12 lessons, even if they hate trying to figure out activities for them all.


Grammar: Was fun. Way more simple when its being taught and not just fumbling through wiktionary for explanations to random individual surreal questions from your JTE. And way more interesting by the way. Its kinda fun. Obviously when you have the rules applied into real life language it gets more tricky to isolate the patterns, but having that framework is once more invaluable.


Teacher: Was really good. I like him lots. He loved opening things up for discussion and wasnt afraid of being shown to be incorrect. Very kind and decent man to be honest. Comes from Rotherham... or was it wigan? Same place pretty much :ph34r:


Accommodation: lovely. Nice hotel with a nice big pool. Im gonna miss it. Lunch time free food when yorue not teaching was also good.


Price: Got it at 32,000. Pretty decent. Not brilliant value for money as an experienced teacher, but it taught me enough to not feel like im ONLY paying for the certificate. Worth it if you have the spare month holiday, not overly taxing or demanding, kinda good fun, meet some cool people, have plenty of time to enjoy the island on top of it all and yeah, you do come out with a certificate and at least a bit of knowledge and understanding you might not have had if you havent yet had that kind of formal training. Also, nothing really beats observation classes for self-critique. And getting feedback on your skills is really handy for improvement in the long run.

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Ipps....that's standard fare for any elementary school class over here. The fruity shite with the puppets can do one. I keep the P/P/P structure in mind and the end game is always focused on the kids putting in the vocab themselves with no prompting.....I always consider that my talking time should decrease significantly as the class progresses while at the same rate, student to student talking should increase.


What bugs me about training is that it's always taught by and to be happy clappy over the top nonsense....that's not me. My kids aren't morons....I do my own style

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yeah, never was taught anything so it was all new to me. All ive done since year dot is a lesson plan that follows the format: Warm up. bunch of teaching stuff until kids get fed up or they know enough to play the game/do the activity. Game. Cya! Maybe a worksheet or two thrown in for good measure as well. But really, its been turtles all the way down.

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And just like a bus, three come along at once... only... the math... its a problem.


Ive got a very good chance of at least one of these jobs landing tomorrow (final stage interviews in two of them, awaiting outcome of boe decision on the third). But even if i get the job i might still be in fact screwed. You see, my crc expires on the 21st September. Thats like 2 and half weeks away! no problem! they send the contract, i mail the docs off, they get the visa number, i do the visa run. Yay! but its not so simple...


In a hail mary play, i sent my docs to the most proactive and trustworthy recruiter today. Express mail lands it in korea either thursday, friday or saturday. At the very absolute latest i would imagine, monday. Docs go from the recruiter to the school... and they head to immigration for the visa issuance number.

if it arrives by friday theres a chance... if it arrives on monday...


Visa issuance takes from 2 to 10 working days depending on the season. Lets assume this is peak season...


Tick tock.


5 working days means i get the visa issuance number on the monday! yay! i run to the korean embassy monday morning and get my visa the next afternoon. JOB DONE!

However if i get the visa issuance number on monday afternoon. Yay! i run to the embassy on tuesday morning and... hang on... whats this? Its closed wednesday to friday for cheusok?


And my criminal records check expires on the sunday?


So even if i hand in my application and even if i get my passport back... im ****ed. You must have a valid criminal records check from the moment you LAND and ennact the visa. Not from the moment you *apply* for the visa.


This is not good. I was so happy yesterday too! i realised the korean embassy turnover for the visa was one day. I just didnt think the visa issuance would take so long nor that the shitty thai post would take 3 to 5 fekkin days to express deliver an item to korea. Its not even up on the tracker yet. I posted the damn thing 7 hours ago. Im tracking it and it says not found! Shouldnt it be in bangkok by now?


Possibly the wagons might be circling. Ive not really got much of a back up plan here. :) Wish me lots and lots of luck. Because quite honestly im going to need it, If they dont select me for the job, thats pretty much game over because today is possibly the last day without a miracle, where i could have started the visa process. Any delay at all and we're really in god bothering territory.

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...anddddd breaaaattthhhh...



Turns out the crc is valid up until the docs are submitted to korean immi by the employer, and NOT when i take up the position and land in korea! yay! Thats pretty much done.

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haha, fly by the seat of your pants. Long term plan is to be a philosophy lecturer. But i might as well say Olympic heptathlete for all the chance of that one happening. :) So since its my one and only plan, everything else is the sideshow until i make my bed in a gutter staring at the stars and wondering what the **** happened.

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