It was 9.00 am on Monday morning as I anxiously waited for my turn to introduce myself to the group. There were 11 other people in the classroom and I had been eagerly awaiting this moment for a few months. On reflection, the truth is I had been dreaming of this moment for many years and now it had arrived and I am about to fulfil an ambition and dream from my teenage years. I am sitting in a classroom at SEE TEFL – Siam Educational Experience – Teach English as a Foreign Language – in Chiang Mai Thailand where I have lived for the past nine months. When I made my decision to complete a TEFL course, I thoroughly researched the options available to me both on-site in Chiang Mai and on-line and I am completely satisfied that I chose SEE TEFL https://seetefl.com/
The 120 hour course is intense, thorough, fun and challenging with participants in my course who had travelled to Chiang Mai from Italy, UK, Austria, Canada, Egypt and the USA. I was the only Australian in the group so between us, many versions of English were being spoken. Yin Quinn, the Manager of SEE TEFL, introduced me to the word “Englishes” which perfectly describes how English is spoken in so many different ways. English is spoken differently depending on our country of origin, our family, our region, the state or territory where we live. To say that the course exceeded my expectations would be an understatement and though I would love to share all the details of the experience with you, I would prefer for future participants to have their own opportunity to discover the delights and surprises, the highs and the lows, the challenges and the successes for themselves.
I was committed to being single-focused during the course as I intended to complete the course successfully and soon realised that more time would be required for studying and preparing than what I had originally anticipated. Habits from many years ago when I was preparing for exams were quickly re-established and again I found myself learning by writing, pacing and repeating. Each evening after lectures, I would come home and re-write notes taken in a hurry during the classes, then pace the floors and repeatedly verbalise what I had written. When it was time to prepare for our Observed Teaching Practices and the Grammar Test, I reverted to the custom of early to bed and early to rise as my brain seems to function best at dawn.
The disciplinary effect created by the on-site course guarantees attendance and commitment. It also ensures the teachers are able to devote themselves to each student as they carefully monitor progress and support everyone in every conceivable way. All the staff at SEE TEFL were happy, encouraging and obliging. The six Observed Teaching Practices guarantee this SEE TEFL course excels at the highest level of training and when included in my resume, will be valuable experiences that will set me apart from other applicants. We participated in our Observed Teaching Practices at schools located in and around Chiang Mai. Some were Government schools, some Temple schools, another was a Vocational School and to be part of the school assembly each morning was certainly a highlight and an honor. My six practices covered Kindergarten, Class levels 2, 3 and 4, a one-to-one lesson with an adult intermediate English speaker and as often is the case, the best class was the last class where I taught the months of the year and the days of the week to 25 x 16-year-old male students at Vocational College. Standing at the front of the class, having just written the presentation on the whiteboard, my heart was in my mouth as one by one the students entered the room and everyone was a teenage boy. Taking a huge breath, I decided that I was going to enjoy this class and I did thoroughly enjoy it. The boys were enthusiastic, polite, with deep, loud voices and we had fun during the last-minute when the game we played to fill time required the class to be divided into two groups which I named Manchester United and Liverpool and I must say that the Liverpool team were extremely vocal and loud and participated in the game with gusto and united as a team. It was so much fun and as I walked out of the classroom, I realised that this was my best practice which filled me with confidence for the future.
A most important part of the SEE TEFL course was learning Thai Culture and to speak some of the Thai language and just when I thought my brain could not take any more on the first day, we had a one hour lesson learning to speak Thai. In fact, we had several lessons learning to speak Thai; we spent time in a Thai school observing both a Thai teacher and an English teacher present a class; a day was devoted to cultural awareness and a fun session on our final day when I learnt there are more varieties of bananas than I realised. This was an extremely interesting session, especially how bananas are used for natural healing but I would probably not have eaten a whole banana for breakfast that morning if I had know what being part of the class would involve!
As a group of students we were diverse in culture, age and ambitions. Some will remain in Thailand to teach, while others will explore other Asian countries or any country they choose. The qualification is recognised world-wide and SEE TEFL is the first school in Asia to reach the high level of certification (ISO 9001:2008). Together we discovered the many reasons why people fall in love with Chiang Mai and the Thai people; we celebrated together on a few occasions, including our graduation and we will be united in the future as we travel different roads but with the same desire of wanting to Teach English as a Foreign Language.
Lesson learnt: By completing the SEE TEFL course I affirmed my belief that it is never too late to fulfil a dream or ambition and learning is possible at any age. I may have been the oldest participant in this course, but I am not the oldest person who has completed the course. I remained true to my commitment to be single-focused for the duration of the course and the result was rewarding and satisfying.
If you have any questions about the SEE TEFL course in Chiang Mai,
please contact me as I am happy to help in any way.