Barb, Julia, and Dana, Hello from Mal Pais/Santa Teresa! You can absolutely use me as a contact for future trainees. I’ve been teaching English in the Mal Pais public school since March 1, and it’s definitely been an adventure! I certainly couldn’t have done it without the TEFL course, and I can tell you now that I TOTALLY appreciate all the hard work and torture you guys put us through. 🙂 I’m basically on my own, creating an English curriculum from scratch for about 30 kids between 1st and 6th grade in the public school. I was hired as a “volunteer” by a community group . It’s working out just fine for now. They love how “professional” and prepared I always am (thanks to you guys). 🙂 At the school, the resources I was given were one whiteboard, desks and chairs, and some old markers without caps. So we’ve had to provide a lot and be creative (again, I was actually ready for it!). I use stuff from the TEFL course every day, whether its games, websites or just teaching techniques, I’m always aware of it and super glad I did the course. I would be totally lost without it! The kids are adorable, I have 1st thru 2nd for two hours in the morning, and 3rd thru 6th for two hours in the afternoon. Occasionally there are discipline problems with the boys, but I am working it out little by little. I found that when I threatened to cancel English class that’s what snapped them to attention the quickest! They’ve already asked me back for next year and I’ve accepted. Anyway, miss and love you guys. Thanks again so much for a great course that was worth every penny. You’re awesome. Hopefully I’ll see you sometime in Samara again or let me know if you’re ever down here! xoxo Sara
Caitlin found a job here in Nosara, about an hour north of Samara, and nearly begged me to come and work with her. I was hesitant at first because I had a stable job and the new job involved opening a new school; advertising, marketing, finding students, developing a curriculum, planning lessons with NO materials and an intermittent internet connection. We did, however, have a copy machine IN the school! And after a couple weeks we convinced the boss to invest in a few textbooks 🙂
So I’ve been here since September and Caitlin can certainly vouch for the fact that it’s been a very rocky road. Our income depends on the number of students we maintain and this number has greatly fluctuated.
Now I have 15 students and 4 privates, which is sufficient, but only allows me to eat rice, beans, eggs, tomatoes and onions. Sometimes I splurge on a can of tuna 🙂 but I love it here. It’s worth it. Super slow pace of life and The ‘thing to do’ is watch the sunset. That’s it. Plain and simple. and free 🙂
I’ve nearly cracked and mentally packed my bags on numerous occasions due to my income and the often unreliable nature of Tico students. Starting a business or a school takes an enormous amount of patience, which, fortunately, I have and it’s beginning to pay off. New students are actually coming to the school, as opposed to my boss and I running around town and trying to chase them down. And, y’all better sit down to read this ‘cuz this news is stellar: I just found out that 7, S-E-V-E-N, new students are signing up!!!!!!!!!!! I do believe this bumps me up to the next income bracket: Almost-Just-Below-Poverty!!! Cha-ching! I’m thinkin’ about treating myself to a new article of clothing! Yikes! Maybe even two! ooooohhh, my students will be happy about that too 😉
Pura vida, no? So overall, it’s been an amazing adventure and I have Caitlin to thank for convincing me to take this big risk and do what I love in a beautiful coastal Costa Rican town. I’m gonna hang on as long as I can!
one love y’all
Chris and I are doing amazing, and couldn’t have asked for a better location to be teaching. CPI is a great school, we are living right on the beach and are working great hours. We both only work 2 hours a day (1 class) Monday to Friday and that is exactly what we wanted…enough money coming in to live, but enough time on our hands to still enjoy beautiful Costa Rica and become professional sun bathers haha. We have a great little 2 bedroom house with our own pool just a block from the beach that we are in love with. Playa Flamingo is beautiful, and there are so many gorgeous pristine beaches within a half hour north and south from us, so we couldn’t resist at having the freedom to drive around a bit.
Talk soon and keep it crackin hahahahaha
Rach and Chris!
I would be happy to be included as a contact for future TEFL students. I have been teaching at a private language institute, CCB Language Institute of Atlanta. It has been an interesting experience, and like any teaching job there are certainly advantages and disadvantages. The majority of my students are motivated to attend the school because they are granted an F-1 Student Visa to live in the United States by attending. This means that they do not care much about learning English, and do the minimum to get by. Attendance is sparse; students attend the minimum necessary to maintain good standing, do not complete homework assignments or study outside of the classroom, and do not want to participate while in the classroom. I have taken it as a personal challenge to interest and motivate them by finding out topics that they are stimulated by, such as initiating debates about American immigration policy, and bribing them to participate in games by offering prizes such as candy and cookies to the winners. This does not apply to all my students, of course, and it is a challenge to keep the pace moving fast enough for serious students but slow enough that the others don’t fall behind. I have Indian, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Pakistani, Brazilian, and Bangledeshi students. I think it is an advantage to have students of so many nationalities in the classroom, because I can always get students interested in talking to one another by having them discuss cultural differences. It also helps to keep them from lapsing into their native languages.
I want extend my thanks for doing such a great job of preparing me for the challenges of teaching. Although I have faced many difficult scenarios, I felt that I had good advice to draw upon.