Interview with Lucy Marks, Prague Q & A

PERSONAL PROFILE

What is your name, age and nationality?

My name is Lucy Marks, I’m 21 and I’m British.

What is your education level and background?

I studied English Literature at University in Manchester (UK) for three years and graduated in 2017 with a BA Honours. I originally come from Liverpool, I am the first to go to University from my family which was a source of pride and achievement.

Have you travelled abroad previously, and if so where?

I have travelled throughout central Europe including: France, Italy, Canary Islands, Germany, Holland and Belgium. I have also travelled to eastern Europe including: Prague, Austria, Hungary. I went to Australia in 2015 and most recently travelled to Thailand and Vietnam in June 2017.

What motivated you to teach abroad?

I wanted to gain more experience of teaching, as my career goal is to teach English Literature in England at secondary schools. I also wanted to get some experience of living abroad and travel more, as well as make new friends and meet people from different backgrounds to myself.

What did you want to personally achieve with this experience, and have you succeeded?

I feel my main goal was to gain experience of teaching and living abroad, I have definitely succeeded in both of these goals as I have now lived abroad as well as taught young children.

Did you apply for the program with a friend or on your own?

I applied to the program on my own, I felt like this was the best way as often you can limit yourself if you apply with a friend. On the other hand, at least if you apply with a friend, you always have someone with you.

Did you know anyone who had taught abroad before you?

I didn’t know anyone who had taught abroad personally, I had read a lot of stories online though.

What were some of your concerns before you began teaching abroad?

My biggest concern was whether I would make friends in my new country, as the worst thing I could possibly imagine was being lonely. Another big concern was whether the children I would be teaching, would understand English.

TEFL PROGRAM INFORMATION

What made you decide to do a TEFL course and choose TEFL Heaven?

I chose to do a TEFL course because it was a way to see the world, I knew once I gained my TEFL qualification I could go on to teach anywhere in the world. TEFL Heaven seemed like a good accredited company to do my TEFL with, they were popular and had plenty of reviews and pictures.

What made you choose a face-to-face TEFL course over other options?

The face-to-face TEFL course meant that I could have real teaching experience, learn on the job and make new friends in a new country. It was much more practical than other options.

Which TEFL program did you do?

I did the Prague program.

What did you enjoy about your TEFL course?

I really enjoyed getting hands on experience and meeting new friends. The program had plenty of resources to use to plan and conduct lessons.

How prepared did you feel for your teaching position?

I didn’t feel overwhelmingly prepared but I knew that I had passed my TEFL qualification and therefore, I must obviously know a lot about teaching English as a foreign language.

How long have you been teaching in the Czech Republic and how long do you plan to stay?

I have been teaching for five weeks now, including my month teaching during my TEFL course. I plan to stay for another two months.

How did you secure your English teaching job?

I applied to numerous jobs via an expats website, which was really useful.

What type of school or organisation do you work for?

I work for a Kindergarten, teaching preschool children English as well as other basic skills which they will need for their future school life.

What does a typical working week look like for you?

I will work from 10-6pm Mon-Fri. I will start work at 10am and take the children outside to play for an hour and a half usually. Then we will come in and have lunch and then read to the children. The children will then have relaxation time and then we will have snack time before going back outside to play more. Finally, the children will come inside and wait for their parents to arrive whilst they colour and read.

What age group or range to you teach?

I teach children aged 2-6 years old.

What do you most enjoy about teaching your students?

I enjoy seeing the children progress on a daily basis. Each day is a new challenge but also a new reward, as the children are constantly learning new things.

How did you get your work visa?

As an EU native, I did not need a work visa

How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like?

I found somewhere to live via the expats website, which was really useful. I live in a big spacious apartment in central Prague with two TEFL course mates.  

COUNTRY INSIGHT

Prague is a very culturally rich city; the people are not all that friendly and it is full of tourist’s due to the range of characteristics. The city has something for everyone including, beautiful architecture, castles, a range of cuisines and cheap beer of course. It is very easy to get around as the Metro and trams are quick and regular. I haven’t waited longer than 10min for a Metro which will take you all over the city. The nightlife in Prague is amazing as there are bars on every street and street corner. The beer is mostly very cheap, especially in supermarkets. The food is also very cheap in supermarkets. On the whole Prague is a great city for those who want more out of their job than just teaching.

What are your monthly expenses?

Rent: £400 GBP

Food: £20 GBP

Social life: £30 GBP

Transportation: £20 GBP

Phone: £15 GBP

Would you say you are able to live comfortably on your monthly salary?

Yes I would say I can live comfortably.

ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE ENGLISH TEACHERS

What advice would you give someone thinking about teaching abroad, and would you recommend teaching English in the Czech Republic?

I would recommend teaching English in Prague but ensure that you are ready for the locals to not be always smiley and friendly. I also recommend that you decide on whether you want to teach adults or children, as teaching adults is extremely different to children.

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