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TEFL Worldwide Prague: An Honest Review

No place is perfect, but it is as advertised.

First of all, let me say that TEFL Worldwide Prague is indeed a real and legitimate TEFL Certification course. You will actually partake in a 4-week course and you will come out the other end with a certificate that can be used to prove your knowledge of the teaching the English language. So it is what it says it is.

But no place is perfect and I agree that having a 5-star rating is a little suspicious. I graduated from this program in 2017 and while it was an experience that lead me to a certification, I would like to point out some of the things that are less than perfect so that you won't be surprised and will be able to make an informed decision. Now, I don't wish I had gone to another place to get certified necessarily, these are just things I wish I had known.

It's a lot of work. Of course, you can scoff and say "well you have to work hard in order to do anything in this world" or make some pun about handling heat and being in kitchens, but it is packed in to too short of a timeframe. There are logistic reasons for all of this (like in order to have x amount of teaching hours, you have to dedicate x amount of hours. Simple math there), but some things could be added or combined or even extended to a 5-week course. I only say this because I really wanted to learn and grow and I felt I didn't have enough time to actually care about what I was doing. Making lesson plans without any knowledge of what a lesson plan is is pretty stressful and, this place fully embraces the method of throwing the students to the proverbial lions. 

You will have 8+ hours in the classroom/teaching lessons on most days. But there is a lot that can only be done outside of those 10.00-18.30 hours. These  include: writing out your lesson plans (10) and grammar presentations (2); completing written homework assignments about what it's like to learn Czech; 2 complete 50-minute lessons with an individual student that you will meet off-campus; a final 1-to-1 assignment on said student; office hours when you can ask for help or use the printer; and two separate extra sessions (one of which involves certification for teaching young learners and another for teaching business English). So you have to eat, breathe, and sleep TEFL for the entire month. Intensive courses are simply of that nature. If there was an option to take this course over a longer period, I would have jumped on that in a heartbeat.

Of course, to fully disclaim, I actually lived in Prague before attending TEFL Worldwide and didn't move here specifically for this course. Perhaps my lifestyle of living 10 metro stops away from the school and having a family took away from what is easy dedication to someone who moves here simply for this course. But, either way, I finished everything and passed with high marks. I'm not saying that it is impossible, I'm just saying I wish I had been able to dedicate more time to my lesson plans and my understanding but the time literally didn't exist.

You will be teaching the second day that you attend. And you will be doing it without being taught how. They want you to "get your feet wet" which is the phrase that was often used. They put you in a group with other student teachers (we were groups of three) and they give you a chapter in a book and then each student will teach an equal portion of a 50-minute lesson. 

I personally did not find this helpful as it was mostly just horrifying. (though many of my fellow graduates would argue and say that it took away the "mysticism of teaching" so, as with any review, this is only the opinion of one person). What actually made me internally angry about it was that it was unobserved by the teachers, and the students are actual students who speak Czech, so you get absolutely no constructive feedback for these lessons at all. Not until the third lesson are you observed and receive feedback from your instructors; and that will also be the first time that you teach an entire 50 minute lesson by yourself. 

But, after that, you will learn how to teach. The last three weeks really are useful for building confidence as a teacher and for learning how to present information in the classroom. You will be given a formula to follow in your lessons and, even if you don't like it, it's helpful to follow it during the course so that you get the feel for each individual part of a lesson. It's only after the course when you land a job that you will be able to develop your own style. Which is to be expected.

The instructors are fabulously passionate and knowledgeable, as well. The only thing I could say about them with any hint of critique would be that, due to the shotgun nature of their job--having a new set of blank slates to deal with every month--they've probably heard everything. So, sometimes, when asking a basic question, you can feel a little bit of resentment or shortness in the answers you will receive. Yeah, you may be asking a dumb question, but you have never done this before. They've done it for decades. They're very kind people, it's just that sometimes you have to realise that they've answered this question 9000 times and not take it personally when they tell you to think harder about it before asking.

The only further bit of knowledge I can think of that I haven't found mentioned anywhere else is that, without having a bachelor's degree prior to taking this certification course, it is going to be 50 times more difficult to land a job afterwards. Maybe this goes without saying, but your locations will be limited without the degree. Furthermore, in Europe anyway, there is a definite preference given to those who hold EU passports. But, as with anything, if you sell yourself well enough, you can do pretty much anything.

So would I recommend this place? Yes, I would. I'm glad I went and happy with what came from it. It is as advertised: a 4 week intensive hands-on course where you will teach actual students and come out with a certification if you do everything that is asked of you. It's time-consuming and a bit scary, but it's only a month, you can handle it.