|Not terrific, TEFL-rrific!|
|This is a real bakery.|
|The was never a real bakery.|
|Korean BBQ can make anything yummy.|
|There almost wasn't sexual harassment in those days.|
|Not always a good thing.|
Then they got me on placement testing which was a farce, because the only criteria for placement was, "When do you want your class to be?" This meant that my weekend class was a hodgepodge of students and levels, from a strong upper-int Romanian tween, to two brilliant and motivated intermediate covered girls who had to miss at least an hour of the lesson for prayers, to two useless forever zero-beginner businessmen just out of prison for white-collar crimes, who, after 2 months of lessons and endless hair-pulling canteen hours, remained unable to construct or understand the simplest sentences and couldn't recall words such as "house" and "cup."
The weeknight classes were so bad they actually posed a moral dilemma for me, because the students were middle-class people coming after a long day at work and paying good money for it. The school was selling itself as a purveyor of some sort of language-learning technology called "Quartet." Quartet was a system that used computers for the four skills, with little videos and gap-fill games, and a proper lesson once or twice a week to reinforce it all.
|I used to know nothing of Hoca.|
And now, on to TEFL Interview Tip Number Three: Really strange interviews don't bode well, especially if the school is brand new. By new, I mean that the sockets are mostly still in the walls and it smells of paint. The first job interview I went to in Turkey, it was the spanking brand-newly opened Istanbul branch of the allegedly prestigious TED Ankara. I say "allegedly" because I've had a few TED Ankara graduates who always whinge that they're TED graduates and therefore they shouldn't fail English for the third time around. They whinge in Turkish because after two years of full-time English, they're unable to whinge remotely acceptably in English. Honestly, I don't know where this school gets its reputation, but it's nothing to do with teaching mettle or study skills.
In the TED interview, they gathered around me at a gleaming new table sprinkled with construction dust and grilled me for about an hour. Everything I said, they either acted like I was lying or that I didn't know what I was talking about. I left feeling like shit, thinking "Worst interview ever," wondering who I was kidding with my shiny new MA and fairly limited experience. Two colleagues who'd interviewed for the same job left the interview feeling the same way, despite all the experience under their belts.
A couple weeks later, we all got the same angry calls from a secretary at TED. She was wondering why the hell we hadn't been in yet to sign our contracts. We were all like, "Eh?" and roundly turned down the jobs without even consulting each other, until after the fact, at the bar. Twice the salary, posh housing, and an infinitely more desirable location, and even I had a gut sense about that one. Nothing good can come of such a thing. A couple years down the road I learned the school had failed to keep even one foreign teacher (and there are a lot of desperate losers passing through this city), that the students and their parents were terrors, and that the administration was fully supportive of student/parent terrorism. Goodness knows how they're doing now. Sometimes schools settle in after 10 years or so.
TEFL Interview Tips Number Four: Beware of interviewers who change the game on you halfway through the interview. I once applied for a job at another "prestigious" chain of K-12s. The friend who directed me there was trustworthy, and was working there himself, though at a different branch than the one I interviewed at. I was applying for an opening in their English prep for 11th and 12th graders, and we started off the interview talking about that. It was all going swimmingly.
|Yeah. Insist on me teaching small children.|
|Job interviews pretty much suck.|