Yesterday was my first TEFL class. For those who don't know, TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. For my first 5 weeks in Chiang Mai I will be pretty immersed in this course, which is through Chiang Mai University, the second largest Uni in Thailand.
The class has 17 people in it, mostly Americans with a few Brits, Canadians, one Spaniard, one Thai, and an Aussie. I am one of three women in the class, and most of the students are over 35. There is one person younger than me, and he and his buddy made it clear that the reason they are in this country is for the women. I believe their words were "I took one look at the women here and said 'I need to get me some of that.'" You'd be surprised how many people feel this way.
Yesterday was mostly intro stuff... why are you here, what do you expect to learn, what makes a good teacher/learner, etc. We have class every day from 12:30-3:30 then again from 4:30-7:45. On top of that we have a lot of lesson planning and reading to do. We start teaching in the practicum classes next Monday, which is good because it'll give us hands on experience, but kind of terrifying because in 6 days I'll actually have to teach someone something. Hmm.
It seems like I'll learn a lot, but only as much as I put into it, which is the same for pretty much every course I've ever taken. Most of the people in the room have some teaching experience and I feel a bit green sitting there with mostly older people who haven't been in school for some time. In a way I have the advantage of not having been gone for so long and I think my time management will be a bit better given that I don't have outside commitments, but at the same time it's not going to be easy for any of us. Both of my instructors are Canadian, which is pretty neat. I leave for the second class in about 40 mins and will report on that soon.
Thanks for all of the comments/emails. It's been great to get feedback and information from the other side of the world.
Matt- ubiquitous means everywhere. When I said internet cafes are ubiquitous I meant that they are not hard to find at all because they're all over the place.
I'm sorry I don't have more pictures to post. I really haven't been taking too many unfortunately, so I'll work on that. This weekend I hope to get out to the flower festival which I'm told is amazing.