TEFL

Frontier

The South East Asia Ethical Adventure Trail has been one of the lost memorable experiences of my life. All the new and exciting things I have done and seen and smelled have all made this a phenomenal experience. The beginning of the trail in Thailand was a great way to begin with everyone getting used to the heat and each other and obviously the new food. Starting in Bangkok but also visiting small, quaint places such as Pai and Kanchanaburi gave a great perspective of the various different levels of civilisation in countries such as Thailand. The next part of the trail was my favourite by far. The teaching English at a local school in Siem Reap in Cambodia. Seeing all those earnst little faces each day and playing with them and getting to know them has become the most amazing thing thing I have ever done in my life. I will always remember this trip and what for a few weeks I was able to give those little children and what they were able to give me. The last part of our trail in Vietnam for the last two weeks have been great, allowing everyone to relax and enjoy some site seeing and last few activities.

Program: TEFL
Location: Thailand
Posted: Jun 5, 2013
Overall:
8
Support:
9
Value:
7

Frontier

I just spent 4 weeks teaching English in Madagascar and have had the most amazing time! I was originally meant to live on the beach camp with people on the Diving and Wildlife projects. After finding out 3 days before my project started that I would be living in town (Hellville, Nosy Be) instead, I was really upset. I still wish that I had the opportunity to live on camp, but the change has been made to really improve the education that we are able to give to both kids and adults. While previously teaching only took place in the mornings, the project is now focused at one primary school where we can give our attention every day for the whole day. Mornings are spent teaching 4 half-hour lessons followed by 2 half-hour one-on-one sessions. Then its time for a huge lunch break - the Malagasy way of course - and then back for 2 more workshops (5-10 kids). This really allows the project to make a proper impact for the kids who are being taught, as the teachers are able to teach an entire class, and then work with kids who need more help during the one-on-one session, followed by reinforcing the information through the more interactive workshops. Since the project is relatively new, the students have very limited English knowledge which means that for now, you can spend a lot of your time teaching really fun and interactive vocabulary!
The kids at the school are amazing and really look forward to learning each and every day. From the second I walked into a class with the kids yelling "hello!!", the other teachers and I had the kids full attention. No matter where you are - before school, during, or after - there will always be kids who scream hello from down the street to you. Make sure to bring lots of stickers cause they can't get enough of them!
Teaching adults was also a really great experience, and it was done 1-3 times a week. It was really nice to teach more advanced English, and I had the opportunity to have conversations with some of the students during the classes, where I was able to learn so much about them and their culture - definitely one of the highlights of my trip.
The accommodation in town is really great and has all the basic necessities you need - and more! It's also in a really central location. The town itself is a really fun place to live, and I really enjoyed getting to know it and it's people.
Overall I really enjoyed my time out here with Frontier, and would definitely recommend it. I had the experience of a lifetime and will never forget it here. 4 weeks is definitely not enough!!

Program: TEFL
Location:
Posted: Jun 2, 2013
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
7

Comments

Thanks for your review. It's really interesting to hear about the Madagascar Teaching project from a volunteer's perspective.

Frontier

I have just spent two weeks living in Hellville as a teaching volunteer for Frontier Madagascar. I can honestly say that I have had the time of my life...
On arrival, me and two other teachers were led to a new Volunteer House. Here we found beds, running water, a shower AND a flushing toilet! Luxury at best. The location of the house is perfect, only a short walk from a supermarket, the centre of town, and also the primary school where most lessons are taught.
During our first week we were actively supported by our Project Manager (Coconut Head), he helped us to plan lessons and gave us feedback on our teaching. He also provided baguettes and jams for breakfast and cooked lunch each day - a bonus! Saint-Marie is a primary school ran by nuns with an average of eighty children per class. During my time, I taught every class - totalling over 1300 children altogether. Each lesson was thoroughly enjoyable, the children were enthusiastic to learn and gave 100% in any activity. During break times they were not afraid to practice their English; we were often bombarded with shouts of 'hello' or 'goodbye'. Changes occurring during my time here have been happily welcomed. Instead of teaching eleven 30 minute classes a day, Monday to Friday, the project now includes one-on-one lessons and workshops too. These gave me the perfect opportunity to improve in confidence, teaching a group of up to fifteen children without the aid of a translator.
On top of work at the primary school, there is always the village lesson at Atofondro to look forward to. Their level of English was more advanced, so we were able to teach beyond the basics. Although these lessons can be more challenging, the sense of achievement is immense. Adult education lessons at the weekend are also a treat. Here, there is a varying ability of English but all students are eager to learn and it's fun to teach them.
Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here in Madagascar, and would recommend this project to anyone. I now have memories and friendships to last a lifetime!

Program: TEFL
Location: Madagascar
Posted: May 19, 2013
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
8

Comments

Hi Danielle. Thanks for the great review!

Frontier

Boom! Bam! Badaboom!

Thats the kind of feeling you get teaching a large class of Malagasy children adjectives. It's like Booom! Baaaaam Baddaaabooooom! Sometimes it is dramatic, sometimes traumatic, often stressful. When children stare blankly and boredly at you as you sweat on the stage of a classroom desperately trying to explain to them "turn right", and you I find yourself shouting at young children "TURN RIGHT!" TURN RIGHT!". When 3 children leave the class crying and bleeding because their tiny classroom cannot contain the wild rumpus that is the necessary effect of throwing a tennis ball into the super-excited, creating a cataclysmic scrummage over and under tables.

Mixed with this drama, trauma and stress is a larger ammount of happiness, fun and satisfaction. I often finish a day of teaching, sitting on the boat back to camp, filled with the fun and seriousness of children's games. Watching the shore and canopy of natural reserve pass by on the boat with the feeling that you have slightly improved the potential of many youngling's to work in the english tourism trade, or to converse with the tiny population of english speakers in Madagascar, and most importantly to develop their understanding of how language is something as learnable, variable, tradable and valuable as culture.

The "Badabooms" are defined by the moments when every child in the class is smiling ecstatically. For example when a class was dancing and sining a song about animals, when learning emotions, every child transformed into the most demonic, muscly little monsters they could when acting out "angry".

As this was my first time teaching english as a foreign language, I was struck by how difficult it is. I was also surprised, on the other hand to experience how your teaching techniques, planning abilities and style develops as you gain more experience in the classroom.

I give Frontier's TEFL project in Madagascar a positive review. I am more willing to advise people to embark on this project now that I have a vague idea of some planned changes to the project which I think are much needed. The first is to set up a HQ for teachers in Hell-Ville, which is where the majority of the teaching is done and to concentrate most of our teaching recourses on one school. I imagine that the planned HQ in hell-ville would increase the level of support available, particularly, I Imagine, for those taking a TEFL BTEC. Chris (the teaching project manager) is currently living in Hell-Ville, and so is not as accessible as the Marine or Forest project managers are to provide support with planning, teaching techniques and feedback, This is a particular shame, as Chris is a fantastic teacher provides excellent support and is a generally great guy.

The prospect of concentrating Frontier's teaching efforts on less schools would vastly improve it. A teaching volunteer currently teaches at 5 different schools a week, with up to 4 different classes in each school, and an average of 40 students in each class; using very inaccurate calculations, I guess that we teach on average 500 students per week, which is a very daunting task! Teaching so many different children brings with many different learner levels and different teaching environments, to the extent that on thursdays we normally teach a class of 4-8 year olds in a village school near camp , whilst the day before we would be teaching 8-12 year olds in a formal nunnery. Whilst this is very difficult and often frustratingly so, as it means you lack continuity,attaining significant academic development in each class, and ability to get to know the students and their abilities, it also forces you to adapt and utilize different styles of teaching as some classes I have found to be notoriously catatonic whilst other classes are eager and excited.

Camp life is beautiful. Love it. Madagascar is the one. Frontier is not the best, but the people and experiences which stem from their unorganized, unintegrated, touristic approach, I have found life changing.

Program: TEFL
Location: Madagascar
Posted: Apr 17, 2013
Overall:
8
Support:
7
Value:
6

Comments

Hi Mischa. If you have any specific feedback on what you found unorganised and unintegrated, i'd be very happy to look into it and see if we can improve processes. Please let us know on info@frontier.ac.uk

Frontier

When I made the decision to teach in Madagascar, I had no idea what I was getting myself into This was my first experience traveling abroad. Now that I am just a couple of days away from the end of my trip, I can say that this experience fiercely exceeded expectations. I found that teaching was a great way to familiarize myself with the Malagasy community and learn about what a typical day in the life is like for both kid and adults. We taught at multiple different schools around Hellville and in some outlying villages, and no matter the location or age of the students (the ages ranged from 3 years old to 70 years old), I have never encountered a group of people so eager to learn. Every time I would walk into the classroom to start a lesson, everyone would stand up and greet me politely with whatever English phrases they had in their vocabulary. One of the things that makes me smile without fail is when I'll be walking down the street in Hellville and a group of students will run up to me and start shouting English phrases from their last lesson. I've had the pleasure of having my physical appearance ripped apart publicly on street by 7 year olds telling my I'm fat and ugly (the kids have a great sense of humor as a whole). So, this program comes highly recommended, and I wish you the best of luck if you choose to go!

Program: TEFL
Location: Madagascar
Posted: Apr 11, 2013
Overall:
8
Support:
10
Value:
8

Frontier

The first step of the Cambodian teaching project was arriving in Cambodia, only logical. Nick, the project coordinator, who was smiling; which is in fact sign of friendliness, greeted me at the Siem Reap airport. We then made our way to the clean and comfortable house that the other volunteers and I were to stay at. After getting settled we all went for a good meal. Now, that’s enough prefacing, let’s get down to business: volunteering at the FKC organization through frontier was an experience that I'll remember for the rest of my life. The kids at the school have infectious spirits that left me feeling energized even after long days of teaching. The students at the school were (and hopefully, after working with me, still are) constantly excited to learn. They are respectful of the teachers, and more than welcoming to the ‘foreign’ volunteers. After school, the other volunteers and I would pair up with a local teacher and talk to different students’ families at their home. This process gave me a real perspective of the children's background and home life; it made it clear how much the kids get out of the free education this program provides. These visits also helped the volunteers dive deeper into the ocean of Cambodian culture. The teaching itself consisted of English, Math, Art, and Music. We'd also play football with the students on Thursdays and Sundays, it was kickin' (feel free to think of a better football pun). Apart from the time spent with the students, "Frontier's" project coordinator Nick (whom I rumored to be friendly earlier) showed all of us volunteers an awesome time. Our constant trips to local restaurants, markets, beaches, etc. always made sure that nobody was feeling bored, and also allowed us as much independence as we wanted. Moreover, Nick had many cambodian friends who we got to hang out with casually, teaching us even more about the life of Cambodian people. Due to the great social vibes from all the people involved in the project and the obvious impact that's being made in the student’s lives, I highly recommend the Siem Reap teaching project. If I had known how great it'd before signing up, I would have planned to stay longer. But alas, I'm off. Do this project if you like kids, making friends, helping out, and/or fun. If you don't like any of those things then obviously steer clear of this great project.

Program: TEFL
Location: Cambodia
Posted: Mar 18, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Global Vision International (GVI)

The decision to participate in GVI Laos’ teaching program was simply one of the best things I have ever done. The GVI staff I worked with were incredibly dedicated, professional and friendly. I was wonderfully surprised with the level of organisation and support offered by the staff who I felt did their upmost to ensure that we were able to contribute and participate as fully as possible; giving us the support needed to build confidence and skills while allowing us to develop a level of independence that left me confident to teach a class unassisted by the end of the second week.
The two classes I was involved with gave me the opportunity to interact with Lao locals from a range of backgrounds, skill levels and settings. I was lucky enough to teach in a picturesque monastery school situated a little way out of town a surrounded by forest where I taught introductory classes to Novice monks aged from around 6-15.
The entire experience was amazingly rewarding. All the students I had the pleasure of interacting with were hardworking, dedicated and so appreciative of the work we were doing. Although I was only on the program for a month and had no previous teaching experience, I felt that I was able to play a real part in improving the life opportunities of the students I worked with.
I would encourage anyone wanting to make a positive impact while travelling or wanting to experience a culture beyond the tourist experience to seriously consider undertaking the GVI Laos teaching program. My only regret is that I did not stay longer.

Program: TEFL
Location: Laos
Posted: Feb 21, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
8

Frontier

Frontier Madagascar really gave me all that I was looking for with a very well organised and massively rewarding programme which really pushed me in every way. Not only did I find that I was quickly absorbed into the culture of the country but also was suddenly very much aware that I was an important person for hundreds of children who would wait on every word I would pronounce in English as if it was the first word they had ever heard in the language - for some I think it was!

The support structure in country was outstanding, everyone was along the same line of thinking and I felt quickly at home. The staff really understand the importance of the projects and are fiercely loyal to their volunteers. I cannot recommend it thoroughly enough!

Considering I was here for a few months, I felt that I had excellent value for money from the project. Every day was a new adventure and my fellow volunteers all felt similarly. Go ahead and volunteer with Frontier on any of their projects - you won't regret it!

Program: TEFL
Location: Madagascar
Posted: Feb 15, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Travel to Teach

I have travelled and worked with other organisations before and it is hard to find one that you can 100% rely on. From the second I arrived in Chiang Mai I was greeted by a smiley staff member at the airport. I was then given a tour of the city and driven to our dorm where I was surprised to see 10 other volunteers happy to greet me. This really helped calm my nerves of being in a foreign place. Everyone made a huge effort to make me feel comfortable and included me from the get go. I didn't actually start teaching until after my teaching lesson and thai language crash course (which was given to me a few days after my arrival). The teaching schedules were not as strict as I thought it would be, very different to Australia, so you just need to be flexible as they have a lot of public holidays and religious celebrations. There are endless resources to plan your lessons, and there is always someone who is willing to help you when you struggle. Even if you are given time off, you have the option to teach at the local orphanage, which was a great experience.

I definitely recommend staying for more than 4 weeks, as I was only there for four weeks and I didn't want to leave!

Program: TEFL
Location: Thailand
Posted: Dec 19, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Language House TEFL - Prague

I just recently graduated from The Language House Prague and would encourage anyone who is interested to take it! This opportunity is unlike any other. The staff is completely devoted to your success and focused on your ability to reach your full potential. I was daily amazed by their selflessness and student-focused agendas. The teachers believe whole-heartedly in providing you with a safe, supported and nurturing learning environment, all the while, pushing you beyond what you feel capable of doing. Being that they are all TEFL teachers themselves, they truly can relate and walk along-side of you. They never stop encouraging and challenging you! This course really pushes you and is very intensive, but it's extremely worthwhile and will prepare you for both living and working abroad. In just 4 weeks, I feel confident to teach because I know I've been taught by the best! If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me (eochsgregory@gmail.com). Go TEFL.

Program: TEFL
Location: Czech Republic
Posted: Oct 9, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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