I have actually completed 2 course with ABCi, the first back in 2014; with not teaching experience and the second; with 4 months of teaching in Austria. The first course that I did was very light on the amount of preparation needed to teach in schools. The program is already designed with a guide that you take into class with you, each school you teach at is the same program(this is great for improving your confidence and fluency of instruction giving). After teaching for 6 lessons at school, we would drive back and have a debrief session about the day and any issues that came up. Then we would have small inputs for an hour or so every Thursday to cover some grammar and technical language. This was the first course: Fun, Easy and a great learning experience.
My second time was in 2016 and it was very different. In the years that I had been absent many of the staff members had left and the company had grown a lot, both in a good way and a bad. Let´s talk about the good first: The first course I was in a group of 4(myself and 3 girls), this meant that although I did get along with them, we were never super chummy. However, for this course living in a house with 15-20 other awesome people, all eager to learn, teach and to party. This was much better. Although living with so many people was a little bit of a chance from my normal habitations, it was nothing that I hadn´t experienced before. After spending over 2 years travelling to over 60 countries, I have spent a fair amount of time in communal housing and even many a night sleeping on a beach or out in the forest. For me, 20 new friends was a great way to improve my teaching abilities. As well and the close bonds that I made, the inputs that we had(although still rather dry) were much more informative and forced me to research and take personal initiative to improve to keep up with the workload. This did take a toll on my heath and sucked a lot of time out of my fitness schedule(the drinking didn´t help either), however in the end it left me with 100% confidence of walking into a classroom of students and teaching a lesson without any fears. I had the opportunity to live in 3 different regions of Austria, a country with unquestionable beauty. To this day, as I drive around, I am still awestruck every time I drive past through Salzkammergut or through the Alps.
Let´s get to the bad then: I´ll make this simple and just use dot points
-THIS IS NOT A FULL TIME HOLIDAY! Yes, you do have time off in the evening and weekends, however it is mostly taken up by preparation and planning. However, almost every weekend we were throwing house parties with the locals, watching the World Cup and playing football in the park.
-The growth of the organisation has meant that a lot of new staff come and go quite quickly. However, this is not all due to ABCi and the work. Austria is also a very expensive country to settle.
-The lack of appreciation that you get for teaching. This is a big one. After teaching for 6 hours and then having inputs in the afternoon. All you need is a couple of beers and a pat on the back. Then it´s all worth it. Come on ABCi, fork out a couple more bevs and the teachers will stick around a bit longer.
-Cleanliness at the accommodations. This was pretty bad at some times, however I think half of the fault were the British that really can´t look after themselves. Mum isn´t going to clean up after you, mate.
Overall, I enjoyed my time on the 2 course. Both very different. I would recommend this anyone wanting to gain experience and test what it would be like to teach. If you like it, stick around, if not, just leave. Easy.
Now to the present:
I am currently working for ABCi and have been for a year now. The difference in being a Student Teacher and being an employee are immense. For one, Austria is much more comfortable to live in when you are earning money. Hello good beer :) I spend my day driving around the country reaching out to schools to book projects, part of this meant learning more German(which I have greatly improved), this also means seeing some amazing sight and of course meeting lots of Austrian teachers that are incredibly friendly and teaching Austrian students that are so eager and amazed to interact with an Australian.