Initially I planned to show up Thailand with no friends, zero teaching experience and nothing more than an online TEFL certification. Instead I did the April course in Hua Hin (the largest course of the year), and it's one of the best decisions I have ever made... More on that later. First, a rundown of the course:
There was a Blue Team, Yellow Team and Red Team, all living in four or five different houses spread out in Hua Hin. Each team had around thirty people from all over the world. Class was usually eight hours a day, six days a week, held in a primary school downtown.
The course focused mainly on giving us the opportunity to get in front of a class and present a typical English lesson. There were very few PowerPoints or lectures. One student would present a speaking, listening or reading lesson of their making, the class and instructor would observe and participate and play the role of a Thai student, then at the end of the lesson constructive feedback was given.
Towards the end of the course, all students participate in a three-day English camp held at two different schools, one primary and one kindergarten, and it's an incredibly rewarding hands-on learning experience.
Fundamentally, the purpose of the XploreAsia course is to provide you the opportunity to gain real experience teaching in a classroom rather than just studying teaching methods from a book or listening to monotonous lectures.
Inside and outside the classroom, the XploreAsia staff was always dedicated to helping the students become the best teacher they can be... To overcome personal problems, fears, insecurities, uncertainties and everything else. First and foremost they are there to shape you into a good teacher, but they are also there to just be a good friend.
The opportunity to make life-long friends is one of the best things about the course. Your classmates become your family... the people you eat, sleep and drink with, laugh with, share stories and fears and dreams with... All in just one month.
At the end of course, students receive their placements—something the XploreAsia staff works on continuously from day one—and then everyone sets off on a new adventure somewhere else in the country.
The XploreAsia team is driven by deeply moral causes and visibly passionate about teaching and traveling and becoming better global citizens. Anyone who takes the course seriously will find that this dedication and passion overflows into them, making them not just a good teacher, but a better person.
And that is why choosing to do the XploreAsia course was one of the best decisions I have ever made.