July 21-30, 2014
I decided that I am just going to make my post on training all inclusive of the entirety of training. When you do an intensive TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course in 9 days a lot can happen.
We had two main trainers with HESS: Brynn and JK, and they did an amazing job keeping us going and making sure to cover all the points that we would need to know about the curriculum and HESS teaching style.
Training involved a variety of activities such as name games, learning to teach games, grammar, sentences, songs, reading, etc.
In order to pass training we also had to do demos. The demos were judged by current HESS teachers, and they involved either Phonic, Reading, Sentences, or Activities which involves a song. Have you ever had a song stuck in your head and you just can never get rid of it? Well that is the RECYCLE song for me. Let me give you a little bit of a taste of how the Recycle song goes: R-E-C-Y-C-L-E, Earth is home for you and me, R-E-C-Y-C-L-E, pick it up, use it again! Now imagine an entire song like this with actions, and then you have to teach it. It is a mixture of fun and straight up ridiculousness.
I passed all of my demos, and besides a few minor details that I needed to fix I was very pleased with the outcome of my demos. Both reviews said I had a very nice teacher voice (I still don’t know what that means), and that they think the kids will really like me. I am really glad that everything turned out fine for how nervous I was. They told us from day one that if you are not putting in the effort to become a good teacher and they do not see a change from your teaching after Day 1 then HESS will have no choice but to ask you to leave. This was rather off-putting seeing that I had just spent a lot of money to move halfway across the world only to be told that if I do not do well in training then I will be given the boot. It was a great way to instill motivation in me I guess.
After Day 1 of training our group of 52-ish teachers were put into 13 different groups. I was a part of Group 13 (“Lucky 13”). A points system was created to rewards us for our participation and the trainers told us that the winning group would receive new “Hi-Pads”. I don’t know what it was but after a couple of days my group started kicking butt. At the end of training Group 13 ended up winning the group challenge, but we did not get Ipads. We did however get a bag full of HESS goodies that would help us with our teaching and give us new ideas for games and such. I am very grateful to be with such a good group and learn from them as we went along with training. One of my group members was actually my roommate at the hotel so I was able to spend more time with her and really bond.
Another part of gaining points was your whole group had to be signed in, seated together, with your name tags on. Well when some of the NSTs (Native Speaking Teachers is our official title) forgot their name tag they would create a new one for the day.
Oliver’s new name tag was by far the most creative. He made sure it was the exact font and HESS logo as his original name tag. Oh, and just so you know Group 13 never lost check-in or name tag points. 😉
Now just because we were in training does not mean that things did not get a little bit silly. When you spend from 9:00am-6:30pm in one room you can get pretty bored. Not to mention the chairs that we were sitting in were really uncomfortable. I think my bottom is still trying to recover. We had giant windows in the training room so I always liked to look out the window at what was going on outside.
After all the hard-work we put in for training we reached graduation and contract signing day. We all dressed up and were introduced to our Area Manager. My Area Manager is Julie Jo. By 6:00pm on July 30, 2014, I was a contracted and signed Native Speaking Teacher (NST). HESS provided a reception of food and drink and we gave thank yous to our awesome trainers.
A group of the new NSTs decided to do one last hooray before we left for a branches, so we did a KTV party later on in the evening. KTV is pretty much a karaoke party in a private group that is big enough to hold everyone in your party. Sometimes there might be food and drinks involved. You also have your own separate bathroom if you are in a fancy KTV. It was soooo much fun! We were all singing and dancing our hearts out. Although karaoke sounds kind of lame it was not. It really was a great way to end the training and see everyone one last time before we left the next morning.