TEFL Success Stories – Part 65

David – London

Rapport is crucial to me. It is the first thing I need in order to start teaching effectively. Students’ receptiveness and interest increases dramatically when they feel comfortable with both the teacher and each other. Their concentration increases. They start to pay attention to the other students. They are happier to bounce off each other, throw out suggestions and ideas, make mistakes and be corrected without feeling uncomfortable or foolish. They crack jokes and banter and focus.

It’s not something I usually struggle with. The longest it has ever taken me to take a class of individuals and make them feel confident in me and comfortable with each other – to feel excited and interested – is a week. Ten days absolute tops, or my pride is dented. Students quickly recognize that I see them as individuals, that I am tailoring my classes according to their needs. I have a stock of small humorous anecdotes that I can pull out of my bag to lighten the mood and on a good day I can get a few easy laughs. I get students to open up and create a group mentality. I cannot say this too many times: for me to teach effectively, it is absolutely crucial that I have good rapport with the students.

But it’s been three weeks now and everything I have tried has gotten me nowhere. The relationships in the class are as warm and friendly as a funeral procession. The students have no energy and little desire to interact with each other, let alone me. Zippo, Zilch, Nada, Nista, Nic. Nothing.

Part of the problem is that half the class is composed of part timers who zip in and out at random, which creates a very disjointed feel to the class. The energy and relationships in the class shift and change on a daily basis. Part of the problem is that the rest of the students – the full timers – are just…awkward. Let me show you what I mean:


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ITatiana used to teach Beginners English in Brazil, and has a level that is well above advanced. She is pushy, demanding and just as focused as Piotrek, if not more so. About twice a lesson she responds to something I have said with a little surprised “Hm!” as if to say she didn’t know that, how on earth could that be? She seems to have absolutely no concept that other students have needs as well as her, and because she is the most advanced student she feels she has a right to dominate the class. My favourite sentence that she has come out with so far is that “most people study English to pass exams.” Passing the exam is her personal mantra. We have sparred on a number of occasions as I have tried to balance what she wants with what I feel teaching should be about. It has been a battle that I have steadily lost.

With all of these malign forces arrayed against me, it’s almost inevitable that I am going to come down with a cold as well. Thursday was another typical example of the whole everything going wrong. The WMD Slovakian that I offended a couple of weeks ago was making sniping comments on my left. Maria the brick wall was sitting directly opposite me giving me her blank faced attitude. Tatiana the pass the exam student was dominating the class. Piotrek was sitting detached, working through his exercises. The rest of the students were simply passive quiet, or confused. Getting a whole sentence out of my other Brazilian was like extracting a tooth. Christians have been thrown to more cooperative lions, I swear.


Our TEFL Certificate course is held at the gorgeous Sunset Club in Zorritos. Sunset Club is a private club and hotel where you will study surrounded by palm trees and overlooking their stunning private beach. Our training site is located within metres of the ocean which provides a lovely breeze and a breathtaking view. The club has various swimming pools, bars, a restaurant, tennis courts, a soccer pitch and a playground.

Included in your TEFL course fee is lunch daily at Sunset Club for the duration of the course, as well as a private taxi twice daily from your accommodation to the club, as it is located approximately 15 minutes from the centre of Zorritos. You can also choose to stay at the club for the duration of course, which we offer in our Course Packages.  


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