Teach Conversational English
in Eastern Europe, China and Turkey
FAQs BY TEACHERS
Q. How long is this program?
A. Usually, one month in July - three weeks of teaching and one week travel in the host country. Starting dates vary.
Q. Do I get paid to do this?
A. The BFE teachers do not receive a salary or a stipend. They receive three weeks room and board while they teach, weekend trips and one week travel
with the team afterwards.
Q. Who pays the airfare?
A. BFE provides an extremely low cost program to live and work in Eastern and Central Europe for one month in the summer. In return for teaching conversational English, you receive three weeks room and board in a dormitory, and one week travel. You must pay for your airfare and BFE administrative costs to develop these programs. The contribution to BFE is tax deductible. In other words, you receive a month in another country and your airfare, and you volunteer work is tax deductible. Prices vary depending on departure and destination each year.
Q. Any other charges?
A. There is no other charge from BFE to join this program. However, if you wish to buy souvenirs, or eat other than where the group is eating, or travel other than with the group, that cost is to be paid by you. BFEstrongly recommends that you buy pesonal travel and health insurance. Please read carefully all details in your travel and health insurance policies.
Q. What do we receive on the last week of travel?
A. Hotels and meals, transportation, guides, tickets to museums, operas, concerts, etc., as arranged and determined by the host country. All paid for by the host country.
Q. Do the students travel with us?
A. Only the members of the BFE team travel together on the last week of touring.
Q. How do we pay the cost to BFE?
A. Visit the page Information for Teachers - Costs to learn the details and the latest information on the costs.
Q. What are the accomodations like<
A. We stay in boarding schools and college dormitories. We stay together as a group. There are two teachers per room. Bathrooms may be in each room or down the hall. There is no air conditioning. When possible, Group Leaders will have pictures of their camp sites.
Q. Where do we eat our meals?
A.In a cafeteria. The food is what the locals eat. Special restricted diets usually can not be accommodated.
If you are a vegetarian, then ask that you not be served meat. Each country will have its local favorites...they may not become yours...but try to like what you are served.This is an adventure, remember?
Q. What is the food like?
It is good, filling, often plain food. It is not like what you are used to eat at home. Of course, you are not at home. If perfect is your favorite word, stay home. This is not for you.
Q. Do we eat meals with the students?
A. Yes, every moment is used to foster conversational English. Some of your most relaxing and enjoyable moments are shared over meals.
Q. Where do the students stay?
A. In the same dormitory, usually on another floor.
Q. Are we responsible for student discipline?
A. You will find that the majority of these students are most respectful and appreciative. You are not responsible for patrolling the halls at night. The host staff is responsible for student discipline. You are responsible for taking attendance in classes and properly supervising your students in all activities.
Q. What if there are problems with students?
A. Students must sign rules of the camp. They are enforced by the Camp Director. The BFE Group Leader can make
recommendations for discipline. Students may be sent home.
Q. How long do we teach?
A. Three weeks. Three hours of classes in the morning, two hours of activities in the afternoon and two to three hours for evening activities.
Q. What do I teach?
A. Conversational English. The emphasis is on making the students speak English. Our motto is, "We talk 25%, the students speak 75%".
Q. How do I do that?
A. By planning activities which force the students to talk and perform. Do not lecture. The best learning comes through an active approach.
Q. I have no experience in English as a Second Language (ESL). Can I still be selected?
A. Yes, but you must agree to come to meeting dates determined by your BFEGroup Leader. There are about five meetings on average. Your Group Leader and when possible, an ESL teacher will provide a critique of your lesson plans.These predeparture meetings are essential.
Q. What lesson plans?
A. You are required to submit five ideas with activities that will promote conversational English. These five lessons are repeated three times each morning for a week for your group level. Each week you will work with another group level. We are not a program that just accepts people and has them met at the airport. We go prepared to set up a three week program. That is why we are effective.
Q. Are the students divided according to English proficiency?
A. Yes, a quick evaluation is given at the beginning of the camp to divide the students into three or four groups. There will be beginning, intermediate and advanced groups. Each group will rotate through each team of teachers. This rotation of all the students through all the teachers each week is to develop a more "flexible ear", so they can become used to different accents.
Q. Where do I get these ideas from?
A. From your hobbies, interests, life experiences, friends and other teachers on the team. BFE has a wealth of ideas and lesson plans that have worked. But we also look to each team member to contribute their creative ideas. We believe lessons you have developed will be more interesting for you to teach and for the students to learn. You will receive a teacher handbok and a curriculum focus packet to help you prepare. Be sure to check here for links to ESL web sites.
Q. What topic would be best for this program?
A. As the purpose of Bridges for Education is to promote tolerance and understanding using English as a bridge, we emphasize activities that will promote team building, consensus, debates, leadership development, self awarness and esteem, cultural awarness, and conflict resolution.
Q. What if I still think I need help in ESL?
A. We recommend Literacy Volunteers which has a mini course in ESL. In Buffalo the cost is about $25.00 and includes supplies. They have a wonderful library with materials and they will be glad to help you in Group ESL teaching. Local colleges
and some Adult Education courses may be available in your area. Please visit your library and book stores for ESL teaching books. Also view here to see BFE webpage with useful links for teaching ESL.
Q. What if I have no teaching experience?
A. BFEwill select educated adults and college and high school students to join the team as teaching assistant. They will also receive training in ESL. Depending on your ability, you can be assigned your own group of students each week under the supervision of your Group Leader.
Q. Who will supervise me?
A. BFE Group Leaders are certified teachers. Thet will observe classes and hold staff meetings to discuss any problems and prepare for the daily and weekly program.
Q. What if I don't speak the local language?
A. Language proficiency is not needed. We need native speakers of English, educated adults to teach conversational English. Do not consider this an aopportunity to practise your foreign language skills on the students. They can speak their native tongue. They are paying to learn English.
Q. The students pay?
A. Yes, the students contribute something to the costs of the camp. They pay a tuition as determined by the host country and we think they should. The founding sources, the Ministry of Education, UNESCO, various foundations contribute in varying degrees to subsidize the costs of the camps country by country. That is why they have come to expect that we will send prepared teachers and teaching assistants to maximize the effect of our three week program.
Q. Can I get college credit for this program?
A. Yes, IF a college decides to award college credit for your work. Each student must negotiate for the number of credits to be earned. A contract may be drawn up by the college and the Group Leader will sign off if the work is accomplished. The requirements of the contract with the college for credit cannot interfere with the work of the BFE language camp, i.e., research in a library for a week. Work such as that must be done by the teacher after the work of the camp is finished. Group Leaders have the right to refuse to sign for work that is not done or is contrary to the goals of the camp. Therefore, those requesting college credit must reach agreement with the Group Leader prior to departure. In case of dispute, the decision of the BFE Executive Director regarding the sigining off of contracts is final.
Q. May I earn Inservice and community service?
A. Certainly, if approved by the applicant's school district and the credit to be earned does not interfere with the work of BFE.
Q. May I bring a bible?
A. Yes, but only if it is for your own purpose. BFE is not a religious or ethnic group. All teachers and students are recruited without regard to their ethnic or religious backgrounds. There is to be no proselytizing of any religion at any time while a member of the BFE team.
Q. Do I have to go with the group on the last week of travel?
A. No, you do not. But a separate travel itinerary is not provided and there is no reimbursement. If you do not travel together on the 4th week with your team or do not return on the same day as the team,
please expect that you will have to arrange your own transportation to the airport.
Any changes in travel are through the BFE travel agency. You may also extend your travel after the one month program.
Q. Who decides where we go on the last week of travel?
A. The Camp Director will have the authority to determine where you will travel within his travel budget. Negotiations with the Camp Director for possible changes in the itinerary are the authority
of the BFE Group Leader. Expect that not all wishes will be satisfied. However, most all BFE teachers are very happy with all arrangements.
Q. Do I qualify?
A. You don't know until you have been personally interview by a Group Leader.
To apply PLEASE contact:
Ms Margaret Dodge
8912 Garlinghouse Rd., Naples, NY 14512
Tel/ fax: 585-534-9344
fax to email: 810-761-9370
or go to the application page.
Q. Can I get a letter of recommendation from BFE?
A. If you do a fine job, the BFE Leaders will be glad to write a letter of recommendation for you. An experience like this will look wonderful on your resume. It will also give you great confidence and you will be changed by this great adventure. Teachers (and students) often tell us it is the best thing that ever happened to them. Your knowledge of the world will expand and your understanding of the value of other cultures will enrich your life. But like most things in life, you get out of this what you put into it.
Q. What if I like it there and decide to stay and teach?
A. On occasion, teachers have been offered jobs to teach for the school year in these countries. It is the decision of the teacher to accept or not. BFE does not charge for your accepting such an offer. But it is your responsibility to make these arrangements. This can be a good way for you to explore the possibility of living and staying in Eastern and Central Europe as a teacher. You can visit your possible school and personally meet those you will be working with before you agree to work there.
Bridges for Education challenges you to be more than you are. We guarantee uncertainly. We promise things will go wrong. That is how life really is. But we also provide a fantastic opportunity to do good and be much appreciated. How often do you get the chance to do that?