Saturday, July 8, 2017

Catching up...

Catching up…

Hello, TKW Family. It’s been a while, but that doesn’t mean things have been quiet – in fact, quite the opposite!

This is to catch you up on some of the major changes we’ve undergone in the last half year. For those of you who are not in the know, we are no longer based in Observatory, TKW’s home for three amazing years. It might also surprise some of you to know that we no longer occupy fixed premises, but this is all part of our grand evolution into a – dare I say it? – pop-up school! TKW is now free to go wherever our services are needed. 
Remember this?
For now, we have partnered with Language Link College in Rosebank, Cape Town, where we host our highly acclaimed 120-hour in-class TEFL/TESOL course. We’ve had a great run so far, having successfully hosted three TEFL courses there already.

While TEFL/TESOL training has to date been our primary concern, we’ve expanded our services to include job placement in the EFL industry. Opportunities are available to any native English speaker with a valid 120-hour in-class TEFL/TESOL qualification. Contact us directly for more information.

But what about our other services, like our language programmes for foreign and second language speakers? Well, we’re not about to leave any family member out in the cold, so here is what we can do for you:  

If you’re a foreign student in need of an English language school, but don’t know where to begin looking, TKW can help you. Our intimate knowledge of the language centre industry in Cape Town puts us in a unique position where we are able to guide you, give you advice on courses that would best fit your needs and budget, and ultimately help you find a school that is right for you. Our school-finding service will cost you nothing as we would receive a referral fee from the school you decide to study with. By allowing us to help you, you help us too! And this is what family is all about.

Also, unique to TKW is our Language Improvement programme for South Africans for whom English is not a mother-tongue. Over the 10+ years of TKW’s lifespan we’ve assisted many South Africans improve their language ability, grow their confidence, and ultimately access better opportunities. Our programme has catered to local businesses and individuals, filling a much-needed gap, and it would be a travesty if we weren’t able to continue doing so. While we can no longer accommodate face-to-face classes, we can, however, bring our training to you. With a network of exceptional and dedicated teachers, we are able to match you to a tutor who will deliver training on site. We can accommodate group as well as one-to-one tuition. Contact us for a personal, professional, no obligation quote.

So, that’s hopefully caught you up. TKW’s website (cringe) is sadly out of date, but currently undergoing a major overhaul. So bear with us, we’re almost there. Keep up to date by following us on FB and stay abreast of changes as they happen, and also job opportunities – remember we’re now placing teachers.

Till next time!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

English teacher. Nice to meetcha. Blog post #9. A zest for life: find it now (or forever hold your peace) by Shannon Norman

There’re about 65 gazillion facts in this world. Just kidding! I mean, hello! How the heck would I know? Luckily for you, I’m not going to be harping on about 65 gazillion facts. You may breathe now. Instead, I would very much like to share with you just four facts that I’ve learned since becoming a TEFL trained teacher (and why you should do a TEFL course).


Fact #1: Mindset is everything…literally

Being in the TEFL industry, and more specifically, teaching at The Knowledge Workshop for almost a year and a half has expanded my mind and has changed the way I see the world. The reason for this is that TEFL takes you out of your comfort zone, and forces you to think differently. It goes without saying, therefore, that mindset matters if you’re thinking of becoming an EFL teacher.  It is important to approach TEFL with an open mind and to embrace the challenges that go hand-in-hand with doing something new. Sometimes the hardest thing about doing a TEFL course is grappling with new ideas. Once the mental shift is made, you become free to explore all sorts of options you might not have considered before.

Shannon observing ideas unfold

Fact #2: Creativity has no limit

I can’t draw to save my life, unless you count stick figures, and anyone who knows me can vouch for this. Despite my artistic shortcomings, I still consider myself a highly creative individual because of the different facets of creativity I’ve been able to explore since I entered the industry. Whether you’re a teacher or engaged in some other profession, it’s important that you seek new ways of being more creative. Creativity is not just about being able to paint, draw or sculpt. Creativity knows no bounds. In fact, you are limited only by what you cannot imagine. So when I encounter new TEFL candidates who find their creativity somewhat lacking, I don’t worry about how they’re going to get through their training. I know that our course has the power to change things around for them, and very quickly, they exceed their own expectations as creative thinking takes hold.

 Fact #3: Interpersonal skills are a must-have, okay!

It’s alright to be introverted, says me, the extrovert. But it’s not alright if it prevents you from working and communicating within a group. Adults are often the worst when it comes to this. There are adults who distance themselves from others and there are adults who take over like a 90s boy band. The thing is, if you want to be an EFL teacher, and a successful one at that, you must understand the power of working in a group and interacting meaningfully with all sorts of people, regardless of your personal preferences. Herein lies the opportunity for growth – we learn from each other!

This is what happens when TEFLers and students get together

Fact #4: Giving up is for sissies (and you’re not a sissy)

Friday, May 13, 2016

English teacher. Nice to meetcha. Blog post #8: What the heck just happened? by Shannon Norman

What the heck just happened? Shannon Norman

When the unexpected hits you it tends to leave you quite surprised, doesn’t it? Whether you like surprises or not, you can’t really run away from them. Granted, some surprises are definitely better than others. There are those which cause heartache, frustration even rage. And then there are those which keep you smiling, laughing and reminiscing days, weeks and even months after the fact. Regardless, it’s important to realise that a surprise keeps you on your toes and reminds you that life is meant to be celebrated whether you’re the centre of attention or not. I discovered this not too long ago when I came face to face with my surprise…

Setting the scene

It was a Monday evening when I received a text message from Naureen, TKW’s Office Manager and Student Liaison. Her message was simple. She asked if we could go for dinner the following evening.  In fact, she wanted to speak to me about something serious and naturally I said that I would be all ears. I felt quite pleased to be the person that she wanted to confide in.

The next day was quite busy here at TKW and I never thought about the dinner until much later in the afternoon when I asked Naureen if our ‘date’ was still on.To be honest, I was just dying to get more details out of her, but I managed not to ask too many questions.  

Lights, camera, ACTION!

“Timbuktu,” I said out loud as we approached the entrance of the restaurant. “This seems interesting,” I said excitedly, pointing at one of the quaint ornaments in the walkway.  

“Could we have a table for two, please”, Naureen asked. Despite the very specific request, we got quite a large table with a ‘reserved’ sign on it, which the waiter removed after we sat down. I thought it a little  strange, but didn’t dwell on it for longer than a couple of seconds. We spent the next few moments admiring the unique, cosy environment, filled with African masks and sculptures. I knew I was in for a treat. I later learned  that it was an authentic Ethiopian restaurant, a first for me.

Naureen gestured for the my complete  surprise, a group of TEFL graduates appeared before my eyes and not the waiter I was expecting to see. They had graduated a week before, so I was taken aback when I saw them approaching our table. There was Jayd with guitar in hand, Harry with a bunch of flowers, followed by David and Tylan. I still had no idea what was going on. I was about to tell Naureen that her boyfriend, Harry, was about to propose because that’s honestly what it looked like. But before I could get a word out, the bunch of exquisite flowers was neatly placed in front of me and the group of TEFLers broke out in song:

“We thank you, Shannon, you gave us confidence
We admire you, Shannon, you are exceptional
We admire you, Shannon, you are remarkable
We admire you, Shannon, you are irreplaceable
We thank you, Shannon, cos you believed in us
We love you, Shannon, you made it look effortless.”

Listen to the song on soundcloud!

April TEFLers singing their original composition, Thank you, Shannon.

I couldn’t believe what was happening. “All of this for me?” Jayd strummed her guitar and everyone sang to the tune, which I thought was one helluva cool tune. It was obvious that they had all made an effort to learn the song in order to pull off such a fantastic surprise.

There were a number of emotions coursing through me. I couldn’t decide whether to cry tears of joy, laugh and enjoy the moment, or bury my face in my hands.

You see, I don’t deal well with compliments. I had difficulty accepting that they appreciated my mentorship and my teaching. I mean, they were literally singing my praises, yet I couldn’t give myself a pat on the back. It was only later that I began to accept that it’s absolutely okay to feel special and regard yourself as a good teacher when moments call for it. It's important to recognise your hard work and celebrate your successes, and truly feel proud of yourself. This industry is not for lazy folk – you must be prepared to go the extra mile. And trust me, when you do, it feels good, especially when you get recognition for it!

So, to wrap up, we had an excellent evening! I asked how they managed to pull it off. It turned out that they had discussed it after their practical training. Harry organised with Naureen to get me to Timbuktu. In the meanwhile, they had composed a song, bought flowers, and a card in which they wrote special messages... Apparently I was 'very easy to work with'!

A big thank you to ALL the guys on the April TEFL course. You rocked my socks off and I will never (ever) forget the lengths to which you went to make me feel appreciated.

A very surprised and happy Shannon with
flowers and card from her April TEFL group.