My friend and I are on our i-to-i.com Cambodia Adventure trip which is a 21 day trip in Cambodia. It includes sightseeing in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, a 5 day placement in a school teaching English, the online 100 hour TEFL course and 6 days at the beach.
Firstly, we arrived to find there is someone else on the trip who is on this trip but didn't have to do the TEFL 100 hour online course or get a police clearance which we had to do.
Secondly, STEP 2 of the unprofessionalism of this organisation was the actual teaching experience in itself. As I had booked this trip through i-to-i.com which specialises in TEFL courses, I expected an amazing, PROFESSIONAL 5 day placement in a public school where I would be surrounded by experienced teachers and be teaching a class with a regular teacher – gaining experience from the teacher and teaching the course syllabus applicable to the students at the stage of the syllabus they were at, at the time we are in that school for our placement.
I was sorely disappointed. What we got instead was placement in a 2 room after school programme run by a guy whose English was so bad that he couldn’t even communicate with us. The students in the school went to normal schools during the day and in the afternoons, from 3-6pm came to this after school programme for English lessons. There were absolutely no resources OR ANY other TEACHERS here during the days we were there. We weren’t even provided with a course book. We were just told – teach them whatever you want. Not even told what level the students were, what they knew or didn’t know, what they were learning the week before. No information. Just, assigned classes (by ourselves with no other teacher there) and told to just teach them whatever we wanted.
This is not what I had expected. The whole POINT of doing this trip was to have guidance from the teachers already doing this job and gaining confidence in teaching a class.
Not just chucked into a room full of kids with no information what so ever and told to teach them.
It was seriously, a cowboy set up. Four afternoons we went to this school and basically, ended up teaching the same stuff as we were told not to introduce anything new and just repeat. This itself was fine but since it was a cowboy operation, the students levels were all varied and it was hard to determine who was learning anything new, anything at all or even if they were interested in learning in some cases.
And if all this wasn’t bad enough, we were expecting a 5 day placement. But the Friday happened to be on the Chinese New Year and thus, the school was closed so we only got a 4 day placement. So day 5 was just being stuck in this little village, with absolutely nothing to do. Again, that is not a problem. But surely, if this was a PROFESSIONAL organisation, they should have known that it was Chinese New Year’s so most likely schools would be closed and factored that into the itinerary.
I got the impression that there had been no due diligence down by i-to-i.com in relation to the entire experience. The only thing this experience gave me was clarity that teaching in SE Asia is a horror. And not something I would do EVER again.
The worse thing is that we paid so much money for this experience. Whereas talking to other people in the country, I discovered that I could have actually come to Cambodia as I had planned, gone to a school and they would have happily welcomed us and would have loved for us to spend time in their schools and teach – WITHOUT having to PAY for the experience and/or doing the TEFL course. I met someone who was doing EXACTLY that.
I am TOTALLY UNIMPRESSED WITH THIS ENTIRE TRIP FROM THE START TO THE FINISH.
The 5 days of teaching felt like a waste of our time. I don’t feel as if the students got anything out of it apart from being interrupted from their usual learning and we definitely did not get anything out of it apart from an aversion to teaching.
6 days at the beach is incredibly long. There is not much to do here and just feels like the company is padding out the tour to fleece clients. This trip is definitely NOT worth the money that we paid for it.
So overall, this trip is badly organised, and terrible quality. I will definitely not be recommending the trip or your organisation to ANYONE. I feel I have wasted 2 weeks of my life in the village and in Sihanoukville doing nothing productive.