Tuesday, 4 October 2011

How I started TEFLing

Over the years people have asked me how I got into TEFL, so here's my story.

I had orginally wanted to teach literature and was going to declare secondary education as my major in university. However, after my first semestre I decided to study Studio Arts, which was my choice, as well as Business Management, which was my father's.

I had enough credits through CLEP tests, studying at a community college while I was homeschooled, and taking summer classes that despite have a double major and a minor and spending 3 semestres at other universites and 2 summers abroad, I still graduated early and with honours to boot. 

While at university I had the chance to spend a semestre studying in California, Spain, and did an internship in Washington DC. While in California I was able to spend Thanksgiving break in Venezuela and winter break in Taiwan teaching English in both places and I was hooked. That summer I went to China to teach English as well. The following summer after I studied in Spain, I worked in Scotland. I had caught the travel bug and the TEFL bug.

I had a job lined up after graduation to teach in Venezuela, but things were very bad at that time: embassy stuff and missionaries were being evacuated. In addition, there was a mass transport strike so I could get to the capital, but there was no transport to where I was supposed to work , which was on the other side of the country. Even though I had my flight and visa, 10 days before I was supposed to go I cancelled.

I decided to take a one month intensive TEFL course instead and booked a flight to the Czech Republic. The course was great and I was able to do a short internship in a small town afterwards. The woman who owned the TEFL programme was expanding to China and I was offered a job to teach in a small town there. I went back to the US for about 6 weeks to wait for my visa and then was on my way to China.

I took the course in January 2003 in the Czech Republic and in March 2003 was in China teaching English. I've been TEFLing since then and have taught in Peru and Korea as well. I've done things I never thought I'd do; I got married in 2006, became a Peruvian citizen in 2009, and will be having a baby next month. Over the years I got a Masters in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and a Masters in Professional Education and Training. I've published a couple of articles, given presentations, and attended workshops and conferences. My next goals are to do the Trinity Diploma and take the SIT Training course.

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