I only entered the world of TEFL later in life than most. I completed my CELTA in 2000 aged 37 after almost 20 years in the hospitality industry. I spent the first six months teaching in London to ‘find my feet’ and then took the plunge and left for China in early 2001. I have been abroad since then.
Within the first few years of teaching, I became a Director of Studies for EF English First in Taiyuan, China and this lead to an offer to go back to South Africa in 2004, to set-up EF’s recruitment and training office in Sandton. This was my first experience of teacher training. In early 2007 I applied to work on the British Council’s Libyan English Teaching in Universities Project (LETUP) as a teacher trainer but when the opportunity arose to become a Senior Trainer, I needed more than a CELTA, so I chose to do the Trinity DipTESOL at Oxford TEFL in late 2007. I passed, loved it and my career really started to take shape.
In 2009, I made the next move with the British Council, to the DPRK (North Korea) as a Senior Trainer and become the project manager the following year. During my five years living and working in Pyongyang, we grew the project from working in three universities to ten and more importantly were given the opportunity to work with and train English teachers from more rural and provincial towns around Korea. For me personally and professionally this was one of the most rewarding posts I’ve had the pleasure to work in. I also had the opportunity to meet and work with an incredible team of British Council trainers, support staff in Beijing and wonderful humanitarians and diplomats from various United Nations bodies, Non-government Organisations and embassies.
In January 2015 I was honoured to be awarded an MBE for services to English language teacher training in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea!
Andrew is presently a Senior Training Consultant on the British Council’s Punjab Education and English Language Initiative (PEELI) project in Pakistan and is about to start a full time MA in Education and Development back in the UK.
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