I started out as a TEFL teacher with a similar vision to most, I’ll do this for a year or two, travel the world, meet interesting people and then get a real job. Almost 15 years later, I’m still Tefling. How did this happen and what was my TEFL career path?
First of all I realised that teaching English was not as ‘easy’ as I thought it would be. Like any I made the assumption that because I spoke English I would be able to teach it. How hard could it be? Well, it is pretty hard if you want to do it well. So to the first reason I am still here- it is challenging and therefore interesting.
Secondly, I did meet lots of interesting people. I taught general English to all ages, business English and exam English in my first year of teaching, as most Tefl teachers do. I met a wide spectrum of people and found myself switching between different contexts two or three times a day. Not many jobs offer this possibility. It was fascinating to get a glimpse into different corporate cultures and this is the area I found myself drawn to the most. I taught in-company English for about 6 years.
I was lucky to work for a school that valued continuing professional development and soon I took the next step on my TEFL career path and I started giving workshops on how to teach. Realising I really enjoyed this, I started to think about further challenging myself and I did the Diploma! This was a real turning point as I quickly started diversifying into teacher training and writing. The variety I had found in teaching was now expanded into other areas of ELT. Again, I wondered what other professions could offer me this. Well, professions you can enter while living abroad anyway. Not many!
Another reason I am still here. I enjoy living in Spain and my job affords me this possibility.
For about 4 years I did teacher training at Certificate level and continued teaching business English and general English to all ages. Then, I started working on the Diploma course doing teaching observations. This was a further challenge which I felt I was ready for so I decided to make teacher training my main focus, and steer my TEFL career path in that direction.
A few years on I am now course director on the Diploma course at Oxford TEFL, and thoroughly enjoying the role. I work with teachers from all over the world as well as a wonderful team of trainers. I continue to be challenged and to challenge myself doing conference talks and workshops.
So…, that’s how it happened!