Life after TEFL – Malaga, Seville and China!
Nationality:Welsh / British
What were you doing before your TEFL Course?:
Before enrolling on the TEFL course in Spain I was doing a mixture of things; travelling, working in various temporary jobs in retail, hospitality etc. Basically trying to figure out what I wanted to do now that I’d graduated Uni!! I had always had TEFL in the back of my mind as something that I wanted to try but during my time at Uni there was no opportunity to undertake a TEFL module or anything so the idea fell to the back of my mind really. After I graduated I felt that I wanted to take some time and explore the world so I took a gap year and went travelling for 10 months in Indonesia, Thailand, Latin America and the USA. On returning to the UK, I needed to make some money so I worked for a year or so doing the usual thing, retail, bar work, that kind of thing. When I finally became bored of not doing very much with my life I decided to act on this TEFL plan that had been floating around in my head for so long.
What made you decide to take the TEFL Course in Malaga, Spain?:
I did so much research whilst trying to decide which course to take: a TESOL or a CELTA? Do I stay in Europe or maybe go further afield to Asia? Should I do a homestay? I had a mountain of pro/con lists and in the end decided to study in Malaga because the environment seemed to be a good fit for me. I had taken some Spanish classes whilst travelling and I wanted to develop that further, the good weather, close vicinity to lots of beaches and lively nightlife were all definitely on the pro list and the assistance in finding accommodation in Malaga with other TEFL students in a good location put my mind at ease. But probably the main reason why I chose to study in Malaga was because of the modules available: the mix of theory and practical, the methodologies used and the unknown language module all seemed really interesting and exciting and exactly what I was looking for from my TEFL experience.
What was your overall experience on the TEFL Course?:
I know I sound like a broken record and it’s what everyone always says about Tefl: it’s stressful and intense! But at the end of the day most worthwhile things are right?! And I think the only reason you feel so under pressure is because you want to do well, and the tutors want you to push yourself and become the best teacher you can be. Overall, the experience has taught me a lot about myself and forced me to deal with personal issues like self-confidence and patience. But mostly I feel like I’ve gained a weird, slightly dysfunctional, international family.
Were there any highlights or funny moments on the course?:
So many highlights and so many memories from such a short period of time. As a class, we all became very close and I’m still in contact with most of the other teachers from the course. Because we all became good friends, we would socialise a lot together on the weekends and study together in the evenings and regardless of the stress and the pressure we were all feeling we always had a laugh together. I have countless hysterical videos and photos of everyone larking around and generally being a little bit childish.
What have you been doing since gaining your TEFL qualification?:
Immediately after the course, I travelled around Malaga and Andalusia a little bit just to explore some other cities where I may want to live and work and I found a short term contract in Seville at a small academy just outside the city. I worked there for 4 months and loved every second! I was really lucky to be able to teach a broad range of students from 5 years up to adult learners and a range of abilities. Although a large portion of the lessons were exam preparation classes, in particular the teenagers and adult learners, there was still plenty of scope to be interactive and emphasise communication in the classes.
I have just returned to Wales from Seville and plan to spend the summer here catching up with family and taking a few short backpacking trips with friends before I move onto the next adventure in October: teaching in China!!
Where will you go from here?
So yeah China……still seems surreal that I’ll be living and working in China for at least a year, hopefully longer if it goes well and I’m enjoying it out there.I’ll be working for EF, teaching adults in a city called Shenzhen which is close to Hong Kong. I never thought that I would be heading over to somewhere so completely different to my home country but I have to say, I’m so ecstatically excited!!! And to be honest, I probably wouldn’t have accepted the position without the encouragement of one of my TEFL tutors, Diederik. He really gave me the push I needed just to go for it!
Do you feel TEFL has changed your life?
It has definitely opened up a lot more doors and given me broader opportunities than I would have had without the accredited Trinity CertTESOL Certificate. I have friends and contacts from all over the world now as a result and there’s no way I could have landed such a good job in China without it so yes, I suppose it has changed my life and I’m sure my life will continue to grow and change far into the future as a result of my decision to undertake a TEFL certificate in Spain.