The TEFL Life: A TEFL blog

a story about bad grammar and non-existent punctuation and my TEFL adventures

What it means to be a TEFL teacher

Since it is basically the end of the year, I thought I’d end off 2015 with a personal reflection. Not usually my vibe, but it’s a beautiful summer evening, I’ve had a glass of wine and I’m feeling all nostalgic and stuff, so why the hell not?

This journey of mine started all the way back in 2003. I had just graduated with a degree in Psychology and Literature and was just realising how pointless it was. Instead of conquering the world in my dream career (which I didn’t know what it was yet), I was answering phones in a pizza takeaway shop.

I don’t even remember how I found out about TEFL but I decided to enrol on a TEFL course and for the next month worked my butt off. Why? Because from day 1 I knew it was something I wanted to do. Even before the course had ended I had booked a ticket to Thailand and was eagerly awaiting the day I would fly away, away from normality, away from my not-very-exciting existence, to a place where anything could happen, where adventures were waiting, where nobody knew my name. Soon I found myself in a red, yellow and blue classroom with a room full of 7-year old Thai children watching me expectantly as the sweat dripped slowly down my legs. I remember feeling like they were expecting me to either blow up or fall apart (literally), but instead I stood there not really doing anything. I’ll be the first to admit it wasn’t the greatest lesson ever.

But that’s how it all began.

Being a TEFL teacher has taken me travelling and introduced me to so many people I now call friends. (If I ever decided to go adventuring again I’m pretty sure I could couchsurf all around Europe, Asia and South America.) But possibly the best thing about being a TEFL teacher is how it has changed me. All those thousands of hours spent in a classroom has done for my self confidence what I never imagined possible. I really believe that my experiences as a TEFL teacher – both in the classroom and out – have created a person I was never going to become on my own, if that makes sense. If I hadn’t decided to become a TEFL teacher, I would be a much beiger version of my now-sparkling self.

For all the hair-pulling frustration of teaching kindergarten and teenagers (because it’s not all rainbows and butterflies), I have been able to learn so much about the world and its people through my students, I have been given a course on human nature and human behaviour, and I have been introduced to the wonderfully crazy world of English.

So there. Even though I’m not sure where 2016 is going to take me (hopefully somewhere warm and tropical), I am sure my TEFL journey will continue.





One comment on “What it means to be a TEFL teacher

  1. Pingback: 5 Reasons Not To Be a TEFL Teacher | The TEFL Life: A TEFL blog

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This entry was posted on December 29, 2015 by in General TEFL, Uncategorized and tagged , , , .
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