After resigning and travelling around the world for a while, I started to look at my options for earning money again. While expanding my professional network on LinkedIn, I came across someone who had a similar background to mine but was living in Thailand. Curious as to how she ended up there, I dropped her an email. She is the Course Director for SAMUI TEFL, a school that teaches you how to teach English as a foreign language. Something inside me clicked. Could this be it? Could this be the rewarding career that I had been searching for? There was only one way to find out and after some emails back and forth, I signed up for the course and less than 6 months later, my airplane touched down on the small tropical island of Koh Samui in Thailand.
What happened over the next month was incredible. Not only did I explore the small island, drink coconut milk, eat fresh seafood, swim in the sea, snorkel, hire a moped and get to know some incredible people, I also found something that I really enjoyed doing - teaching! The course was, at times, intense but always thorough. We relearnt things that I had long forgotten from my school days, we recapped grammar in a way that I actually understood, learnt some common language problems that the Thai people struggle with, classroom management, teaching methods, CV writing, interview skills and much, much more. We discussed, we debated, we learnt and we had fun.
The second week was the start of our teaching practicals. We had to prepare a lesson and teach it to a class of children. For the first lesson, I was so nervous, I thought I might throw up on the journey there. But once I started, I absolutely loved it. The little faces looking up at me, shyly trying to repeat the words I was teaching, the wonderful carefree giggling and the group greeting of “Good morning, teacher!” just stole my heart. Something inside me changed.
I understand teaching is not everyone’s calling. Some people are more comfortable with it than others but I am glad that I tried. I am glad that I found a course that ensured that I was not only thoroughly prepared with the theory but that I also had more than 8 hours of practical teaching experience. Not all courses offer that. I shudder to think how I would have felt leaving the course and heading out into the big world of teaching without that experience. It prepares you, gives you confidence and allows instructor feedback so you can recognise both your strong qualities and the areas which need more work.
I understand there are online courses on offer. How can you gain teaching experience through an online course? I much preferred having my course instructor right there to answer my questions, calm my fears and give me encouraging pushes when I needed them. A course instructor who spent time making sure everyone understood and was comfortable with what was being learnt, a course instructor who shared her multitude of industry contacts to increase all our chances of getting a job after the course, a course instructor who encouraged us all to send our CV’s out daily and to chase emails. In short, a course instructor who cared, really cared.
I can quite confidently say, Samui TEFL’s course changed my life. I am now working at one of the best private schools in Hat Yai in southern Thailand and it is because of Rosanne’s contacts, her commitment to her course, her encouragement and her endless energy.
If you want to make a difference to your life and someone else’s life, learn to teach English and do it on a tropical island with SAMUI TEFL. You’ll never look back.