Teaching Traveling: Is it worth it to take an online TEFL certification course to travel by teaching abroad? Here’s an interview with a young woman named Laura Mcloughlin that dives into her experience with exactly this. Laura, tell us about your background.
Laura: I am from Nottingham, England and have taught English for 5 years now. I used to work at the University of Nottingham and got tired of the grind. I wanted to travel and experience new cultures, and although England is a wonderful place, it didn’t fulfill everything I wanted in life.
I had spent the earlier half of 2011 travelling around South East Asia with my boyfriend. We didn’t really have a plan or purpose: just to be enlightened by new cultures, scenery and ways of life. I loved it so much I knew I wanted to return, but next time with a purpose.
I mulled over my options for a return visit, and after receiving a recommendation from a girl on a bus between the cities of Hue and Hoi An in Vietnam, I decided South Korea, the “Hermit Kingdom.” as it’s often called (although I felt more of a hermit being despicably unaware of anything Korean, even the demarcation between the North and South), would be an extremely attractive option. So post-travelling I returned to England and signed up for an online course to be certified to teach English abroad.
I was a bit scared to start teaching as I really didn’t know anything about it, but I completed my TEFL certificate online with a course called Global TEFL, and that provided me with the confidence to teach.
TT: Interesting! How did your transition from the online course to an in-person teaching job go? Did the course help you get hired?
L: The course did indeed help me get a job, and my first teaching experience was in Asia, where I was hired teaching girls at Gimhae Girls Middle School in Gimhae, South Korea. It was a great experience
The students were kind, hilarious and hormonal; teenagers are the same the world over. The regular teaching schedule is built on a foundation of memorizing grammar and improving listening skills. The students could write and understand, but struggled to produce English sentences themselves.