When I first arrived in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico I was experiencing my first culture shock. I did not know how to speak Spanish, I was the whitest person around, and laws are few and far between. Life was different, but that is what I wanted. Teach, travel, and adventure. And that is what I received. I had the opportunity to teach in front of a class for the first time, travel to a new culture where I gained a new perspective, and to adventurethrough the nature here that is truly beautiful.
I have known for quite some time that teaching is what I want to do. Education is the paved path to everyone’s future and the cornerstone to every community. I was excited to begin my English teaching career. I completed an online TEFL certification and I thought I was prepared, but that was not enough. I had no teaching practice, and no tangible experience. I had no idea what it felt like to be responsible for the education of a classroom and have those eyes staring at you, hungry for knowledge. My confidence was shaky, but I knew that only practice and mastering the grammar was going to make me a better teacher.
I am forever thankful I received another opportunity to take the in-class intensive ICEP TEFL certification. All of the grammar I learned online was the same in class, but it did not stick in my brain the first time. I needed practice. Not only with grammar, but standing at the front of a classroom and actually teaching. Building my own techniques. Having unplanned questions asked and having the knowledge of correct answers ready to respond. Actually obtaining the teaching practice that the in-class, on-site course offers is crucial to becoming a successful EFL teacher.
Having a kind and knowledgeable TEFL trainer present to immediately give feedback and answer questions helped me immensely. That is another aspect one does not get online. I was taught and drilled with correct grammar until I knew every form, meaning, and use. I was taught different techniques to build my own communicative approach to teaching. During teaching practices I was blessed with the opportunity to teach a wide range of ages, levels, and personalities. There were a few times that I felt overwhelmed, but I persevered because I knew that this is what I wanted to do. And, now I know what it takes to not only be a great EFL teacher, but an educator.
I know the twelve tenses of the past, present, and future and all the grammar in-between. I am prepared to answer on the spot questions that may not be in my lesson plan. I am familiar with multiple intelligences, the possible differences between students and that it is important to get to know them. I know the perfect communicative balance between the four skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. I will be a teacher that keeps learning English interesting and fun, but professional. The students will talk more than listen and they will be actively speaking English.