www.costaricatesol.com - ITA Costa Rica
Posted 01/10/2019

Teaching Q&A With Lukas Shadair

Teaching Q&A With Lukas Shadair


What is your citizenship?

United States of America.

What city and state are you from?

Seattle, Washington.

How old are you?


What is your education level and background?

Bachelor’s degree. International Studies major. Spanish minor.

Have you traveled abroad in the past?

Yes.  Before the TEFL course in Costa Rica, I had traveled to Panama, El Salvador, Peru, Argentina, and Chile.

If you have studied abroad in the past, where did you study?

I studied abroad in Lima, Peru.

What sparked your interest in going to teach English abroad?

I had taught English for several months in Chile after graduating from the University. After spending some time in my hometown of Seattle, I wanted to travel and teach again. I felt it would be best to get certified as an English teacher and use this as a way to travel and be employed in other countries.

What were some of your concerns before teaching abroad?

One of my main concerns was trying to teach English to students with a very low level. After the TEFL course and some personal research, I felt confident in this area, although it can still be a challenge sometimes. I was also concerned about being away from friends and family for so long.

What did your friends and family think about you moving and teaching abroad?

They were supportive. Many of my friends and family know that I like to travel and experience new places.


Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose International TEFL Academy in Costa Rica?

I do not like online classes, so I wanted to take a real class for my TEFL certificate. One of the International TEFL Academy schools is in my hometown of Seattle, but it is more expensive than the one in Costa Rica so I thought it would be fun to live in Costa Rica for a month or two since my apartment lease was ending and cost of living is cheap there. I also knew that I wanted to go to a Spanish speaking country. My TEFL advisor convinced me to choose Costa Rica over Spain due to the expense of living in Spain and the work visa situation.

Which TEFL certification course did you take?

TEFL/TESOL certification course with TESOL Costa Rica, October 2017.

How did you like the course?

I thought the course was very helpful and informative, especially preparing for the practicum and the grammar instruction.

How has your TEFL training helped you in your current teaching position?

My TEFL certification gives me more confidence as a teacher, and it has helped me significantly with class preparation.


After taking the course in Costa Rica, you chose to teach elsewhere. Which city and country did you decide to teach English in and why?

I chose to teach in Japan. The year before the TEFL course, I had applied to the JET Program in Japan and was unsuccessful. I tried again after the course and was able to make it into the program. I was placed in Yamanashi prefecture. I moved to Japan because I have always been interested in the history and culture of this country, and I wanted to get out of my comfort zone.

How long have you been in this country and how long do you plan to stay?

I have been in Japan for about 5 months. My job contract is over after one year, but I may try to get another job in Tokyo or Kyoto for next year. I have also considered moving to China, Vietnam, or the Middle East.

Tell us about your English teaching job.

I teach at a high school in one of the most rural regions in Japan. Not knowing how to speak Japanese is a struggle, but I am learning rapidly. I am an Assistant LanguageTeacher with the JET Program, which means that I work with several Japanese English teachers to create engaging English lessons for 1st graders (freshmen) and 3rd graders (seniors). I am also involved in English club, have helped out with prefectural speech contests, go to school festivals, and occasionally stop by the basketball club for a scrimmage game. I prepare and deliver classes, assign homework, and grade exams and journal assignments. I also help out other English teachers when I can. I enjoy working in the Japanese public school system. Where I currently reside is a beautiful place with Mt. Fuji and Mt. Yatsugatake clearly visible from my school.


What advice would you give someone considering teaching abroad?

Be open to new experiences and be ready for the frustration that occurs when trying to communicate with someone who does not speak any English. Setting up your bank account, dealing with phone/internet situations, and even going to restaurants requires patience. View it as a learning experience and grow.

Would you recommend taking the course in Costa Rica before teaching elsewhere? What are the benefits?

I found the class to be informative, and the practicum was extremely helpful. The instructors did a great job at conveying the necessary information for teaching English abroad. The “Pura Vida” culture of Costa Rica is definitely something you should experience in your life, and I certainly enjoyed the camaraderie of my classmates. I would definitely recommend the course in Costa Rica even if you are planning on teaching elsewhere.

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