www.costaricatesol.com - ITA Costa Rica
Posted 02/08/2017

Teaching Q&A with Jen

Teaching Q&A with Jen

Tell Us About Yourself

What is your citizenship? I’m a United States citizen.

What city and state are you from? Portland, Oregon

How old are you? I’m 36 years old.

What is your education level and background? I have completed some college, but have not finished with a BA (yet).

Have you traveled abroad in the past? Barely

If you have traveled abroad in the past, where have you been? Canada and Mexico

What sparked your interested in going to teach English abroad? I had taken a job working for the county government in Portland, and after two months, I realized I didn’t want to be chained to a desk, working 9-to-5. That was a pivotal moment in my life. Once I realized I could teach English in another country, I was ready to take on the challenge. I wanted to travel, explore new countries, and learn different cultures.

What were some of your concerns before teaching abroad? That I was being foolish in leaving a well-paying job to travel and teach. Our society teaches us we need to have an adult “office” job to be successful, but living a full life is successful in my mind.

What did your friends and family think about you moving and teaching abroad? My dad was a little concerned, but I know it was out of love. All of my friends were excited and wanted to live vicariously through me.

TEFL Class Information

Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose international TEFL academy in Costa Rica? When I realized teaching ESL in another country was a possibility, I started researching. Getting TEFL certified seemed like a no brainer. Most schools require having a TEFL. When I searched for TEFL schools, ITA came up in the search results. I started researching ITA and read many reviews. Everyone had positive things to say about the program. I chose Costa Rica because it seemed like a good starting point in traveling through Central and South America. I was excited to explore Costa Rica, and to adventure through the country. I never had the study abroad experience when I was younger, so Costa Rica seemed like the perfect fit. Not only did I spend 4 weeks in Barva getting TEFL certified, I stayed an extra 4 weeks to backpack throughout the country.

How did you like the course? It was fantastic. Not only did I learn so much (so, so much), I became friends with all my classmates. The TEFL course was amazing. Luke and Melanie guided us through the English language, steps on teaching a successful ESL class, and how to get hired. Even if the TEFL certification wasn’t a requirement for many schools, I’d still recommend taking the course. When English is your native language, you don’t often realize why things are the way they are. Luke and Melanie were excellent teachers and I’ve recommended the Costa Rica course to many people I’ve met.

Teaching ESL

 How has your TEFL training helped you in your current teaching position? The TEFL training has been indispensable. There’s no way I could have prepared for my job without my TEFL training.

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? Cuenca, Ecuador. My girlfriend took the same TEFL class as I did, and was hired at an international language school in Cuenca. They are one of the schools that hire ahead, so she was able to procure her job before we left Costa Rica.

How long have you been in this country and how long do you plan to stay? I have been here since August 2016, and plan to stay here until June of 2018. Ecuador is a beautiful country with so many regions. I’m currently living in the Andes, but there are coastal towns to the west, and the amazon region to the east, so I’m definitely interested in exploring the country.

Tell us about your English teaching job. I’m teaching at CEDEI in Cuenca, Ecuador. The school is a nonprofit foundation that promotes diversity and understanding between different cultures. My current schedule is Monday through Thursday, from 3pm-8pm, Friday from 6pm-8pm and Saturday mornings from 8:30am-12:30pm. I teach one kids class, two intermediate classes and a beginner 101 class. The school provides the curriculum and books, and I’m free to use additional teaching materials as needed. I really appreciate the school because they provide so many resources. There are approximately 50 teachers at my school, and some have been teaching for years.

What advice would you give someone considering teaching abroad? If you’re serious, just do it. For me, this is an experience of a lifetime. Not many actually do this, because it’s scary to leave the cultural norm. Travel is so expensive, but if you can do it while working, the costs are low. Also, teaching has been so amazing. To see the students rise up in your classroom has been rewarding in knowing I’ve played a part in their education.

Would you recommend taking the course in Costa Rica before teaching elsewhere? What are the benefits? The TEFL class in Costa Rica has been invaluable. I would recommend Costa Rica to everyone. It was beautiful and fun to explore the country. If you’re going to get TEFL certified (you should, it’s helpful and most schools require it), choose a country you’re interested in. You can always move if you don’t like it. A big benefit of choosing Costa Rica, is you have Luke and Melanie, and they’re phenomenal teachers. Not only are you getting certified, you’re learning from experienced people who have taught and traveled. They’re realistic and helpful. Why wouldn’t you want that resource?

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