Teacher Clare: My TEFL adventure so far…

Clare ditched her 9-5 to start a new career teaching English online! See how she got on...

If you’ve ever wondered whether paying for a decent TEFL certificate was worth the money, I hope my story may help you decide…

At the time of writing this, I am an online teacher, conducting lessons from my laptop in a jungle in India. I could never have done this without all the training and support I’ve received from i-to-i and my online colleagues. 

Even as a young 46-year-old grandmother, completing my Level 5 TEFL Diploma with i-to-i has been a complete life changer. I’ve gone from being an underpaid catering worker to a full-time online English teacher in just over nine months. 

Whilst travelling on a shoestring around the Americas and East Asia,I began my course, using only my iPad and phone. I found myself increasingly looking forward to doing the assignments as a welcome break from the chaos on the road! I chose to focus on becoming an online teacher because I wanted the flexibility of being able to work whenever and more importantly, wherever I want in order to be able to look after my growing family. 

I wanted a job that would challenge me intellectually and be able to bring together all the skills I’d accumulated over my 30 years of working. Teaching online is the perfect job for me; I use the latest technology, teach topics I thoroughly enjoy and get to meet interesting people – young and old – from all over the world. 

TEFL teacher Clare stood outside a temple

Prior to finding i-to-i, I’d purchased a short £19 TEFL course which took no longer than 5 hours to complete and I finished the course feeling completely unprepared to teach! So, I did some research to find something more in-depth. 

Initially, I wasn’t sure whether to sign up for the Level 3 or Level 5 Diploma. I knew I probably wanted to teach adult learners but I didn’t really know where to start. And although I imagined I’d teach online, I was open to the possibility of teaching in class too. I decided to go with i-to-i as I was looking for a properly accredited and widely recognised course with Business English, One-to-One and Online Teaching courses included and one that also had an in-class element as, even though I was hoping to teach online, I figured I might as well go the whole hog: in for a penny, in for a pound, I thought! 

When I asked i-to-i for a call back, they patiently went through every single question I had over the phone, they left no stone unturned. I am grateful to the poor chap who had to deal with my slightly over-the-top questioning! I just wanted to make absolutely sure I was making the right decision to go with i-to-i. 

The Diploma has given me more than I’d imagined. It was thorough, very challenging at times and throughout the assignment process, I received excellent feedback on how to improve my submissions. This was vital to me as I didn’t just want a certificate, I wanted to learn exactly how and what to teach. I learnt what and how to teach, including numerous tips on a whole range of topics from technology to testing, from how to develop a niche to how to deal with difficult students.

Teacher Clare teaching online

Almost immediately after completing my course, I applied to iTalki – an online platform – and was accepted within a couple of weeks. Whilst I don’t think my profile page is perfect, I don’t think I would’ve been able to get as many higher paying students as I have if I hadn’t had the training I’ve received from i-to-i. 

I’m teaching nearly 20-25 online lessons per week, charging up to $45 per hour for my advanced Business Course and am now coordinating with other online teachers in a Facebook group, through which we organise weekly online staff room meetings. This was one of the great tips I received from the course: to find your place on social media and communicate with other teachers, whilst learning from each other.

The follow-up I received from i-to-i has also been wonderful, I fully appreciate the support you’ve given me. Thank you for opening up the oyster of the world to allow me to fulfil my lifelong dream of becoming a language teacher. 

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