We caught up with TEFL expert, Danny, to quiz him about his time teaching English abroad. Look familiar? That’s because he’s recently told us all about teaching English in a Summer Camp, what’s Danny the TEFL teacher like though? Read on to find out!
How Did You Get Started As a TEFL Teacher?
I wanted a way of living in Italy and learning Italian because I was sick of English weather and always wanted to speak another language, especially Italian. My housemate told me about a TEFL course at my Uni and it went from there.
Where Have You Taught?
I’ve taught for two years in Italy at a private school teaching mostly teenagers. 18 months in Japan at another private school teaching little kids and a few private 1-1 classes with adults. Eight and a half months in Poland at a state primary and some classes at a private school teaching adult conversation. And five weeks back home in England at a summer school teaching 11 to 18 year olds.
What’s Your Favourite Memory Of Your Time As a Teacher?
I had a class of six Japanese two and three year old girls, and I was trying to get them to pronounce the word ‘pumpkin’ but no matter how hard they tried it always came out ‘pumpakin’. It was really cute as they were so serious trying to get it right. So I gave up and chased them around the class doing a gorilla impression instead.
What Did You Learn From Being a TEFLer?
I grew up a lot because I was forced to be completely independent and I gained a lot of confidence in myself. I am back at Uni doing a Masters Degree in Education now and my experience of teaching English overseas has been really useful.
What’s the Most Useful Advice You Could Give to Other’s Who Are Thinking Of Getting Involved In TEFL?
Never give advice to another teacher unless they ask for it, as many are insecure about their teaching skills, but try and ask for advice because many will have great tips you can use in your classes. Try and learn the local language and make as many local friends as possible. Join sports teams, classes and gyms as this will build up a circle of friends quickly. Learn the local customs on tipping, physical contact, personal space etc. as quickly as possible too. Make sure you get access to the internet so you don’t feel cut off from home. When working with kids, try to turn everything into a game.
Do You Think the Fact That You Were a Man Made Any Difference to Your Experience As a Teacher?
It made things much easier in Japan as the kids were better behaved for male teachers. I have never encountered sexism either way from an employer, but have often found younger kids respond better to men, at least initially, because they have mostly female teachers at younger ages and it is new and different for them. Once they get to know you they will of course treat you on your own merits, regardless of sex.
If you want to teach in Italy, take a look at our guide to living and teaching there!