Who am I?
In my field, I’m known as a TEFLer Lifer. Someone who teaches English abroad, likes it, and actually plans to keep doing it, (forever?). I never meant for this to happen. When I was a child, school personality tests pointed me towards the educational profession, and I kicked and screamed and flat-out refused to accept that calling. In high-school my guidance counselor told me I’d be a great Spanish teacher. I told her where to put it.
“I hate kids,” I told my mother, and I really did mean it.
But that was the way to get abroad, so I held my breath, did my TEFL, and jumped in. And found, to my horror, that I loved it.
I love my classroom. I love my folders. I love my sticky notes. I love my color-coded labels, and I love my teaching assistants. I love praising my students when they do good work, and I love calling their parents when they don’t. I love when my adult students have a communication break-through and I adore my tone-deaf little three-year-olds who sing their hearts out despite their musical inabilities and light up when they use a new word well. I LOVE being a teacher. Who knew?
How did it begin?
Countless people at some point in their lives consider ditching the “real world” and heading abroad. In fact, nearly all of the people I regularly spend time with these days actually did it. For some, it was a question of necessity. Many of us graduated college with high hopes only to find the global economy crumbling under our toes. Others were already well-established in their careers in 2008, and found themselves out of a job and struggling to escape the mountains of debt their bank managers promised that they could handle. “It’s a buyers market!” they told us. For my friends and me, a year or two abroad was more enticing than minimum-wage work or the slave labor conditions of unpaid internships at home. Of course, there were others who regardless of their job prospects (or lack thereof) had simply been bitten by the infamous travel bug during high-school or college and knew that once they graduated they would be shipping off to Europe, to Thailand, to Bali, to wherever.
For me, moving abroad was intentional. Staying abroad was not. After studying in Sevilla for over a year in college, I knew with absolute certainty that I would be going back to Spain as soon as I had that coveted piece of paper, my diploma, in hand.
Once that was over with, I made plans to do my Trinity CertTesol and a month later, I was happily unemployed and of questionable legal status, a crisp Cruzcampo in hand, sunning myself at the Faro de Triana on the banks of the Guadalquivir in Sevilla, Spain. What I didn’t know was the global economy was going to collapse shortly after, and my expat lifestyle would have no end in sight.
What is this blog?
I’d been wanting to blog about my experiences since these adventures first began. I wanted to tell you all about living in Spain, about my misguided and failed attempt at going home to Oregon, and finally about throwing my hands up in the air and setting out on the road again, this time to Vietnam. Oh, and that time I tried to live in Argentina. However, whenever I sat down to do it, the task seemed too daunting and the stories too plentiful to even begin.
This month marks my 6 year TEFL anniversary. Six years of stumbling my way through different cultures, accidentally offending students, falling in love with the English Language, and getting thrown up on. I guess I figured that now is as good a time to finally embark on this project as any, especially because I’m planning to go back to Spain to study a Masters next year, and I know that if I wait til then, this blog would NEVER happen.
In TEFL Adventures, I plan to tell you about many things.
First and foremost, this is a teaching blog, so it will focus on teaching and learning English. I’ll also tell you about the fascinating places that TEFL has taken me around Europe, Asia, and South America. My aim is to provide teachers with practical tips for teaching English and for setting up a life abroad, and students with tips for learning English without breaking your brain. All while also attempting to entertain you. I hope you enjoy reading!