Teaching in Guinea
I didn’t want to continue being a solicitor and I wanted to live abroad.
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This course has the best content for those with a thirst to teach!
A journalist who wrote a new story as a teacher Paloma Tiba
I took the leap of a huge career change from a Chartered Accountant and it was my best decision of the year!
Hello! Bonjour! My name is Caitlin and I currently work as an English teacher in Conakry, Guinea.
In 2019, I qualified as a Chartered Accountant in the UK but decided that I needed more of an adventure, so I left my job in London for something completely new. I completed The TEFL Academy Level 5 online course, then started teaching online before finding an opportunity here in Guinea.
Teaching online is super flexible and I now have students from 10 different countries! By talking to my students, I get to learn about different cultures, at a time where travel is extremely restricted. Now that much of the world has shifted to virtual teaching, there is a lot of competition for online tutors, but I feel like my TEFL qualification helps me to stand out from others.
For me, the best part of having a TEFL cert is being able to combine my paid online teaching with physical teaching at an orphanage in West Africa. Like champions, the children at ‘Association Hakuna Matata’ have risen to the task of learning English, and I am so proud of what they are achieving each week. I have guided children, who were previously left behind by the local education system for not being able to write, to produce a page of written English to introduce themselves. While this may seem like a small feat, it is the first step to providing the students with the motivation and confidence that they can achieve whatever they put their minds to.
English classes in Guinea are very different from those given in Western classrooms. We have no smart boards, iPads, computers, or internet, and so I need to plan my lessons carefully to ensure I bring all the relevant teaching materials with me. We use the classic blackboard, which is somewhat of a novelty these days, in most of Europe. Daily I have to adapt to unique circumstances, such as the extreme heat in the classroom, by thinking on my feet, and taking the lesson outdoors. Having a bank of ideas in the back of my mind for EFL games that I can use with my students helps in these scenarios. The TEFL course helped to prepare me for this by providing inspiration for teaching resources, and most importantly, by teaching me how and where to find interesting new materials.
Wontanara is a word coming from the Susu tribe in Guinea, meaning “We are all together”. No matter our backgrounds, we can learn from and bring joy to each other. Just as my students are learning a language from me, I’m blessed to also be learning from them. Despite almost 90% humidity most days, Guinea benefits from fabulous sunshine and you will find me at the pool whenever I am not teaching. I have views of the sea from my apartment, and the fresh fish is amazing - especially the prawns! I’m slowly discovering the city and even got to spend a weekend in the countryside at an eco-resort, to truly experience the local lifestyle… think lots of dancing, goats, chickens, and pineapples! I also get to improve my French. None of this would be possible without my online teaching.
Leaving behind the comfort and security of a job, home, and Western lifestyle, during a pandemic, was a huge risk, but I also felt safe knowing that I could rely on my online teaching. In the future, when travel is allowed, I hope to continue my teaching from new locations too.