Gemma Karakurt

Teach Enrich Empower

Sweets and stickers

My name is Gemma Karakurt and I am 22 years old. I was studying at university to become a primary school teacher when I decided to start my TEFL course. With my husband being from a different country I thought this would be a good opportunity to begin the process of teaching abroad.

Once I graduated from university and my TEFL course was completed I began working in a private school in Turkey. The school has a very good reputation and is set in beautiful ground catering for kindergarten through to high school students. I teach kindergarten and first grades; the school policy is that we speak only English and no Turkish which was very stressful when I went into my first lesson and I had 16 four/five year olds staring back at me thinking who this person is and what is she speaking.

The children had more or less no English and the year ahead for me was looking to be a long and stressful one.  After a few weeks this however changed and the children learnt greeting, numbers, colours etc and I could actually start enjoying teaching! Now after 10 weeks, the children have progressed so far and this is very rewarding!! My advice for any new TEFL teacher is to smile, keep going and you will get through it! Sweets and stickers also work! So far my experience as a TEFL teacher has been rewarding and seeing the children progress over a relevantly short period of time is a great feeling!

“For anyone who wants to teach English overseas I would say do it!”

In the future I would love to continue teaching English mainly in Turkey and I would prefer to stick with young learners but every year I will dread that first day when you have all the children looking at you like you’re an alien! Teaching English should be fun and there are lots of resources to support your teaching. My TEFL course has helped me in my planning and teaching by exploring different learning styles and teaching methods especially for young learners. For anyone who wants to teach English overseas I would say do it and try it. It seems daunting at first but is very rewarding and enjoyable.

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