Joseph Williams

Teach Enrich Empower

A TEFL COVID STORY THAT DOESN’T MENTION COVID (MUCH)

My TEFL story started when I was volunteering in Romania 2 years ago. I just wanted to try something different, travel and meet new people. I never imagined it would change my life forever. After realising how much I enjoyed helping people learn, I decided to try and get paid for it. After all, you have to eat!

I enrolled in the TTA TEFL course and spent weeks leading up to summer studying. Upon completion, I got a job in Poland teaching English in summer camps around the country. I loved it! Seeing the transformation in both my students’ English and their confidence, really inspired me to be better, more engaging and create new ideas to help them learn. By the end of the summer, I was also doing camps in Malta where I learned about a TEFL opportunity in Barcelona.

Although I loved the English camps, I felt frustrated that I couldn’t see the progression of my students’ work over a longer period of time. This is why I started searching for longer-term opportunities. In September, I moved my life to Barcelona for a year, working in a school teaching English. I was nervous and also incredibly excited. A few months before my 20th birthday I had left everything I knew behind. Previously, I had travelled for a few months and returned. This felt like a big next step. I was nervous but ready.

I can honestly say it completely changed my life. During this year I have witnessed the long term effects my teaching practice has had on my students. I’ve had the privilege of their attention, helped transform their opinion of learning English, and of course, I have also made many mistakes. However, even with this, I feel lucky. Mistakes are opportunities for growth and the environment I’ve had the pleasure to work in has helped me improve, rather than simply telling me I was wrong. Now that my year in Spain has finished I know for sure I have changed and positively impacted the lives of my students. I just hope they know they have done the same, and more, for me.

 

“I can honestly say it completely changed my life!”

The next chapter of my TEFL journey will be in Italy. In the upcoming weeks, I will work again in English Summer camps, this time with children as young as three years old. I will have a more active and demanding role than I have had in camps previously but I am excited about the challenge.

People often ask me how I have managed to achieve so much in a period of time many people call ‘the years to forget’, ‘the impossible year’ or simply ‘bad’. I tell them this. If you want something it can be done. Almost anything can. You just have to be willing to make it happen. I went to Poland when both countries were locked down. The flights got cancelled so I had to undergo a thirty-five hour bus journey.

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