Lucy Thurlow

Teach Enrich Empower

Online to Andalucia!

For as long as I can try to remember, I’ve wanted nothing more than to live a life abroad. I have not always clearly known where or when but an image of me working and living my life in a foreign country has always been at the forefront of my mind. In the back of my mind, however, there’s always been a niggling voice saying ‘yeah, but how are you gonna do it?’

I actually researched getting a TEFL certificate years ago, maybe when I was about 19 or 20, but it’s now at 28 that I’m finally a TEFL teacher – a Level 5-certified one thanks to The TEFL Academy! Numerous jobs, travels and a couple of lockdowns have all brought me here. It’s almost a year already since I started teaching students online so, a good time to reflect…

Having not gone to university, therefore finishing my studies at A-Level here in England, it had been a while since I’d been a student. I quickly found that I loved having something to focus on, so I threw myself into the Level 5 course, feeling really accomplished with each unit and assignment passed. I loved how the course was structured and how each assignment became progressively more challenging. There were times I wondered how on earth I would ever be able to plan and teach a lesson, but with so much information on different aspects such as classroom management, teaching methods, lesson planning and more – it all began to feel possible.

I started teaching online about 2 months after I completed the course, and in very little time, delivered my first lessons to students from Italy, Spain, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Singapore and more! And although not every student works out, some of my first ones are still learning with me now. One of the big advantages for me has been creating long-term connections with students, helping them progress week by week, hearing their life updates – particularly anything related to their English learning, like the time a student told me she felt she’d secured a new job thanks to our speaking practice and interview preparation!

Online teaching has been the perfect option for a complete newbie TEFL teacher like myself. Being able to just dip my toe in, to gain experience and grow, all while still working in my other job has been a great start.

Next, I want to be able to apply to language schools in Andalucia, Spain where I hope to progress to in-person teaching with individuals and groups, and learn more about delivering exam preparation courses, an area of EFL teaching I’m really interested in developing skills in.

Of course, before an opportunity arises, online teaching is also perfect for travelling and funding it at the same time. For 6 weeks this spring, I explored more of Andalucia, searching for inspiration and schools to potentially apply to in the future. It’s this part of the world that finally makes me visualise my life abroad, and now because of my TEFL certificate, I have a clear idea of how I’m going to do it!

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