Tay McKinnon

Teach Enrich Empower

Teaching and the freedom to explore.

My name is Tay, I’m 29 and I’m a TEFL teacher from the U.K. I graduated with my TEFL Academy qualification in June 2018, and just a week later, I took my first class of Italian teenagers!

Travel has always been a huge part of my life – after embarking on a 6-month trip, aged just 18, I became hooked on adventure and exploring the world. I returned to the U.K to start and complete my degree, graduating in 2013 and after travelling a little more, I ended up working in marketing for 4 years. Teaching my colleagues about marketing was incorporated into my duties as a Marketing Executive, and I began to realise how much I enjoyed helping others and the process of teaching.

It got my brain ticking and I began researching TEFL. How could I travel and earn money working anywhere in the world? A TEFL qualification seemed a great option. After much thought, I handed in my notice, allowed myself some time to complete the course and meanwhile, applied to work as a TEFL teacher at a summer school. Whilst completing my course, I particularly enjoyed the classroom element, which provided useful feedback and helped me prepare for future classes. Just one week after receiving my qualification, I taught a room full of Italian teenagers at a summer school. I was a bit nervous beforehand but diving straight in was the best thing and I felt my TEFL qualification had provided me with the tools I needed.

“I felt so lucky to have classes full of students from all over the world – Thailand, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Taiwan, Switzerland, Colombia, Brazil.. to name a few.”

My fiancé and I then made the decision to leave the UK to travel and live and work in New Zealand for a year.

After travelling around in our camper van for some time, I ended up in teaching adults at Language Schools in both Queenstown (South Island – NZ) and Tauranga (North Island – NZ). During this time I had classes of all different levels – Elementary, Pre-Intermediate, and Upper-Intermediate. It was great to gain valuable experience teaching students of all different abilities.

I felt so lucky to have classes full of students from all over the world – Thailand, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Taiwan, Switzerland, Colombia, Brazil.. to name a few. It was so inspiring to meet and teach people of so many different nationalities, to learn about their cultures and watch them connect with each other through the English language.

We then moved onto Cambodia for a while and volunteered at a village school in the outskirts of Siem Reap – an incredibly rewarding and humbling experience. The children were so passionate and eager to learn.

Now, I teach children part-time online for a company – the students are so lovely and the hours are flexible.

Teaching English really has taken me on such an incredible journey and I’m so thankful I made the decision and took the risk.

Having this qualification has really changed my life – it enabled me to earn while traveling and I have more time to dedicate to my photography profession with the flexibility of online teaching.

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