Teaching in Colombia

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Teaching in Colombia

My name is Jenny and I'm 23. Before I took my TEFL course with TEFL Academy I was working in travel, but I was watching people book flights every day and knew I wanted to get away myself. I thought getting a TEFL qualification would be a great way to do that so I did my course and booked flights to Colombia! I found a school in Barranquilla, on the north coast, and am having an amazing time!

I’d recommend Colombia to any TEFL teacher!

Having the TEFL course helped me to get a job at a school called Comunidad ITIDA, as I was not only a native speaker but also had some experience planning lessons, which they asked me about in my interview. I am teaching two year groups - the 6th form and the 11th form - who are ages 10/11 and 15/16. I was glad that I could refer back to my notes from the course as they helped me to plan lessons for the different ages and abilities. As well as this, knowing how to plan my lessons was really helpful, as I probably wouldn't have been so thorough and detailed with activity timings without my TEFL qualification. My classes are sized 40-50 children so sometimes it can get a bit hectic, so keeping my activities varied like the TEFL course encourages is important! I've figured out that they really love learning songs in English so I can always get their attention that way!

The best lessons so far have been with my 11th form as they have a better understanding of English and are more appreciative of my support. Since the classes are so large I’ve started a lunchtime session for 5-6 of the best performing students who want to perfect their pronunciation. Some of these students need English for their University applications so I’m more than happy to help as they’re so motivated. It really makes a difference having fewer kids to discipline!

I've been teaching the 11th form all about English culture with football games based around English teams, and also teaching them songs by the Beatles. My mentor teacher said this was great as I’ve focussed specifically on the song Imagine. This has a really positive message and since the country has seen a lot of civil unrest and violence over the last 20 years it’s good to teach them about the world outside Colombia and the value of peace. The TEFL Academy taught me that using lesson content that has real meaning and relevance to the students is the most effective way of teaching, and they're right. At the end of the term we did a performance of these songs and some of the boys asked to do a performance of their own! They surprised me with a rendition of One Direction's Gotta Be You!! It was brilliant and we got all of the class joining in. It was such a lively session that the kids who were out in the playground came over to watch and listen – I’ve included some photos of that day.

The country is beautiful and really tramples on any stereotypes of being a dangerous environment. I’ve been so warmly welcomed and never felt in any real danger. Of course you need to be careful but no more so than walking through some parts of London! I’ve included some photos of a trip I took along the coast to Ciudad Perdida, where I did a trek through the jungle to the ‘Lost City’ – it’s a bit like Machu Picchu but cheaper and less popular (and in my opinion more beautiful!). There are also some phenomenal beaches along the Caribbean coastline in Santa Marta and Cartagena. I’d recommend Colombia to any TEFL teacher!!! 

I’d recommend Colombia to any TEFL teacher!

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