News & Stories/2020

Read all about Melissa's TEFL journey

Although she had been teaching full time in China, Melissa (now in the UK) is planning to continue her role as an online EFL tutor in her spare time, working around another job. This shows that TEFL can be for everyone, from those wanting to work full time in a position abroad, to those wanting to work around other commitments and make some extra money. Have a read of Melissa's TEFL journey below.

Where and when did you take a UK-TEFL course?

I took the 2 Day Standard Course on the 17th-18th February 2014 and the 2 Day Advanced Course on the 12th-13th April 2014. Both courses were at Clare Hall, Cambridge University. 

How would you rate your course?

Very Good.

What drew you to taking a UK-TEFL course? 

I wanted to prepare myself and better understand how to teach the language as well as gain qualifications towards my job in China from 2014-2016. UK-TEFL is a well known company and felt that this would boost my CV...and it did!

Tell us what you are doing now. Can you describe a typical day as an EFL teacher?  Currently I work as a Cover Supervisor in primary and secondary schools but will be making a career change in March to work in the fashion industry and will be using my degree. You can expect to be doing a lot of lesson preparation but it is well worth it and manageable once you get into a routine. I taught around 5 lessons which were divided into three types of lessons focusing on vocabulary and grammar, practising the language in groups in a controlled workshop. Alongside this, I created lessons based on self-discovery which encouraged them to explore the language more and be communicative with other students. Providing feedback and 1-to-1 counselling for students was a must and whenever I had time outside of lessons, I would create small extra 10-20 minute activities for students in the centre to carry out. I also helped to organise referral events, conducted oral placement tests and course tasters. After work, I was always invited to have dinner with the students and this was a great way for me to learn Chinese and the culture! I would recommend teaching adults as I got a chance to be more social with my customers, which meant I built strong relationships, which helped me throughout my teaching.

What is your favourite part of Teaching English as a Foreign Language?

I did not realise how fortunate I was to be English until I relocated to China and taught a huge demographic of students whom seriously require to learn the language so that they can be promoted and lead a better life. This made my job more meaningful and also meant that the students were hardworking and appreciative of their education - every teacher's dream! During my experience I learnt many facts about cultural and grammar differences between English and Chinese, which are fascinating. Additionally, teaching a language is not easy, (especially when you do not know how to speak Chinese fluently!) and so this requires a lot of training, understanding and creativity in order to provide a fun and engaging environment for the students to absorb the information. This pushed me to become a great teacher. My students recognised the care and enthusiasm going into creating their lessons which always put a smile on my face. I think my favourite part about teaching English is more importantly teaching our culture and how to combine the two.

Why did you choose your teaching location? What is your favourite thing about living there?

I wanted to challenge myself by relocating to a country with a large language barrier and wanted to extract myself from my elements. I also wanted to learn more about the culture and learn Chinese.

What are your future plans? I would like to work part time as a private tutor. Currently I work for Language Trainers but I am still waiting another assignment in Luton. Tomorrow I have an interview with a Chinese company based in Beijing to work as an Online TEFL Tutor and I also have another interview for a similar role. I will continue to work in the fashion industry as I have a degree in Fashion Design, but would like to work part time as a TEFL Teacher. I will also apply for some of UK-TEFL's summer camp opportunities listed on their website.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to Teach English as a Foreign Language?

Understand that learning any language is not easy. English is a beautiful but complicated language to others and so you should be patient with your students and always reflect on your work and improve. Understand that not all students are the same and you must treat their learning individually and to also be acceptant and open to learning their language and culture. This has a huge impact on how well your lesson goes! Remember to grade your language appropriately depending on their levels and that body language is essential! I received a lot of training and never turned down opportunities for more.

Would you recommend taking a UK-TEFL Course? Yes!

Is Melissa's experience inspiring you to gain your TEFL qualification? The sooner you become TEFL qualified, the sooner you can jet off to build your career in your dream location!

Sign up for our 120 hour Online TEFL Course or 2 day Standard Course (or both with one of our Packages) today and it could be you living and teaching abroad within the next few months!

Once you have passed one of our TEFL courses, you will gain access to our UK-TEFL Jobs Service, meaning you will be able to apply for the jobs listed on our website and have access to a list of contacts from schools all around the world! As well as this, you will get a FREE Finding Work Guide and CV MOT. Already qualified and fancy teaching in China? View available EFL positions in China here.