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TESOL/TEFL (…huh?)

Let’s add another line to the resume. I just finished an online certification course to teach English as a second language!

TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) are both ventures I am now qualified to pursue. I taught English as a Foreign Language (EFL) while I was in Ecuador for six months in 2008 and I hated it!

It was so difficult and frustrating for a variety of reasons, primarily because I had no experience and no materials. I basically got the job because I’m a native speaker. While that sounds totally legitimate, having no background in teaching and no curriculum or materials or plan made this task rather daunting. I found myself floundering as I tried to focus on grammar – no, wait, that’s too advanced – back to basic vocabulary – no, wait, they can’t properly pronounce these words – back to pronunciation…but that means more vocabulary, but they still can’t structure any sentences, and they still can’t pronounce this perfectly!

Lesson learned: speaking the language doesn’t mean you can teach it well.

After retiring from the office life last July, I found myself with lots of free time on my hands. I started working as an assistant coach for the high school girls’ varsity soccer team. I still had lots of time. I worked out a lot and helped my sister plan and get ready for her wedding. I still had lots of time. I hung out with the other retired folks in my area (read: my parents and their friends). But I still had time. So I signed up for an online course to get certified in TEFL/TESOL. Why not? At that point I had NO idea where I would end up in the short term, so having a marketable skill sounded like a good idea. Thanks to an online deal, I found a course for a great price, paid, and delved right in.

But then I went off the grid for a while when I found my island paradise and kind of forgot about the whole certification idea. Alas, after starting the course sometime back in August 2012, I finally took the final exam only two days before the course expiration date. Good thing I passed!

Let’s tack it on to the ever-expanding resume: Certified TESOL/TEFL, 2013.