Interview with a Trainer

Stephanie Rhoades

Why did you decide to become TESOL certified?
I decided to get my TEFL certificate because I wanted to travel. Since I do not have a trust fund, I knew I would need to work. I had heard a lot about teaching English abroad and didn’t have another idea for what I could do to earn money, so I decided to give it a try.

What was your favorite part of the course?
I did an online course, so my favorite part was that I could do the course anywhere and whenever I had the time. I started my course while I was still in the states, worked on it while traveling, and finished it in Germany.

Not so favorite part?
Being that it was an online course it was very easy to procrastinate. I wish that I had had a bit more of a push. Also, I didn’t have any practical application, so when I started actually teaching, I felt a bit out of my league, and it took a while till I felt comfortable.

How has TESOL helped your career?
Getting my certificate to teach English as a foreign language is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. I used to bounce around from job to job, but since starting teaching in Leipzig, I’ve actually developed a career in a field that I enjoy. Now, I just bounce around and see new places in my free time.

How long have you been teaching ESL?
I have been teaching English as a foreign language for four and a half years.

In which countries have you taught ESL?
So far, I’ve only taught in Germany.

What do you enjoy the most about teaching?
There are two things that I enjoy most about teaching. I really like meeting new people and learning about their lives. In my opinion, that’s one of the best things about living abroad. I also love seeing students make progress and be able to do things they couldn’t do before.

What advice would you offer to newly qualified TESOL teachers?
Ask for advice and ideas from experienced trainers. Get as many ideas as you can to build up your bank of activities and ways of teaching. It was really helpful for me when I first started that the other trainers I met were so nice and always offering suggestions; that helped me tremendously.

What is the most interesting/valuable thing working abroad has taught you?
Just being abroad in general has taught me to relax. There are so many unforeseeable situations, misunderstandings, missed trains, communication barriers, culture clashes as well as invitations to parties for people I barely know, trying new foods, sleeping on strangers’ sofas. Being out of my comfort zone is a daily activity at this point. And I think that’s a rather good thing!

If you were a movie title, which movie title would you be?
I would be The Hunger Games because I am always hungry or at minimum just thinking about food.

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