Looking back, ten months after my journey of teaching English began, I can honestly say that the experience of teaching abroad was more than I dreamed. For starters, I am very glad that I chose to complete a TEFL course with TEFL Barcelona because not only did I feel better prepared and receive wonderful training, support and job assistance, I also immediately made friends that I know will last a lifetime. There’s a special bond that is formed when you meet people who are just as crazy and passionate about traveling and teaching as you. And while it was a little exhausting adapting to a new country, exploring new places with new friends, and of course studying material for the course, it was all well worth it!
In the course, the grammar, teaching methods, and real-life teaching experience were definitely great and helpful. But what I especially found helpful was the job assistance. I learned exactly what to put on my CV, where to look for jobs, when and how to contact schools (or individuals for private lessons), what to expect when meeting and interviewing with schools and directors, and more. I can’t emphasize how important these things are. It is of course possible to get a job without these resources but I know from others’ experience it is more difficult, especially for first time teachers without previous experience. With all of the help, I secured a job within ten days of finishing the course, and I was one of the last people in my class to get a job (trying to find a job while also finding a place to live… not easy and a little stressful!).
Since the course, my experience has been great and looking back, it has gone really fast. But, I have accomplished a lot and learned more than I ever thought possible, all while having the experience of a lifetime that in some ways has felt like a year-long vacation. I seriously don’t understand why people wouldn’t consider this path! But, I know it isn’t for everyone.
I think in some ways, teaching English is different than I expected. But for better or worse (and mostly better!), it has honestly been one of the best experiences of my life and taught me a lot about myself and what I am capable of. And my students, aged 7 to 70, they’ve been the light of my life and brightened my mood on more than one occasion, taught me a lot, and above all left me with memories I will never forget. Shortly after starting teaching, I saw the below image and feel is sums up teaching quite well.
Beyond teaching, it has been incredible to experience living in another country. Living in Barcelona has allowed me to improve my Spanish greatly, both through classes (another source of unforgettable friends!) and everyday immersion, and has allowed me the opportunity to travel to many new countries and even a new continent; Africa. But perhaps most of all, it has allowed me to find my true happiness and independence. I have pushed myself to do things I never thought I would or could, which is very empowering. Of course, I have missed holidays, birthdays, weddings, and even a funeral, which I don’t probably need to tell you is not easy. But, at the end of it all, I feel like if I can do this, I can do anything. And that’s a good feeling.
by Lauren Hartley