ITA Alumna, Mary Rose Hefner takes over the ITA Instagram Story to show us what a day in the life of a student taking the Florence, Italy TEFL class looks like.
By: Elizabeth Feyh
Some people are born adventurers; wanderlust is in their blood. They love not knowing where they’re going or how they’re getting there. For others, that is the definition of a nightmare. Those who thrive off the thrill of the unknown or enjoy being a fish out of water may not understand the trepidation of those born more cautious.
High over the Pacific Ocean, there’s a man – a resolve so sturdy and a lust for adventure so strong, he feels as though he could hold an entire country in the palm of his hand, molding and manipulating it at will.
Maybe he’s on a different plane. And while he plays with his ball of country clay, I’m curled across three seats, discretely wiping a tear as, at this moment, I’ve just now realized that I’ve left it all behind, and still can’t justify why.
That was then, this is now.
Teaching abroad is a dream come true for me. I studied at the University of Illinois at Chicago for five years to be an Elementary school teacher. When I was unable to find a job in Chicago Public Schools, I was devastated, until I heard about the International TEFL Academy. I was so excited because I was finally able to combine my passion for teaching and traveling into one amazing experience.
I took the onsite TEFL class in Chicago, Illinois. Going into the class, I was fairly confident about my teaching skills and abilities. After all, I had studied for five years to be a teacher. Nothing could have prepared me for what I learned in my TEFL class. I thought I knew how to teach, but the TEFL class really helped me learn new methods and helped me embrace new ways of thinking about quality instruction.
Since graduating from the International TEFL Academy in Chicago last spring (March 2013 class) and learning invaluable lessons from my two in-class instructors – Gosia and Jan, you continue to be both an inspiration and an influence to this day – I started applying for teaching jobs overseas almost immediately after receiving my diploma.
Because my teaching experience was limited (I only had 10 hours of in-class teaching curriculum experience, nothing more), so were my countries of destination: I could go to either China or South Korea (because I wanted to travel to Asia for the first time in my life, and not Europe, where I’ve been several times before). After an online job search which lasted for more than a month, I was finally offered a teaching position by Penergy Education, a Canadian owned company.
The decision to leave the people you care about most in the world, travel halfway across the world and put the educational goals of a roomful of children in your hands is a big one.
Therefore, it makes logical sense it would take weeks, months or even years to make. However, this is not always the way life works, and in my opinion not always the way it should work. Sometimes you've just gotta take the leap of faith and trust that things will work out in the end.