By: Ben Weinberg
I never thought that I would become an ESL teacher. It wasn’t one of those set plans that I had for myself from an early age. Sometimes, life can’t be predicted and you end up being somewhere else than you originally intended. I think that this happens for the better most times, and I can say for certain that my life has been better off with my past experiences of teaching English as a Second Language. It’s been a roller coaster ride but a fun and exciting one at that.
A good friend of mine from college inspired me to originally sign-up for the International TEFL Academy’s online TEFL certification course. I was not sure what I wanted to do after graduation, but I was sure that I wanted to experience the world, and give back to others while doing so. Growing up, I had heard about ESL, but never put two and two together as to what it meant. When I embarked upon the online TEFL / TESOL course, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I ended up taking a liking to what I was learning, and finally understood that it was an acronym for ‘English as a Second Language.’
As someone who has dedicated more than half of my life to learning foreign languages, I know how difficult it can be to learn a language different from your mother tongue. Anyone in this world who is able to learn a foreign language, especially with little or no outside help, has my utmost respect. I believe that my years of learning Spanish and Turkish have helped me to become a better ESL teacher. I started off skeptical of teaching English in foreign countries but after four years since I began this path, I have become more and more convinced of how important it is to create opportunities for people around the world to learn English.
Over the past generation, English has become a global lingua franca and has become the predominant language of business, international affairs, and travel. Having a language in common with one another can be a path towards peace and understanding. As I have taught English to students from around the world, I have made it a personal mission of mine to learn my second, third, and even fourth languages. By learning another language, by living in another culture, and by meeting people in other countries, this is how we create mutual peace, and understanding over time.
After receiving my TEFL / TESOL certificate from the International TEFL Academy in December of 2013, I have been fortunate enough to work with people from all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds. I have worked with businessmen in Brazil to teenagers in Turkey to children in Colombia. My experiences of teaching and living overseas will stay with me for the rest of my life. I have also been fortunate to work with immigrants, refugees, and first-generation Americans learning English as their second language here in the United States in the cities of Boston and Washington, DC. In this 21st century, we are truly living in a global community and I think it is vital that we teach and learn from one another.
Every job, volunteer program, and private lesson I’ve had that was ESL related taught me a lot about myself, the students I work with, and the world we live in. I am very grateful to International TEFL Academy for running such a fine company that gives young people like me the chance to pursue our dreams and to change the world. In the past four years as an ESL teacher, I have been able to live in Turkey and Colombia where I made new friends, improved my language skills, and explored those countries to learn more about the cultures and peoples there. I hope that I was able to improve the educational prospects of the students I taught and tutored during my time spent in both countries.
As time has gone by with the experiences, the knowledge, and the passion I’ve gained from my past journeys, my new project is about building an all-encompassing online ESL learning platform that can reach students from around the world in a variety of ways. The name of the website is ‘English from A to Z’, and you can find it at www.englishfromatoz.com. I created this website and online business dedicated to English as a Second Language for a couple of reasons.
The ESL market worldwide is huge and not every child, man, or woman out there in the world has the chance to have a lesson with a qualified teacher who is also a native English speaker. I want to be able to connect qualified teachers such as myself to ESL students in the United States and around the world. The website and business will not just be about one particular offering such as ‘private lessons’ but I would like it to be interactive, all encompassing, and continually evolving. ‘English from A to Z’ is going to live up to its’ slogan of being ‘Your #1 Resource for ESL Learning.’
As of this moment, our online business is small but growing in terms of size and scale. However, we always want to be a teaching business that is open, inclusive, and personable. We want to make sure that our instructors and students know each other well and build a strong connection to each other. My online business is in its’ early stages but I’m confident in the mission and the purpose of what I hope to achieve with ‘English from A to Z.’ Over the next months and into 2018, I plan to hire and bring on other certified ESL instructors and teachers who have international experience, and a background in learning foreign languages as well. I can’t teach all of the ESL students who I’ll be reaching out to so I’ll need help from certified teachers like those trained at the International TEFL Academy whether it was done online or in-person.
Our products and services offered will continue to expand as well as we try to create a learning platform that can serve any kind of ESL student whether they need help preparing for an interview for a multinational company or if they’re struggling with their ABC’s. ‘English from A to Z’ will open itself up to the world in the hopes of creating future opportunities for our ESL students, and to create a more peaceful, unified world. Whether its’ private lessons, group classes, or online courses, we want to offer high quality products and services available to people from different backgrounds and countries but who share a common goal of improving their English.
In addition to our products and services, which I will be charging an affordable rate per hour for, our free content includes our ‘weekly tips’ section where we give advice on speaking, writing, grammar, and vocabulary topics in English. Our ESL blog is also updated on a weekly basis and currently focuses on grammar topics such as the ‘simple present tense’, and ‘conjunctions.’ In order to get useful information on English from A to Z, you don’t need to necessarily spend money. I would like to provide both free and paid content that betters the lives of our students in personal, educational, or professional ways.
Compared to our competitors in online teaching, ‘English from A to Z’ goes above & beyond in the approach we make to provide our students with various ways in which they can improve their English language abilities and skills. We don’t want to just offer private lessons, but we want to offer a variety of ESL products and services from high-quality instructors who will provide excellent lessons and courses for our students wherever they are in the world. English from A to Z is an inclusive online business and we welcome anyone and everyone who has a desire to improve their English to come visit us and consider signing up for a private lesson today.
To stay connected, potential ESL students of ours can follow us on Twitter for updates here, as well as on our Facebook. Our website is www.englishfromatoz.com and I welcome any of you ESL students reading this article to check us out, learn some new topics, sign-up for updates, and enroll in our group classes or private lessons if you want to work with a qualified TEFL / TESOL instructor.
These past four years in the ESL world have been quite a ride for me and I don’t want to get off it just yet. I hope to continue doing work bringing ESL educational resources in the months and years to come to students around the world, especially those who have never had the chance to talk or interact with a native English speaker before. Educating the future should be the goal of all of us. I’m privileged to be apart of that mission and I want to thank the International TEFL Academy again for all the good work they do and have done. ‘English from A to Z’ is special to me and I hope it will be special to all of you in the future.
Ben Weinberg received his TEFL / TESOL certificate from the ITA in December of 2013 after a three-month online certification course. Since then, he has taught ESL in Washington, DC; Istanbul, Turkey; Medellin, Colombia; and now Boston, Massachusetts. Because of his past teaching experiences, he decided to create a comprehensive online teaching platform for students around the world who want to learn English as a Second Language.