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Leaving the Classroom for Online Flexibility
Written by: International TEFL Academy
Last Updated: November 30, 2020
By: David Peña
Exhausted and over it, I was ready to leave my 40 hour per week classroom job for more flexibility and travel. When moving abroad to teach English, I did not expect to have such a rigid schedule, with dozens of outside responsibilities. I wasn’t just planning classes, but somehow I got roped into teaching a homeroom class and working closely with parents and school system drudgery. I was tired and had little time to travel and experience the fun and exciting parts of teaching English abroad.
Then, a lot of luck came my way, and as my contract was about to expire, my girlfriend was offered a position in Santiago. Chile is a country I had imagined living in as a young boy, as it was famous for modern infrastructure and incredible natural sights. Unfortunately, as a non-native English speaker, Chile offers few opportunities to teach the language I am so passionate about. But with this difficulty I faced came the opportunity of a lifetime to pursue a lifelong goal: teaching online.
I began my journey learning English online and can say that the Internet is an amazing tool for the process of immersing yourself in a new language. With a few clicks and a blink of the eyes, you are connected to someone halfway across the world, with the skills you want to have. I have always been a person who strongly believes in the power of an online education, and decided this would be my next step towards my career in Chile.
After some time searching, I began working online, teaching conversational Spanish with Verbling to non-natives but also applying for more serious methodology in online companies. This is how I found a job teaching English to young children in China. Once I moved to Chile, I set up my brand new office just a meter from my bed. A great thing about teaching online in Chile is that Latin America is much cheaper, so the money I can earn online goes further.
Everything about my new position has lived up to my expectations. Working online is not for everyone, and some thrive in the classroom more than I did, but teaching rural children on the other side of the world, who would not have had the chance to learn English without this program, is so rewarding, and I get to stay in my beautiful, central apartment and enjoy the view while I work.
The absolute best part of teaching online is the location and schedule flexibility. Of course I have to maintain a fairly regular weekly schedule, but it’s when I want to work. And, of course, as long as I have access to the Internet, I can travel when I want.
I have the chance to bring my laptop, book an Airbnb with WiFi and see the incredibly diverse country that I live in. In my short time I have seen beaches and mountains, deserts and rivers, not to mention the several trips I have coming up to ski in the mountains, road trip the Carretera Austral and go wine tasting in Mendoza, Argentina.
My experience in Ecuador was one I will never forget, and I got to see beautiful places in the short time I had, but the flexibility to travel long distances and work from my computer has given me the chance to live more as a nomad than I ever could have imagined. I still got to see some beautiful places and meet incredible people, but now the intercultural exchange I get to participate in has opened my eyes in whole new ways.
The children I work with online have had immensely different, but in some ways similar experiences to myself. They live in rural towns in a part of the world I have only seen in pictures. This exchange that we get to participate in is magical and allows me to put myself in their shoes, while giving them a new skill that will hopefully enrich their lives. I was once a young boy in a small town myself, learning English from people across the world, and now I get to provide that to these children. Maybe one day, they too, will be able to spread this knowledge themselves to people in countries they couldn’t even dream of.
If I were to sum up my passion for English and language in general, it would be just that. Having this language in my arsenal is one of the most helpful tools I have ever gained in order to better my life. I got the opportunity online thanks to generous teachers; now I get to do that, also online, to help others improve their worldwide reach.
David Peña is a lifelong language learner from Valera, Venezuela. He has been living abroad for over two years. He has taught English in Ecuador and Chile to a variety of students, from high school kids to business English, to people from all over online.
Founded in 2010, International TEFL Academy is a world leader in TEFL certification for teaching English abroad & teaching English online. ITA offers accredited TEFL certification classes online & in 25 locations worldwide and has received multiple awards & widespread recognition as one of the best TEFL schools in the world. ITA provides all students and graduates with lifetime job search guidance. ITA has certified more than 25,000 English teachers and our graduates are currently teaching in 80 countries worldwide.
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