Diversity and Inclusion Statement
International TEFL Academy connects individuals through immersive experiences with a unique variety of people and cultures. As global citizens, we recognize that diversity and inclusion are vital to the culture of our organization.
We embrace policies, practices, and a general culture of diversity and inclusion. We are committed to providing an environment that fosters safe conversation and discussion across all backgrounds. We continually strive to reflect and represent these values in the three pillars of our company:
- Our students
- Our staff
- Our community
For each pillar, our goal is twofold. First, to represent and celebrate individuals of all backgrounds*. Second, to create a more inclusive culture which means involving and empowering each individual based on their inherent worth and human dignity.
With thousands of students teaching in over eighty countries, we recognize that our ITA community is comprised of students from many different backgrounds and experiences. Teaching abroad is just as much about leaving your imprint on those you meet as it is soaking up new cultures. ITA loves that our diverse student population is able to share their stories abroad, while building a new sense of understanding of themselves and other cultures. This is why we do what we do!
Our goal is to ensure that all potential students feel welcome to our community. We actively strive to create inclusive and specific content in order to reach, inform, and engage populations that are underrepresented in the TEFL market.In addition, we mobilize our students to inspire and encourage others through their stories and experiences.
Our staff is comprised of individuals with different backgrounds and stories, which are valued equally. ITA works to build a better work environment for our staff by instituting diversity and inclusion practices in our hiring process, company trainings, and company culture.
To accomplish this, all employees are required to have extensive experience living abroad. In addition, we work to attract and hire diverse applicants by recognizing and reducing implicit bias in our hiring process as well as attracting from a large variety of applicant pools.
We also have a commitment to providing trainings to deepen each staff member’s understanding of why diversity and inclusion are important as well as to help make us aware of the biases we have. We also host fun, cultural events each year that deliberately focus on topics of diversity and inclusion.
We are Chicago. We are proud to call this city our home. Many members of our staff were born and raised in and around this diverse and thriving city. We strive to engage, teach, and learn from this profoundly diverse collection of people and cultures.
We do this by attending events hosted by organizations in our local community that are already doing excellent things in recognizing, celebrating, and harnessing the diversity of this city. We have specific templates for what to look for when engaging this community so that our engagement can be systematically shared with our staff, students, and community.
We also engage our fellow Chicagoans by opening our doors to ESL learners who are often newly arrived immigrants, and we provide them with free ESL classes. These students represent dozens of countries and bring a thriving classroom of diversity into our space, a space that is a great example of how learning and teaching English are powerful conduits to bring people together from all walks of life.
Our Commitment to Change and Growth
The drive to make our company and community more diverse and inclusive is a never-ending journey. For that reason, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee is committed to always pushing ITA in regard to all three of our pillars: our staff, our students, and our community.
In order to effectively move ITA in this direction, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee itself is dedicated to educating and challenging its members, and hence all three pillars. We are committed to change, growth, and the celebration of our differences as a means to further deepen our connections and understanding of ourselves and each other.
*Diversity is the range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs.