Meet The International TEFL Academy Instructors

international tefl academy professor

Betsy Jo Divine

Director of Studies

What class do you teach at International TEFL Academy & when did you start?

At ITA, I taught one online course term in September 2014. I then transferred to the face-to-face TEFL class at the ITA Chicago headquarters. I taught those courses from Oct 2014-Nov 2015 until going on maternity leave. I have been working as the Director of Studies since December of 2016 and am responsible for all academics, curriculum improvements and professor oversight. 

What is your educational background?

In 2004, I received my BA from the University of Nebraska in political science, international relations and Spanish. A week after graduation, I flew to China for a five-week TEFL course. I went on to teach ESL abroad for four years while I concurrently studied in French, Spanish, and Chinese language programs. I then returned to the states to earn my MA in Teaching English as Second Language (TESL) from Northern Arizona University, graduating in 2010. In 2014, I completed a master's Certificate in Online Teaching from the University of Illinois Online.

What's Your Favorite Travel Memory?

Too many good travel memories! Hmm…. I remember one time on a train in the south of Taiwan a little boy of about four looked into my foreign eyes and asked me in Mandarin, “Do you see everything in blue?” His mother was embarrassed, but I thought it was adorable. there are also the moments when everything goes wrong and then it ends up being great. For instance, the border closed in Kazakhstan for a holiday and we were about to overstay our visas…then, of course, the bus breaks down. Long story short, we end up sleeping at the driver’s house with his family…everyone in one room and an outhouse in the back. Wonderful memory full of many laughs as we signed and drew into the night to communicate.

Betsy teaches the Online Course at ITA!

international tefl academy professor


What countries have you visited?

Europe: Germany, Luxemburg, Italy, Belgium, London, Monaco Poland, and Switzerland. I lived in Seville for about 6 months and Paris for 10 months.


Africa: Reunion. (maybe this should be under Europe as it is a department of France. It’s located south of Madagascar).

Asia: Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan. I lived in China for about 2 ½ years.

Central and South America: Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru

What Advice Do You Have for ITA Students Who Want to Teach English Abroad? 

The lessons you will learn about the world and about yourself will be more valuable than you realize. People frequently have obstacles at home that keep them from going abroad. So I’m just going to tell you now that the timing may never be right. You may always feel poor, that special someone could disappear, that job opportunity may go to someone else, etc… I didn’t have a dime and I was constantly in love with someone or something back home. Ten years later I don’t recall how much money I had or who I was dating…but I still remember that little boy on the train and that night with the family in Kazakhstan. I cherish so many of my travel and teaching memories…and you will too.

Betsy used to teach the Chicago course at the ITA HQ!

international tefl academy professor