I have taught the Online TEFL/TESOL Certification Course since January 2018.
University of Toronto B.Sc. (Psychology, Linguistics, English) and Open University (UK) M.Ed. with a focus on teaching languages and the use of ICT in the classroom.
Canada – I am teaching English for creative arts (ESP) and ESL at the Toronto Film School (Toronto). I am also teaching general ESL at ILAC, and English for Academic Purposes at Yorkville University in Toronto, Canada.
Overseas – EFL at junior high and elementary schools in Japan (Mie Prefecture) as part of the JET Programme
Japan, UK, France, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, India, Mexico, Belize, Colombia, Australia, UAE.
When we lived in Belize we went to Mexico City for Christmas. If you are in Mexico City and love history, visiting Teotihuacan (the majestic ancient Mesoamerican city) is a must, so we took an early morning bus there to beat the crowds. We did not realize that it opens at 9, and got there at 8 AM. Coming from Belize (with +15 to +17 C / +59 to +62 F weather) we looked at the weather forecast, but still did not pack enough warm clothes. In our small town in Belize there wasn’t anywhere to buy warm clothes actually, and we didn’t bring anything warm enough from Japan/Canada. As the sun was coming up above the ancient ruins, we were running in circles outside of the entrance gate because we were freezing (it was about 7 C or 44 F). The guard must have enjoyed the show because he kindly let us in, so we had almost an hour to explore the pyramids and the city streets by ourselves, without any other tourists there. We also got to witness the majestic hot air balloons above the pyramids. It was an unforgettable experience.
I think the key to having a rich and meaningful experience is to keep expectations low, learn the language as much as possible, be open to experiences, and fall back on the expat community when in need of emotional support, but not rely on it too heavily and build your own local support group. During my travels I am always reminded that it is very easy to say, “Ok, I will be open-minded, and open up to experience”, but actually when I find myself in a completely new environment and have difficulties, I find that it is very easy to fall into “What’s wrong with this place?” way of thinking instead of trying to understand and accept the differences as a new experience. Learning the local language is a tremendous help — I don’t know where I would be today as a teacher and as a person if I did not learn Japanese and make friends. I even adapted some of the cultural practices like celebrating some of the holidays (Setsubun, Hina Matsuri, Tanabata, and so on), and I use many tricks that I learned from my Japanese colleagues and mentors in my classroom today.
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