An interview with a TEFL Graduate – An incredible experience!
Meet Katie McAuley, who is 21 and from the UK. Katie is a TEFL graduate from TEFL in Italy. Katie earned her Trinity CertTESOL course in February and is now working as a qualified teacher and marketing intern at TEFL in Italy. We have reached out to her for an interview to find out about her TEFL experience.
What were you doing before your TEFL course?
I was (and still am) in the middle of a 4-year degree (BA Spanish and Italian) at the University of Bristol. For my 3rd year, I have to spend it abroad, split between Spanish speaking and Italian speaking countries. I worked in Lanzarote for 5 months as a receptionist in a 4-star hotel, popped home for Christmas, and then moved straight over to Rome to start my TEFL course in January!
What made you decide to take the TEFL course in Rome?
If I’m honest, I kind of stumbled into this course. Having finished it now, I can safely say it was one of the best things I’ve ever stumbled into!
I was looking for jobs around Italy (I wasn’t particularly fussed on the location, as I’d only ever been to Venice and Sorrento before so was up for exploring new places). I was interested in the idea of teaching English, and found a few schools that would accept me as a language assistant, so began to pursue this. I then realised that, although this would be a good experience, it would be really beneficial if I could actually get a qualification during my time abroad. This is when I stumbled across TEFL in Italy.
Rome is Rome. I don’t think you could tell anyone that you’re moving to Rome without them feeling a little pang of jealousy (or at least that’s what I found!) I couldn’t really ask for a more ideal location, so it all kind of fell into place, just like that!
What was your overall experience with the TEFL course?
It’s intense. The intensity of the course is its most overwhelming feature. You’ve got 4 weeks to cover what I’m sure could be covered in probably a year! I pretty much set aside the 4 weeks for this course and nothing else. My boyfriend came to visit for a weekend, and I managed to work INSANELY hard for the week beforehand to give myself a weekend off, but apart from that, I pretty much just accepted I had little to no life for the 4 weeks. I think once I’d accepted this, it was a lot easier and more enjoyable.
If you go through the course resenting the lack of free-time you have, then it will be a very long 4 weeks! However, for the vast majority of the course, I really enjoyed it and immersed myself in the course, its assignments, and most of all – the teaching practice! That was the most rewarding part of the course, for sure. Actually seeing students enjoy the lesson you’ve poured your heart and soul into makes it all seem worthwhile!
Were there any highlights or funny moments on the course?
Given the course’s intensity, there were definitely some funny moments. In hindsight though, I think it may have just been the hysteria stemming from stress and exhaustion that caused our bouts of unstoppable laughter! Is the exploration of future grammatical forms really that funny? Probably not…
Of course there were some highlights too. Designing my own game for a lesson and watching how engaged the students were was definitely one. The Unknown Language was so much fun; being able to track our progress from the start to the end of Week 1, having conversations (limited conversations I must add) with my partner in Swahili was just incredible, demonstrating how quickly we had all progressed.
What have you been doing since gaining your TEFL qualification?
Since gaining my TEFL qualification, I have begun working as a teaching and marketing intern for TEFL in Italy. This involves teaching a variety of classes a week, and working with the social media accounts and website, creating blogs and newsletters.
Where will you go from here and what are your future plans?
After I finish this internship, I will return to the UK and finish my degree. During the summer beforehand, I would like to teach English at a UK summer school, if I can. After university, I’m definitely going to travel as much as I can – and maybe my Trinty CertTESOL can help me to do this!
Do you feel TEFL has changed your life?
Yes. I think gaining any sort of qualification is definitely life-changing, but TEFL has been more life-changing than most, because it opens up so many possibilities. This is potentially the first step in a whole new direction, if I take it. TEFL has also taught me a lot about myself, my time management skills and how I handle stress. I’m over halfway through a University course and I’ve never had to manage my time as well as I’ve had to on this course. It really has been an incredible experience.