nolusindiso, 26 years old, busan

Where and when did you complete your TEFL course?

I completed my TEFL course in Port Elizabeth through bli in October 2016.

Why did you choose to participate in a TEFL course?

TEFL and a degree are minimum requirements for most teaching jobs. The company I wanted to work for required it and I did in-class to increase my chances of getting the job.

Where do you currently teach?

I currently teach in the beautiful city of Busan, South Korea.

How would you describe a typical day in your current position?

I work from 8:30 - 16:30. A typical day begins with a 30-minute train commute. When I arrive at the school I spend about 15 minutes discussing the day's lessons with my Korean co-teachers. I teach from 9:00 - 12:00, have reading classes three times a week from 1:00 - 1:40, then I spend the remainder of the afternoon doing whatever I want to do.

What was the most challenging situation you've faced so far?

My daily challenge is the language barrier, almost most of kids are high level, they are mostly good in writing and reading, but not speaking. I do my reading classes alone with no translator, so I have to be as clear as possible. So I always apply the "show don't tell" method. Language is an everyday barrier even in forming relationships with other teachers, most of them cannot speak and I am having a hard time learning Korean, so it's hard for us to communicate.

What do you enjoy most about being an EFL teacher?

It's easy, probably one of the easiest jobs I've ever done. The kids are always happy (most of them) and excited to see me every single day. I can never have a bad day around them. The most amazing feeling is walking into a cafeteria full of kids and they all start waving and screaming "Hello Nolu teacher". Even kids I do not speak to get excited to see me, it warms my heart. The kids make the job very easy and enjoyable.

Which advice would you give future EFL teachers?

Making the move from your country is one of the most emotional and scary decisions you'll ever make, but JUST DO IT. Your attitude is everything. I've heard horror stories about co-teachers mistreating guest English teachers, I've had six different co-teachers in a space of less than 5 months and I was worried every time, but I made sure I was my best self every single time. This really helped in shaping my relationship with every single one of them. I made sure I was kind and welcoming to them and they were friendly in return. Have fun (responsibly), there is nothing more exciting than experiencing a new culture, so enjoy every moment. Try to learn the native language, it goes a long way and everyone will appreciate it. Being an EFL teacher is one of the best decisions I've ever made.

What is next on your bucket list?

I'll be staying in South Korea for a while, but I am visiting Bali in August, Jeju in October, the Philippines in January, Japan in May 2018 and South Africa (family) 2018.

What do you think about when brainstorming about TEFL?

  1. It induces creativity.
  2. It is fun.
  3. Very valuable.