My first TEFL summer

Dear friends,

Sorry I abandoned you. In fact, quite a lot of you are new to my feed and right now must be wondering who the hell I am.

Well, nice to meet you all. I’m an EFL teacher who’s just survived the most intense summer of her life.

Since I started writing this blog to share funny anecdotes about my English learning — and now teaching — experience, I have quite a bit to catch up on. But let’s start from the beginning…

#1. I became a qualified EFL teacher

I had been warned. The CELTA intensive course was going to be hard. Really hard. And I believed that, but then I landed in beautiful Palermo and everyone looked so chilled, lying on the beach till eight in the evening, and then getting the biggest brioche gelato ever for dinner — or was it breakfast?

Nothing seemed very hard in Sicily (unless someone parked in front of your car and you got stuck there tooting the horn until they finished their errands and slowly walked back to tell you to chill out).

Well, I was wrong. I realised that a week later, when I found myself crying over a cannoli at 3am as I prepared a grammar lesson for twelve students and six observers.

I’ll spare you the details of my struggle (this blog is supposed to be fun after all). Just know that I never saw the beach again. However, after many sleepless nights spent killing mosquitoes and reading Jeremy Harmer, I got a Pass A certificate (hooray!) and a dozen of really cool friends.

When I say really cool friends, this is what I mean

#2. I taught kids

Disclaimer: this is a work of fiction

My eyes were still puffy from sleep deprivation and saying more goodbyes than one can take when I boarded a plane to London. Next step: teaching a group of international, multilingual kids at a summer camp.

And guess what? It turned out the CELTA training isn’t that hard after all.

In a day, I was teaching almost the same amount of hours I had taught over the course. Add to that airport pick-ups, wake-up duties, half-day and whole-day excursions, art workshops, supervised meals, sports, evening activities and bedtime duties and you should get a better picture of what my life was like.

In less than twelve hours, the Great British Summer had welcomed me to my second month of sleeplessness, this time tempered by an average of 13°C with a chance of heavy showers. Which I kind of started to appreciate when two seagulls pooped on my head in Brighton.

Luckily, working with kids turned out to be pretty cool. Not only they managed to be hilarious most of the time, but the academic progress they made was simply astonishing. Every day I left the classroom without knowing who had been learning more. I guess it was probably me. Then, as we walked to the dining hall, they patiently kept teaching me stuff.

I don’t mean to brag, but now I have a really cool Chinese name and I can buy unicorn stickers in a Russian shop if I ever need to.

#3. I was observed by British Council inspectors

What my board looked like after a game-filled pre-excursion lesson

I’ll never forget the moment my Centre Manager walked in the staff room and said:

‘They’re here.’

It was 8:30am, I had been a teacher for two weeks, and I was about to be observed by a couple of scary BC inspectors as I taught three classes of kids I’d never met before. Needless to say, the sausages I’d just had for breakfast came back for a visit.

But then someone made me a cup of tea and suddenly I knew everything was going to be alright. And I was right. The following day we got first-class feedback and we celebrated with a pizza party.

#4. I realised I love my job

Because there’s no way you can be an EFL teacher unless you love it. For real.

This summer was incredibly challenging, but I would do it all over again. In fact, I can’t wait to see where this career is going to take me next… I’ll keep you updated!