Alumni Spotlight: James Daniel Lindley


J.D. Lindley was reared in New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and North Carolina. He has several academic degrees, taught college, and practiced law. He currently resides in Boston, where he volunteers teaching ESL.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose CIEE-TEFL Certification because a friend who is an experienced and respected ESL instructor recommended it to me. The program is not costly and is completed in only 11 weeks. Because it is online, students can work the course on their own schedules. CIEE Certification is widely respected in the industry.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I had to provide my own computer. Beyond that, CIEE provided everything.

The entire course was electronic. Our tutorials were video conferences through Canvas. Our assignments were written, audio, or video, but, regardless of form, they were all submitted online.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I wish that I had known more about how to create audio and video files on Canvas, but I learned these things as the program progressed. I would tell friends who are thinking about going overseas to teach that CIEE has a great program. The course really prepares students to teach and transitions seamlessly to placement in several countries.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Every weekday there was an assignment. In addition, on Monday there was an online tutorial, which was led by my tutor. I could see and hear all of my classmates who were in attendance, and I could actually interact with them in real time.

The tutorial was very useful in preparing for the weekly "Module Graded Assignment." These got more complex each week, but were true opportunities for meaningful growth. We also had at least one discussion board each week where we all had to write something and then comment on that which was written by our peers.

I took extensive notes, which I found extremely useful when preparing for graded tests. My note taking probably made the course more time consuming for me than perhaps for others, but I now have a valuable tool with which to create lessons and courses.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I have taught for many years. I am not going abroad. I took this course in order to qualify to teach ESL here in the United States.

My biggest fear is that it may be difficult to get a job. To the extent my views changed, I learned that the English language is truly the world's language today. The best way for an ordinary person to help people to improve their lives is to teach them English.

Is there anything you wish you would have known prior to the course?

If I were to take this course again, I would spend some time at the beginning learning the technical skills the course requires. I probably wasted a lot of time learning things ad hoc, when I could have saved time by anticipating the things that were going to be required of me and having prepared in advance.