Alumni Spotlight: Nicole Janes

Nicole with her students

What inspired you to teach ESL?

Nicole: I'd been involved with tutoring programs since I was in high school, and teaching was always something I'd been interested in pursuing. When I began to consider going abroad, I decided that teaching would be a good way to go about it.

Why did you choose WorldTeach?

Nicole: What I liked about WorldTeach was that you decide where you want to go. I'd wanted to go to Tanzania for a long time, and WorldTeach seemed like the perfect opportunity. Plus, the time commitment (one year) wasn't as daunting as other longer programs.

Describe your day to day activities as a teacher in Tanzania.

Nicole: I lived outside of town, so I biked a mile everyday to school. Every morning there was an assembly where teachers made announcements and checked students' uniforms, then classes began around 8am. The students stayed in the same room all day, and the teachers moved from class to class. My schedule varied everyday, so some days I spent more time in the classroom than others. When I wasn't teaching, I spent most of my time planning lessons, grading papers and helping students with homework in the staff room. School ended with another assembly at 2:30pm, and then I biked home.

Students sitting outside during the weekly debate

How has this experience impacted your future?

Nicole: It has cemented my professional interests in East Africa and global health. While teaching in Tanzania was a great experience, I now know that I do not want to teach as a career.

What is one piece of advice you would give to others thinking about teaching abroad?

Nicole: Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. There's no telling where you will end up, so be positive and remember you're participating in a different culture.