Alumni Spotlight: Andy Grant

Temple in South Korea

Why did you choose the International TEFL Academy?

Andy: I heard about the International TEFL Academy online, and was drawn to the idea of teaching abroad, not only because of the opportunity to travel and experience a new culture, but also because of my love of the English language which I developed while getting my Creative Writing degree from Colorado State University.

I was attracted to International TEFL Academy because the online classes allowed for flexibility and the recruiters were both helpful and encouraging. It seemed like a good idea to learn some techniques for teaching and know what to expect, rather than going in blind with no experience.

How did the course prepare you for teaching abroad?

Andy: The class was interesting and not very difficult as long as you kept up with the reading. It was set up with a focus on critical thinking and peer review. The teacher was helpful, encouraging, and accessible by email at nearly any time. It was also great to read the work done by my peers, as well as to get feedback from them on my own work. There was definitely a classroom community feel even though the class was online.

For me, the best part of the class was the practicum which required us to observe 20 hours of a real TESL class. I observed classes both at UCLA, and a small, private language school also in LA, CA. It was really great to see the mechanics of the classroom, the dynamic between teacher and student, and the genuine desire to learn from the diverse student population. I found this both very helpful and encouraging.

I found a job fairly easily after posting my resume on several international job sites online. I spent some time looking for jobs, researching the location and circumstances in which i wanted to teach, and sending out emails with my resume and cover letter. After coming in contact with an attractive potential employer, I completed a quick phone interview and posted a short video of myself online for the school to view. From there, the school offered me a job and i accepted after some short deliberation about the contract. Here is the link to the video if you want to check it out, its kind of cheesy but could give you an idea of what the schools are looking for.

How has this experience impacted your future?

Andy: I am going into this experience with an open mind. I really want to learn while i am living and working abroad, not only about the Korean culture but also about myself and the world in a very broad sense. It seems to me that the very best way to learn is to thrust yourself into the unknown, to push and bend the boundaries in which you feel comfortable until they no longer exist. That is the goal, to completely eliminate these boundaries through experiencing new things. I don't expect it to be easy, and I don’t necessarily want it to be. All in all, Ii guess my biggest expectation is to grow.