Staff Spotlight: Kla J. Zelum

Media & IT Support


Kla J. Zelum (Ben Z.) is half Thai/American. He was born in Bangkok and grew up in Dubai, U.A.E. After 15 years in Dubai, he finally came back to Thailand and has been living here for the last 14 years. Over the years in Bangkok, he taught himself to speak Thai and has been working in different industries, until finally stumbling upon teaching English. He has been teaching English for over 7 years with a focus on Corporate English. Taking a TEFL Course has really improved his teaching abilities; it has made him more fun, interactive and confident.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memory was my 7 day trip to Tokyo, Japan. It was my first time travelling without my family and it was quite an experience. The difference in culture, food, traditions and especially the cool weather really made it a memorable trip.
The best part of the trip was just how easy it was to get lost in Tokyo and still find a nice cafe or restaurant to stop at. I will definitely go back to Tokyo very soon!

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I have worked in several different industries before, but coming into my current company has really helped me grow. I work with a diverse group of colleagues and always meet new people from around the world. Each person in the team is dynamic and working never gets old. I have come to appreciate the learning curve of operating a business such as the one I am currently at and I have learned that I can always develop myself further.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

There are too many great and heartwarming stories to even choose a favorite. We have had students come back to us and say that they are living their dream lives in Thailand, and students who have said they are extremely grateful for us guiding them on the right path to finding themselves. Other great stories are of students who were able to receive jobs even before they graduated from the TEFL Course.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would take our Flexitime Course, for sure. Having the convenience of doing the TEFL Course partly at home (at your own pace) and coming to Bangkok for the practical aspects definitely makes things easier and more streamlined, as you are fully prepared to create lesson once you step into the TEFL Course.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Training and moulding over 3,000 (and counting) teachers is a a big job that requires dedication to your business. I applaud the TEFL Academy's founder, James Parmelee, for the amount of heart and soul poured into the TEFL Course. Also, seeing his son and daughter-in-law take the reins and continuing his legacy while still maintaining the highest of standards really makes me proud to be part of the team.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

In the TEFL Industry, being able to train international students to be motivated, enthusiastic, entertaining and understanding teachers to Thai students is what is needed. Teaching in Thailand is more than just having an English accent and the ability to teach grammar and vocabulary. It requires all English Teachers to understand how Thai students learn and for teachers to create a link between their cultures with the Thai culture.