Hailing from a small town in Northern Ireland, where the song Danny Boy was penned, Joanna has since spread her wings and lived in a number of other countries and travelled to many more. She completed undergraduate studies in Belfast and post-graduate studies at Cambridge. Since then, she has been teaching students from many countries. She has fallen in love with Austria and felt the pull to return to the mountains and the lakes…and, of course, the food! Her time abroad allows her to bring a wealth of experience and a unique, personal style to young learners and her role with the GET Academy in Austria.
What is your favorite travel memory?
I am not sure I have one single memory that stands out. I have been fortunate enough to travel to a lot of different countries and I am continuing to tick more destinations off. Some of the highlights have included seeing the Grand Canyon, eating gelato sitting at the foot of the Colosseum in Rome, eating Kaesespatezle (a sort of cheese curd) in a mountain hut in Austria after a busy morning of skiing. A lot of my highlights include food!
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
Absolutely! As teachers and teacher trainers, we are always learning and developing our skills; important traits to have, no matter where you are in your career. I have taken on new responsibilities in my role as well, like being involved in recruitment and marketing, and learned a lot while here in Austria.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
We hear back from a lot of our Student Teachers. It is fantastic when we get messages from them to let us know where they are in the world and how what they learned here in Austria is still guiding them in their jobs today and the experience they gained here has led them to promotions and progression quicker than their peers from courses elsewhere.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
I actually did the CertTESOL course and TEFL-YL course with the GET Academy a number of years ago. I would definitely do it again - the classroom experience you gain during the course is invaluable and can be transferred to other teaching in whatever location you end up in. When I see what we achieved with regards to improving the course I would immediately recommend it to others. It is such a unique course and the number of direct teaching hours is more than you will get anywhere else in the world. This, along with the staff you get to work with and the students you meet, all make it the best option for gaining your TEFL qualification. It sets you apart from graduates from courses elsewhere.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
Our capacity to take on board feedback from our Student Teachers and make changes to continually improve our course is something I am very proud of. The feedback we get from our graduates as well shows us that the experience and methodologies they encounter here with us all set them apart from their peers from TEFL courses in other locations.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
GET Academy, for me, is the perfect blend of teaching and Teacher Training. We get to welcome new Student Teachers and guide and observe them to help them grow and develop into the teachers they are and plan to be. Also, as I mentioned in my previous answer, the capacity to consistently take on board feedback and the drive to improve what you do!