Staff Spotlight: James Jenkin

Editor's note: As of November 2015, James no longer works at i-to-i TEFL.


James Jenkin completed a degree in Russian Language, and first worked as a Russian teacher and author of Russian language materials. After completing a Cambridge CELTA qualification, he taught English as a Foreign Language in Australia, China and Vietnam. Later he held management roles in a number of language centers including RMIT University, Monash University and Holmes Institute. James spent 15 years working alongside i-to-i ; first involved in teacher training, then as a CELTA and i-to-i tutor, and finally as i-to-i's Academic Director.

What position do you hold at i-to-i TEFL? What has been your career path so far?

James: I'm Academic Director at i-to-i TEFL. I started off as a Russian teacher in Australia, but then heard about this amazing opportunity to travel and teach English. For the last 15 years I've been a teacher trainer, which is my absolute love, as I get to witness TEFL changing people's lives.

Did you work abroad? If so, where and what inspired you to go?

James: I worked in Vietnam and China for many years and taught oil engineers, government officials and airline pilots - just typical opportunities in the TEFL world. I first went because working on an oil rig with Vietnamese and Russians sounded interesting!

What does the future hold for i-to-i TEFL - any exciting new projects to share?

James: i-to-i have always been the innovators in the industry, with the first weekend intensive TEFL course, and the first online TEFL course. And we plan to stay the innovators, with several revolutionary new training products to be revealed shortly! But no matter how we deliver our programs, or what technology we use, our goal is always to make teachers confident and skilled, and ensure they get the best TEFL positions worldwide.

What about the future of the teach abroad industry? How do you think international education will change over the next 10 years?

James: The number of people learning English worldwide will continue to grow like crazy - two billion by the end of the decade! Changes? Teaching young learners, especially pre-school, is booming across Asia. If you love children, there are countless opportunities, and you can make a good living from it. Also demand for English in South-East Asia is huge and growing, as the ASEAN Economic Community - with English as the one official language - is being fully implemented in 2015.

Which teach abroad destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?

James: I think people underrate destinations that aren't so physically attractive - but teaching is such a meaningful vocation, anywhere brings incredible rewards. Also, working somewhere 'undiscovered' by tourists makes you a pioneer. I don't think there is a most overrated. Teaching English is always a life-changing career choice.