Before her operation, 22-year-old Jodie, who’s from the West Midlands, UK, could never have imagined venturing to Thailand: “Because of the pain in my hip I found myself unable to enjoy the nights out and the hustle and bustle of uni life as much as I would have liked,” she says.
While the pain was solved after an operation to remove two shards of bone from her hip socket, boredom and a lack of prospects kicked in during Jodie’s recovery. It was Jodie’s Mum who eventually came to the rescue, suggesting a TEFL course to give the University of Birmingham graduate something to work towards. “I wasn’t sure about doing the TEFL course to start with because I'd never really considered teaching. But then I looked at the possibilities it would open up for me and went ahead with it. It felt good to be doing something productive when I would otherwise be sitting about doing nothing!
“With i-to-i it was so simple. I just called them up one day and said which course I wanted to do, discussed the process and the cost and I was away. They set it in a way that made it so easy to use. The TEFL course itself was difficult in parts, but with 3 months do it there isn’t any rush and i-to-i offer all the help you need if you’re struggling with any aspect. Not only that, when you’ve finished they offer you lesson plans and handy tips so that you feel fully prepared when you set off on a teaching career.
So far, has the move from Kidderminster to Thailand worked out? “Thailand is great. The people are so friendly and easy-going, the food and the nightlife are also up to scratch. I'm having an absolute ball. Most of all though, the friendly atmosphere and laid back approach that the people here have, along with the food, are the things that have made living her for the last month so comfortable and easy. “I was expecting it to be far less developed than it is, but in actual fact the shopping centres are more modern and bigger than any you’ve ever seen in the UK and the school I am working in is more technologically advanced than any school I’ve seen at home. Life here is easy and not at all what I expected.
While living in Thailand is great, the teaching certainly isn’t a walk in the park: “I am the youngest and least experienced teacher in the school and I have grades 1 and 2 to contend with. On a daily basis I have to deal with 30 six-year-olds running riot around a classroom. It's hard work and can be difficult at times, but I enjoy it and I love working with the children. “I’ve only been in the school for two weeks, so I’m still finding my feet. We all feel very welcome here and as the next few weeks go by and I know my students better, I imagine I’ll love it even more.”
So, the question is – would she recommend that others give teaching abroad a go? “If my experience so far is anything to go by then it’s definitely worth every second. I have made some great friends and live with people from all different walks of life, from all over the world. It’s a great way to meet people, to learn about other cultures and to get some experience teaching. I haven’t been here long, but I know that this job will do wonders for my confidence and I can only see it as a positive thing for the future, whether I continue to teach or not.”
“If you’re thinking about it just do it and don’t worry about it. I spent too much time worrying about it. You have to trust your instincts and your feelings and don’t let anything to hold you back.”
Teach in Thailand yourself - check out internships with i-to-i: http://www.onlinetefl.com/teaching-internships/thailand/
How far has TEFL taken you? Post your stories here: http://www.onlinetefl.com/tefl-chalkboard/groups/139-How-Far-Has-TEFL-Taken-You-/discussion/505-how-far-has-tefl-taken-you