17.07.2018, by Becca Wika
Teach the World: USA
When did you get TEFL certified with Hello Academies? After you graduated, where did you teach English?
I got TEFL certified in September 2015. After graduating, I worked at a few different language schools throughout Prague, until I found employment at a private preschool in Černošice where I taught 4-6 year olds. The preschool was an English immersion school and so all instruction was in English, which was a lot of fun but also created some challenges from time to time!
What are you currently doing now that you have returned back home to California?
Before I traveled to Prague with my partner Austin, I had been exploring science and environmental education as a possible career. While I loved teaching in Prague, I really missed being able to take deep dives into different science topics, so that was definitely part of the reason that we returned to the US where there were more opportunities for me to continue to explore that career. Currently, I’m working at the Lawrence Hall of Science where I teach on-site and outreach science programs, including Science Shows, Science Festivals, and workshops. I make stuff explode, play with Tesla Coils(if you don’t know what a Tesla Coil is, check out this awesome video), dissect squid, and encourage students to see themselves as scientists as they explore the material and the world around them.
Can you tell us how your English teaching experience and TEFL qualification has helped with your current career in the United States?
While I’m not teaching English directly in my current career, I definitely depend on the classroom management and teaching strategies that I learned at Hello Academies in my current role. As an informal educator, someone who doesn’t teach in a classroom with the same students everyday, I teach students all over Northern California. These classes are all incredibly diverse and reflect the linguistic and cultural diversity of California as a whole. As a result, I am often teaching classes that have students who may be English Language Learners, or even if they are fluent in English, many students speak a language other than English at home. My experiences as an English teacher in Prague has provided me with a great foundation for teaching students of all English language ability, and is a skill that I constantly utilize and emphasize when communicating with teachers.
What advice can you give to those who want to pursue a teaching career when they move back to their home country after getting their TEFL certificate and teaching English in another country?
My advice for folks who want to pursue teaching in the States after getting their TEFL certificate is to go for it! Even if you aren’t sure if you want to be a classroom teacher, having an understanding of how to teach students who are English Language Learners gives you a really great way to enter the educational field in the US. In most states, you can become a substitute teacher after passing a basic skills test and obtaining a substitute license. You can also explore teaching in after-school programs, summer camps, or informal educational environments such as museums or science centers if you’d like more experience before getting a teaching credential or Master’s degree. If you loved teaching in Prague, chances are you’ll find a similar role in the US, and understanding the specific needs of ELL’s will definitely prepare you for a teaching career anywhere in the US.