Living and Teaching English in Buenos Aires!
One of the goals of Elebaires is to help budding English teachers on their journey to becoming creative, energetic, and inspiring at the front of the classroom! Here we have a TEFL alumni describing her TEFL experience and learning process!
As a recent college grad, who was (/is) looking to explore the world, abandon comforts, live in another country, and learn a different language; I found that my own language was an awesome way to do that. So, terrified and apprehensive, I jumped ship and escaped to Buenos Aires to teach English. What I was met and welcomed by at Elebaires was the start of what made me want to stay so long. I took the month long TEFL course and although one month in no way sounds like a sufficient amount of time to transform yourself into a teacher (especially when you haven’t heard the word ´grammar´ in years), I felt so prepared and ready to take on my own students. First, I have to say that Elebaires became such a crucial and amazing resource for me in things like making friends, asking about the city, wifi to do my assignments, and just seeing friendly and familiar faces.
I always knew that it was possible to take the TEFL course online but I absolutely recommend taking it in person. First of all, the face-to-face course allows you to meet and most likely build relationship with other budding teachers which I found very important as I was planning to live here for a while after. It gave me the opportunity to ask questions to my teacher who was experienced in teaching and the Argentinean culture. The other huge advantage about choosing this TEFL method was the practical experience it gave me, allowed me to gain confidence and feel as though I was ready to take on the role as a teacher. Throughout the whole course we gave mini mock lessons to our peers and then in the last 2 weeks of the course I was responsible for preparing and teaching classes to real Argentinean students. I even taught a class at a local language center as part of the course. I greatly benefitted from these experiences and felt very prepared afterwards! I really enjoyed everything about my course. The people were amazing and SO helpful in my transition into Argentina life and culture. I learned so much from the community that ran the course and they really put an emphasis on making sure we were getting acclimated to life here. After the course, I got my first couple of students through the school where I took the TEFL course, from other teachers that were leaving the country. Then I also applied to other programs where I found the company that I work for however, it is not hard to find work because a lot of people want to learn from a native English speaker. I decided to teach individual students instead of in a classroom setting but that is completely up to your preferences. A typical work week for me is a little unconventional because I don’t work in a school or English institute. Instead, I have about 10 individual students that I meet each week, usually in their homes. I also teach English at a shipping business for its employees one hour a day Tuesday-Friday. So, that being said, every day I meet an average of 3-4 students for an average of 1 hour, so a lot of my day is traveling all over the city to meet them at their house (which is actually pretty cool because you get to see more of the city), and preparing classes. Since I teach individual students, I teach all ages and all levels. I have a 5 year old student, a 67 year old student, and every age in between so it is interesting to explore the different ages and levels!
Although I did not come here because of any burning passion to be a teacher, I love what I do and see the importance in my students. Honestly the best thing about teaching my students is the relationship I have built with every one of them. Since the topic of the ‘classroom’ is language, we end up talking about all sorts of topics, including personal ones, in order to practice. With personal anecdotes and opinions being shared it is not unusual to develop a relationship with your students. I can say that I genuinely enjoy meeting most of my students every week because we have built that rapport.
Sooooooooo, to those of you thinking about coming to take the course, TAKE THE LEAP!!! ITS SCARY BUT IT SOOO WORTH IT! I promise you won’t regret it.