Updated: Aug 17, 2018
I am from a family of educators, but I never saw myself within the field. As a former collegiate athlete with a degree in Kinesiology, I always thought the natural progression would be a career in athletics. Little did I know a phone call from the Peace Corps in early February 2010 would set me into a trajectory of education abroad!
It's nearly been 10 years since the journey began, but I still remember the words spoken on the other side of the phone as if it were yesterday.
China: "Travis. What are your thoughts on teaching English in East Java, Indonesia instead of working on HIV/AIDS in Western Africa? You have 24 hours to decide. And, oh yeah, you leave in a month."
I hung up the phone, googled where Indonesia was, told my folks of the new development, and made my decision within minutes.
Me: "China. This is Travis. Send me the documents I need to sign! I'm in."
I had a crash course in teaching English upon arriving to Indonesia alongside the other 19 Peace Corps Volunteers. Little did I know, English is a really hard language to break down and especially hard for students that have never interacted with a native English speaker before. Not only that, but Bahasa Indonesia doesn't have any tenses, unlike English which has 13 TENSES and about a bazillion exceptions to each rule.
Teaching English as a foreign language requires a lot of creativity and constant flexibility, especially within a classroom setting. For some, English clicks quickly while for others they don't necessarily see the value of learning a foreign language they may never use again. Keeping it relevant is key to keeping students invested and engaged.
Inspired by my time teaching in Indonesia, I went back to the States to receive a Master's in Education immediately following my Peace Corps service. Unsure what exactly I wanted to do with the degree, I knew whatever it was would be within this field.
Four years post graduation I now find myself traveling full time, entering International Schools in each country I visit accompanying Ross OC Jennings as he speaks to students. Whatever it was, being in the school environment felt like home and I knew I needed to find myself back in this space.
During our most recent adventures through Southern Africa, we had the opportunity to visit a Peace Corps Volunteer in which I recruited; Madison BlueJacket. The village is tucked away in the mountains, two hours from Tseka-Tseka, and upon arriving to her site we quickly found ourselves in the classroom full of 13 enthusiastic students. Feeling like I never left, I found myself knelt down beside the students walking them through the dictionary speaking slowly and clearly so they caught every word; it felt like I never left. Driving away from Madison's site, I knew exactly what I missed; teaching young people!
Since our visit to Madison's site in Lesotho, I've been looking for ways to continue teaching but also still travel. I was recently introduced to TEFL Org UK. An internationally accredited TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) program that offers online courses where you can receive your TEFL certificate online. At the moment, I am taking the 120-Hour Premier Online TEFL Course, which by the end of it, will provide me lifetime access to the TEFL Job centre, CV support, and most importantly a TEFL Certificate! Although I am not ready to find myself back in a classroom just yet, taking the TEFL Org UK course is the perfect way for me to teach, travel, and earn money!
To learn more and find the perfect course for you, check out TEFL Org UK!