I’ve been so engrossed in doing some online learning that I’ve neglected to blog regularly for a while. And now, after several weeks of sleepless nights, I’m finally done with my TEFL course and now I’m certified to teach English as a foreign language 🙂
It probably sounds strange because prior to coming to Rome, it has never crossed my mind to teach English. But after two years of living here, I was starting to get restless. I miss being able to contribute my skills and getting paid for it.
Ever since I’ve lived in Rome, I’ve been looking at online advertisements like wanted in Rome and sent in my resume, some to companies finding English speaking travel writers, some looking for someone good in social media who are English speakers. But with the influx of people coming into Rome, jobs like that are snapped up quite quickly.
And that was when I contemplated to teach English. As much as I preferred to teach computing, it seems that there is a higher demand here for English teachers. I tried sending my resume to a few private schools. And tried to a few more. And then to a few more after that.
The last straw was during the beginning of February, after I’ve sent my nth resume and nothing happened. Not even a reply to tell me that I was rejected. It was very frustrating. This gives me the impression that 99.9% of these private schools are only wants Native speakers.
What does Native speaker mean? Does it mean that only people coming from countries like USA and UK, Australia and Ireland are considered Native speakers?
I strongly disagree with that.
I do consider myself as a native speaker because Singapore is an English speaking country. Even though we have a mother tongue, we are educated since young in English and we communicate to each other in English. Many of us are able to balance our bilingual trait. I myself feel comfortable speaking in Malay to my parents and English to my friends. Perhaps we might not sound English because of our accents. But it is English.
Its a huge fallacy that just because one does not come from an “English” country that they are not able to speak English well. In fact, only 3% of Britons speak queen’s English while the rest of the population speak in a mix of cockney and all sorts of other regional dialects.
But I can understand why too many Italian private schools have that perception. If you wanted the best Tom Yum Goong, naturally you’ll think of Thailand. The Best Sushi? Japan. Best Pizza? Italy. And so on. It’s a strong mindset.
I do understand.
But it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s true the entire time. I just cannot accept that ONLY Italian people are fantastic pizza makers for example, and ONLY the Japanese are great at making sushi.
And so, I started to take up my online course more in anger than anything else. I felt so maligned and felt judged that I wasn’t even given a chance. I needed to do something to prove that I am just as qualified.
And so I took an online course with i-to-i TEFL course. I’ll probably write more about my experience in another post but all in all, it has been a positive one.
Of course learning in a class is superior compared to learning online. But despite what many might think, it’s not necessarily easy. There are pre-requisites for being certified and for me, I was required to pass all my modules. If I fail one module three times, regardless of which level, I’m out of the course.
All in all, I think that online learning isn’t for everyone. It takes a lot of self discipline to sit down and study and write your homework without being distracted by external factors.
In the end, perhaps my certificate might not be worth it in the end because it’s an online course but with the new knowledge that I’m equipped with, I feel more ready to teach.
At the moment I’m tutoring two kids. Things look fine so far. And I’ve been trying to apply the new things that I’ve learnt and my long term goal is that they do better in school. I’m looking forward to having more students if possible. Teaching has been quite enjoyable for me and I’ve always liked sharing my skills.
As for private English schools? I’ll just give them a passover for now.