Rachel (24) from Aberdeen got in touch to tell us about her TEFL experience. After doing a 140-hour TEFL course with us she is currently working in the city of Sárospatak in northeast Hungary.
Being interested in communication and foreign languages, TEFL was possibly the best choice for me. I was away to graduate from a media course at Robert Gordon University Aberdeen and this was a great way to gain experience, as well as visiting other countries.
Where do you currently work?
I work at Sárospataki Református Gimnazium (Sárospatak’s Reformed High School) in north-east Hungary. I was taking over the job from a friend who taught at this school for two years. She thoroughly enjoyed the experience and knew I would too.
How would you describe a typical day?
A typical day is waking up around 6.30am and getting ready for school. The school day starts at 7.50am so it’s much earlier than UK schools. Arriving at school I then gather all my materials together and start teaching classes. My timetable varies from only three lessons on a Monday and a Friday, to eight lessons in a row on Thursdays! I teach students different topics and at the end I get them to prepare a speaking presentation, so I can see how well they have learned the topic and how well they are able to speak English.
What’s the best thing about TEFL for you?
The best thing about TEFL is being able to experience another culture and meet new people. The funniest thing that has happened to me during TEFL is probably one of the boys in my classes who hides in a cupboard and jumps out just as I got to start the lesson (bear in mind this boy is 18 years old!) Students do make me laugh, but there are times when you have to be firm with them.
…and the most exotic thing you’ve eaten abroad so far?
The most exotic thing I have ever eaten is Goulash (which is a famous Hungarian stew with meat and vegetables mixed together).
What are you doing when you’re not at work?
Life outside the classroom can be lonely sometimes, as I am the only native speaking teaching here and many people have their own family and lives to get on with. All of the students go home at weekends so it’s very quiet. However I amuse myself by visiting the sights around Sárospatak, watching films and visiting places such as Budapest.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I honestly do not know where I see myself in five years time – I’d like to be surprised!
Any advice to would-be TEFL teachers?
I would say if you want to teach English, then just do it! There’s nothing stopping you and you don’t know until you try!