My first experience teaching English as a foreign language was when I was 18, back in 1983. I was on a gap year before university, and I got the opportunity to spend six months in Israel. I spent two months on a kibbutz in the north, near Tiberius close to The Sea of Gallilee, and then I spent two months in Ashkelon in the south. The town was being regenerated, and I was part of a group of 18-year-olds who volunteered in a school, speaking English with the pupils. I really enjoyed this experience, although now it seems a very long time ago!
After university I did my teacher training and have spent the last 25 years working mostly as a supply teacher in a variety of schools. I have worked in primary and secondary schools, as well as special schools. There have been times when I have worked with pupils for whom English is not their first language and I always enjoyed teaching them.
In Spring 2019 I decided that I wanted to do something different with my existing skills and qualifications. My partner Chris had recently retired and I wanted to work online from home, so that I could choose my own schedule and even work when we were travelling.
I looked into doing a TEFL course, and after some research online chose TEFL Org, as I liked the idea of studying online, but also wanted some practical experience. I did the 198-hour Level 5 course and completed it in about 3 months. I also had to submit some written assignments, and I found my online tutor Joanna to be excellent – she was always very encouraging and gave me great feedback when I needed it. Our classroom course tutor Rachael was brilliant, and we had so much fun during the three days of the course!
Quite soon after successfully completing my TEFL course, I read about PalFish, and within a week I had set up my online profile, created my “classroom” in the spare bedroom, and successfully interviewed for the Official Kids Course. Almost immediately, I was receiving calls from students who wanted to practise speaking with a native English speaker, as well as teaching the Official Kids Course.
I currently live in Edinburgh, but for nearly 30 years I lived in the Shetland Islands. I still have two sons there, and one of them has recently had a baby girl so I am now a grandmother. As I spend quite a lot of time in Shetland, I find teaching online really flexible – you just need a quiet corner to set up your “classroom”, and I teach using my iPhone or iPad. All I need is reliable internet or 4G.
During July, I also had the opportunity to work for a couple of weeks with the Edinburgh School of English Young Learners’ summer school – we had pupils aged 7-17, from countries all over the world, from Qatar to Barcelona. In the mornings we taught lessons, with the focus on speaking, and pronunciation, whilst ensuring that everyone was having fun! Afternoons were dedicated to cultural and recreational activities, and I was incredibly grateful to be a part of these young people’s experiences.
I had felt quite daunted starting again as a student at the ripe old age of 53, but I can honestly say I haven’t looked back, and have never been happier with my new career thanks to TEFL Org.
12 thoughts on “Teaching English Online: Louise’s TEFL Story”
Reading your experience has given me the impetus to contact you. I have one assignment to finish and I will complete the five unit TEFL course. I have not studied English since school days.
I am 70 years old and as fit a two fiddles, an active football league referee observer and can still run around a football field and referee matches. I work as Bank Tutor at a SEN College in Manchester. I love the work or should I say the fantastic pleasure you get seeing these young people achieve.
I am really interested in telephone teaching, can you offer any further advice please?
Hello Brian, that’s so good to hear, am glad I’ve inspired you! If you’re interested in PalFish, here is my referral code, you simply click on this link, then download the app onto your smart phone or tablet! I’m Teacher Lou💐 in PalFish world!
I need to get TEFL certificate because I need online English language Teachinh job.
How do I go about this?
Hi Jacinta, you can check out our TEFL courses here and we also run a specialist course for teaching English online 🙂
very encouraging. I too have recently studied and got TEFL certs. (supply teacher too!) and now need to get my ‘home-classroom’ sorted. Keep up the good work.
Thanks! Glad my story is encouraging other students 😊
Truly inspired Louise; is it possible to make a living here in the UK? I currently work in an admin role, but as a carer who could do with a flexible work schedule, something like TEFL would be ideal! Thank you in advance, Aarti
Hello, yes, it is possible, there are lots of online teaching platforms, as well as language schools etc, just go for it!
Louise and Brian, you are both inspirational and I’m following your examples and signing up!
Reading your story has inspired me to go ahead and pursue my TEFL. I am a year younger than you, and with working all of my life in the medical field, I have decided to leave that career and pursue a career teaching English online and abroad. Thank you for showing me that even at this age, your dreams can still come true.
Sorry for delay in replying, very glad to hear that, and thanks!
Hello Louise, I am seriously looking at teaching English online but am very daunted about it all. I am a little older, 55, and have just been made redundant as and Accounts Manager woring in Finance, not the first time, but now I am fed up of being at someone else’s mercy. I did go to uni in 2009 and trained to be a Primary School Teacher which I am now qualified but got fed up of OFSTED and children being treated as numbers and not children. Want to be in control and put to good use what I have but am very apprehensive about the whole thing. I suppose, like many of us, I just need the reassurance that it will work and yes, you can do it.