Hello Exam Seekers,
Some things happened to my life in these past few days that made me think about this text you are about to read. As you can see, this post is going to be a bit more personal text, however, don’t stop reading here, I promise you that it is going to be helpful at some level!
Here are some pieces of mind that will help you achieve your goals around the ELT World.
The idea of this blog came from the difficulties to get where I got and where I want to get and make it easier for people who are going through the same struggle and process and are lost or hopeless about the Englis Language Teaching (ELT) world.
It was not a simple path as most people believe, it was a lot of hard work (and little play :P) and continuous improvement.
There are some beliefs around the teaching world that we must eliminate from our minds:
- Teachers don’t earn much money
- Teachers must work out of love and not out of salary
- Teachers are not good if they didn’t travel around
- Great teachers are people who were born in English speaking countries
- I have to sound like a native to be a great teacher
These are some precepts that are put in our minds so that we accept our conditions and don’t work for better positions in life or for happiness.
Some people believe that the path I took in life was all but luck and that I didn’t have to struggle or to fight for what I believed to get to the place I got. That usually happens because people tend to see only the results and are unable to see the falls along the way.
Does anyone relate to that?
I am still far from the goals that I set for my ideal life, but that’s how things usually happen:
You set your goals -> you struggle to achieve them -> you achieve them -> you see a bigger picture -> struggle even more -> accommodate -> fall -> realize you accommodated -> struggle even more -> achieve your goal
I’m on my way to get there and achieve what I want to achieve. It is a continuous process, it simply doesn’t happen overnight. So if you are still struggling with some of the precepts above and you are lost and you don’t really know at what point you are and what to do, come with me and let’s work this out!
STEP 1 – Eliminate precepts
As you read above, there are many things that people put in our minds that we take for ourselves and start believing in but that are not real or even healthy. I’ve never got that for myself, but most of the times when I talk to teachers, they usually suggest that I apply to work for the city and that this will “keep me safe” when in reality what keeps you safe is being the best at what you like and achieve great job positions.
So the first step is eliminating any kind of thought that might harm your goal. Don’t believe what other people say, believe that anything is possible, it just requires lots of hard work.
STEP 2 – Set goals
Before “getting your hands dirty”, set your goals. What do you want? This is the first thing you should have in mind:
- I want to teach at universities
- I want to be a private tutor
- I want to work at ___________
I’ve always wanted to become a teacher, so my goal was clear from day one. But I didn’t know that it wasn’t very well prepared, I didn’t know that I could dream even bigger so I had some falls along the way and I am still falling to get there now that I realized that I had so much to do. Therefore, to avoid falls, try to make your goals SMART:
By having them written and clear, you won’t get (much) lost along the way and you will avoid losing time in the future.
STEP 3 – Study, study, study!
After having your goals set, you need to study how to get there. There is really not much to say. If you decided on the kind of teacher you want to be, or even if you want to be a teacher or a tutor, advisor, etc… study the requirements:
- I need a bachelor and a masters degree
- I need to improve my pronunciation
- I need to refine my knowledge about the language
- I need some certifications in my area
Then study your area.
- Take undergraduate and graduate courses
- Take the CELTA, DELTA…
- Take the TKT, the CPE, CAE…
- Travel abroad
- Take courses in other countries
- Take pronunciation courses and teacher development courses
There is a lot you can do.
STEP 4 – Start a step below
Whenever you enter a company there is always a Pre-Service Training, which will teach you how to work in that company. If you take undergraduate studies, there’s always the internship.
So whatever you decided that would be your goal, focus on getting a job position which might not be ideal, but that you know that will grant you the knowledge to get a better position on the second stage of your professional life.
Don’t expect someone to order you to do an internship (eg: some courses that demand it), or that you will get your first paid-job with a high salary. Do it all yourself! If you are still not working and have a lot of free time, look for places that you know that will grant you a job opportunity (even if it doesn’t pay you much or if it doesn’t pay you at all). You will get the know-how and networking. Moreover, it will help you fill the “former experiences” box in your résumé.
STEP 5 – Continuous improvement
If you have already studied the basics and you are already in a company, now it’s time to invest in your career in the sense of getting better positions. For that, there are many professional development courses that will raise your market value. the more you learn and the more you know, the more job openings will come to you.
If your goal is very far from you, you should start slow and low. By studying and developing your skills, little by little your dream job will be closer and open the doors for you, but you need to be ready for it to come.
WILL THIS HELP ME?
The answer is YES!
These were the steps I took and it has been working for me. As I said, it hasn’t been a straight line, but as I mentioned, I didn’t have much knowledge in the field and my goals were not clear.
I had already decided that I would become an English teacher by the time I reached high school. I had also decided on the university that I would take my 4 years of college. Thankfully, I had chosen a good university with a great name in the market. Even though it is a prestigious university, the Language course was one of the lowest investments and I was lucky that my parents were able to pay for the first 3 years.
While I was taking the course, I had already started working. First, I started as an unpaid intern for the English school I had studied. My first salary would come just 1 year and a half later when they hired me. It was not much (around R$400 per month), but I was able to save it all in a savings account. This granted me the opportunity of paying the last year of course (since my father had lost his job and wasn’t able to afford another college year).
By showing I was a good professional, colleagues spread my resume and I got another job back then. Both of them were not my ideal jobs, but they made the opportunity of travelling abroad real. I went to Canada with the money I had saved from these schools and I took the TKT prep-course. It opened up my eyes and I realized that the ELT world was much bigger than I expected. I soon took the FCE after the 3 modules of the TKT. I paid for the three TKTs, but I was lucky that my boss was implementing the Cambridge exams at school and they were given one FCE for free, which he offered and I accepted.
It took me a while to get to know the ELT world. Before taking the CELTA in 2015, I had worked for some other English schools which improved my teaching skills. But it was all hard work. I had to travel every day for 1-2 hour(s) by train (morning rush hour) to go and another hour to come back home at night. There were times I worked from 7:30am until 10pm. It was a struggle. But I never gave up and I knew there would be better places and that I could be the great teacher I was in places that would value this.
With the money I gathered, I took the CELTA, CELTA YLE, CPE, ICELT…
I moved schools a few times, but always looking for a better place to work. Recently I found my real place and I have been working hard to get there. Accepting many things and taking more development courses while I am unable to get there. If I had known these steps before, much of what I did in life I would’ve done earlier, and that’s why I share it with you guys so that you know, the sooner the better.
I know I am privileged and I had some luck, but the personal effort and personal choices make a lot of difference.
I hope that this text helps you open your eyes and know that even though life is difficult, you can dream big and reach your goals. Just work hard and believe.
Have a nice day and a great weekend.