Ecuador will always be special to me because it’s where I started teaching English as a foreign language. My first job was teaching three hyperactive teenagers in a language academy in the centre of Quito. They only paid me $2 an hour, but I wasn’t bothered about the money. I was living abroad and starting a new experience so the financial benefits were meaningless. It was in this job that I realized I made the right move in becoming a TEFL teacher.
The three kids: Pablo, Mila, and Diana, were a handful to start with. At first they didn’t take to me and disliked my posh British accent (as a Londoner no one had ever called me posh before). We battled and argued, I shouted and lost my temper, and they acted like spoilt brats. What had I got myself into?
A senior teacher told me to learn some Spanish swear words. So I did. I asked other teachers, researched on the internet, and boosted my vocabulary. The change in their attitude was amazing. When Mila stormed in the class slagging off the director I told her to wait outside. When they found out that I knew what they were saying the bad language cut down (not completely) and they began to respect me.
After a couple of weeks the director told us that they had to do a written and oral presentation to pass their course. At times it was hard motivating them but we had fun. I enjoyed correcting their mistakes and perfecting their pronunciation. When the big day arrived we were all nervous.
They made special graduation hats and gave me one. Watching them perform in front of the director and other teachers was great and presenting them with their certificates was a proud moment. That was my first buzz as a teacher, and when I knew I’d made the right decision to enter the world of TEFL.