PremierTEFL Stories: How John made a difference with the Anglo-TEFL Scholarship

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John McGrath is a former mathematics student from Kilmarnock, Scotland, who decided to follow his dream of teaching English in a foreign country. While undertaking one of Angloville’s programs, he stumbled on the Anglo-TEFL Scholarship and signed himself up. Now, armed with a TEFL qualification (or two) and a wealth of voluntary experience under his belt, he’s setting his sights on teaching English in Vietnam. Let’s find out a bit more about John’s Anglo-TEFL experience and his love for pierogi. 

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What career did you have before you decided to get into TEFL and why did you decide to make the change to teaching English abroad?

I had spent four unfulfilling years studying mathematics at university and, faced with the prospect in a field which was not my passion, I asked myself: What do I want to do?

Instantly, I realised I wanted to teach English. I have always loved the subject and, having been bitten by the travel bug several years ago, the idea of teaching in a foreign country took hold of me.

Also, to be able to teach others – and guide them through their first steps in the English language – is an opportunity that is rewarding in ways beyond money. It forges a connection with the student(s) and you help them open their eyes to an entirely new world that will become available to them.

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“…to be able to teach others – and guide them through their first steps in the English language – is an opportunity that is rewarding in ways beyond money. It forges a connection with the student(s) and you help them open their eyes to an entirely new world that will become available to them.”

How did you find out about the Anglo-TEFL Scholarship program?

I was introduced to the Anglo-TEFL program whilst I was volunteering with Angloville. The coordinator described the TEFL course and all the benefits in detail.

What tips can you give people who want to teach English in Poland?

Don’t you dare leave Poland without having tried pierogi.

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What was the best part of the Ango-TEFL Scholarship program?

Other than the pierogi?

The opportunity to meet new people was incredible. There was so much scope for creativity in every session because every participant had led such a unique life.

The most rewarding part of the experience was the humility and gratitude the Polish students showed towards the native speakers. These were all legitimately successful and often intimidating people (although always friendly and approachable) and yet they constantly showed their appreciation to us in such a way that you felt absolutely sure that your time had been well spent and that you really made a difference.

“The most rewarding part of the experience was the humility and gratitude the Polish students showed towards the native speakers…they constantly showed their appreciation to us in such a way that you felt absolutely sure that your time had been well spent and that you really made a difference.”

For me that’s probably the most important thing in life – to have fun and be kind and, along the way, realise that what you are doing is really changing things for the better.

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What was the biggest challenge?

Not to sound flippant, but I genuinely can’t think of any major challenges along the way. Perhaps speaking to participants who struggled with basic English but even that was not a challenge – we simply began with rudimentary grammar rules and that was never anything but enjoyable.

What are you planning to do now that you’ve completed the Anglo-TEFL Scholarship?

I am planning to teach English in Asia (probably in Hanoi, Vietnam), having only completed the Anglo-TEFL program recently. Why wait?

I have taught English in Europe where there is a firm connection between cultures and people, but now is the time to try something new and experience a world that felt totally inaccessible to me less than a year ago.

As a friend once told me, after returning from teaching in South Korea, “having a TEFL certificate is basically like having a passport – you can go anywhere.”

Would you recommend the Anglo-TEFL Scholarship to others?

I would absolutely recommend the Anglo-TEFL program to people who are starting at the beginning with no experience and no fixed idea of how to go about teaching English abroad. The course is thorough, with an abundance of extra material and useful hints and tips, ranging from teaching basic grammar structure to advanced class-management techniques to an explanation of the different environments to expect in different areas of the world.

“The course is thorough, with an abundance of extra material and useful hints and tips, ranging from teaching basic grammar structure to advanced class-management techniques to an explanation of the different environments to expect in different areas of the world.”

The Anglo-TEFL program is, in my opinion, not necessary for people who have a TEFL certificate or have teaching experience abroad. Having said that, I already owned a TEFL certificate before participating in the course and I don’t regret taking part.

The course is worthwhile, interesting and, when coupled with the Angloville program (which is the best thing I have ever done), it opens the door to a multitude of opportunities. It also opens your eyes to the beautiful truth – there’s a world out there.

“The course is worthwhile, interesting and, when coupled with the Angloville program (which is the best thing I have ever done), it opens the door to a multitude of opportunities. It also opens your eyes to the beautiful truth – there’s a world out there.”

Have you recently completed the Anglo-TEFL Scholarship?

Share your story with future participants by sending us your feedback!

Do you also want to make a difference like John?

Apply for the Anglo-TEFL Scholarship and if you meet the application criteria you’ll get 120 hours of accredited TEFL training (with us, PremierTEFL) plus over 130 hours of observed teaching practice with our partners Angloville. Afterwards you’ll be fully qualified to teach English all over the world and have a wealth of practical experience that will give you an edge over other TEFL-certified teachers. Click here for more information about the program. 

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