Meet Brandi, an amazing woman who decided to travel down to South America in search of a new experience. After years of working in a different career, she decided to pack up her bags and pursue her life long dream of teaching English. Check out all of Brandi’s amazing teaching adventures in Argentina.
You were originally on a much different career-path. What made you switch to teaching.
I have always wanted to be a teacher since I was a little kid but, I decided to take a different career path for many reasons. After about 4 years of my career, I still wondered about teaching and realized that one of the things I loved the most about my job was teaching new hires or consultants what we do and how to do it. I was given an amazing opportunity from my company to take time off, almost like a sabbatical to explore teaching.
Did you always know you’d end up in Argentina?
Yes, I have had a desire to explore Latin America, especially Argentina, for a while now. I spent 4 months studying in Spain when I was 20 years old and always wanted to have an experience with Argentina to compare the different cultures and aspects of the Spanish language. What I did not know, was that I would end up teaching in Argentina.
What’s your favorite thing about working as a teacher?
My favorite thing about working as a teacher is the ability to see the growth in students. I find it extremely rewarding to see how students can grow and develop and come to learn even more than I thought I could teach them. This also helps me grow because I have a different experience with each student, causing myself to also learn and grow.
You’ve had previous experience working in a Spanish school, did you learn any techniques from that experience you employed during your teaching in Argentina
My previous experience in a Spanish school was more of an afterschool program, teaching English to about 20-25 kids. While my experience was slightly different, I was able to use techniques that I learned here in Argentina.
For example, while I know the Spanish language, it is better not to use it in the English classroom otherwise the students will just speak Spanish. I also learned some ways of quitting a room and regaining focus when the students appear bored. For example, using a game to get the students refocused and excited.
What is your favorite age-group to work with and why? Would you consider teaching other age groups?
I currently have classes with 4-6 year olds, 8-12 year olds, 14-16 year olds and adults. Currently, my favorite age group is 14-16 years old because they want to be in the classroom and are able to connect on a different level but aren’t as timid as the adults who are afraid of being wrong.
I enjoy having an experience where I get to teach a variety of ages because I get to learn many different things about the types of students and about myself as a teacher. It can be challenging to switch between ages but I enjoy the ability to have different experiences.
What’s the most memorable classroom moment you’ve had with your students?
My most memorable moment with my students was our lesson on the advantages and disadvantages of social media. I did the class with my 12-14 year olds and 14-16 year olds and was very impressed by the responses. Not only did they have very intelligent answers, but they were also extremely excited to speak about the topic.
Both classes had similar answers but on slightly different levels of maturity and language abilities. I was very moved by their answers and will not forget that lesson.
What advice do you have for someone on the fence about whether to teach abroad or not?
Do it, do it, do it! Even if it is just for a small period of time and has nothing to do with your career path. To be honest, I still do not know if teaching full time is my calling or if I will end up back in my previous career, but what I do know is this experience so far has taught me so many things.
I have learned more about myself, another culture and country, about teaching and learning a second language at all different ages, and even more about a second language for me that I did not previously know. The best part is the things that I am learning are not things that pertain to just teaching, they’re things that I can apply to my life no matter where it takes me, which is something irreplaceable and unforgettable.
If you want to read some more incredible stories like Brandi’s, check out:
- 9 Best Things to Do During Your TEFL Internship in Argentina
- Our Favorite Brazil Nuts – Meet Margot & Erik, Two TEFLers in São Paulo
- Teaching life in South Korea with Madelyn!