After a long career in travel, exploring different cultures and speaking many languages, Geoffrey became passionate about helping people converse. After learning that English was the common business language, Geoffrey realized that teaching English is where his passions lie and set out on his TEFL certificate journey. Once a member of the armed forces, then a Director in the tourism sector, Geoffrey is now an online English teacher and spends his day managing his own business teaching English and basking in the glorious sunshine.
Hi Geoffrey! You were born in England and now living in Spain! Living the dream, it seems. Can you tell us about your background?
I guess that travel is in my blood. From a very early age, I have been fortunate to travel extensively and along with language, journeying has become a real passion for me.
Educated in the North of England I entered the armed forces not long after leaving school. At that time, the opportunities to travel and continue studying at the same time seemed like the perfect fit for me. The reality was that during much of the nine years I served, traveling was certainly not in the tourist mode! Having said that though, great life experiences were gained and I was able to continue my education.
Following this, I stepped into Managerial and Director positions in the tourism sector. I worked for some of the leading UK tour operators and airlines. This allowed me to meet many people from all over the world, discover new and wonderful cultures, and travel to many parts of the globe.
Thinking back, this was my initial contact with teaching English. Many of the companies I worked with had overseas offices and staff from countries far and wide. The fact that I had studied both French and German helped me converse at a local level in some locations. Plus by this time, I had become bilingual in Spanish. With English being the common business language, it was not long before I realized that I wanted to become an English teacher full time. It became clear the importance of obtaining a regulated TEFL certificate.
You have many years teaching English already. How many is that? And can you tell us the motivation behind completing a TEFL Certificate?
Following the birth of my son in Spain six years ago, travel became less frequent, and having obtained the Level 5 TEFL qualification, I started giving English lessons online.
At the same time, my friend’s children became bilingual at a really early age. they grow up in mixed nationality families. I wanted this for my son and I was able to structure lessons for him in a fun and practical way. My son is now able to converse and read in both Spanish and English with ease.
How do you feel the “Advanced Grammar for English Teachers” and “Teaching Business English” courses enhanced your teaching skills and career?
Some years ago, I could see the tendency for learning English online was growing exponentially. Subsequently, over the last few years, there has been a growing demand for more specialist English teaching. For example, classes aimed at business professionals and specific exam preparation (IELTS). Having checked out various companies I am very happy to say that I chose to complete these specialties with Premier TEFL. Their online training courses gave me exactly what I needed to offer English courses ¨target specific¨ to students.
What are three benefits you enjoy since becoming a freelance online English teacher on the Costa Blanca – Spain?
There are so many benefits to becoming a freelance English teacher including flexibility. I can plan my week and lessons in a structured fashion at times that are both convenient for myself and for my students, some of which live in other parts of the world and in different time zones than myself. I would also mention the time I can dedicate to preparing quality lessons for my students. Not only are these a must from a professional standpoint but well-prepared lessons have also helped me significantly with student retention. Then, of course, there`s the great weather here….. need I say more.
What challenges did you face when moving abroad and becoming a TEFL teacher? And how have you overcome them?
To be honest, I have faced no real challenges except for local bureaucracy. However, I am sure Spain is no different from many places and you just get used to it. Anyway, there is nothing wrong with taking things at a slower pace in life!
Can you share a few personal tips about how to be a successful online English teacher?
Preparation, preparation, preparation. If you are thinking about taking a TEFL qualification, make sure you choose a quality company like Premier TEFL. Not only are the courses full of everything you need to guide you on an English teaching career, but they are also internationally recognized.
I spent time creating my website ¨ English Claro¨, in English and translated into Spanish (no google translations), this has given me a great reference point for my students and also very useful from an advertising aspect. I also spend a great deal of time on my Social Media Channels and interact with my students continually.
Finally, I use an education platform for my students. Here they have access to all their lessons, powerpoints, games, quiz results, etc. There’s even a chat room for class members and friends. I aim to make this a focal point for my students so they ask questions at any time and get a reply from me. The other benefit of the platform is that parents can have access to their child’s progress. This keeps them in the loop and forms part of their child`s achievements.
Is there anything you wish you knew before embarking on an online English teaching career path?
I think that English teaching is going through great changes at this time especially with more tech-savvy students and it is important that we can meet their demands.
What words of encouragement do you have for individuals considering a TEFL certificate and becoming a freelance English teacher?
Go for it! After all, at worst, you´ll learn loads of cool stuff! And at best, you´ll open up a completely new path of adventures, meeting people and opportunities galore!
If you’ve got a wealth of experience and want to change careers like Geoffrey, we can help. Check out this recorded webinar with TEFL expert Rosie who tells you how you can pivot your career with your existing skills. We’d love you to know what field you’re working in, let us know in the comment section below!
? Thinking about growing your career like Geoffrey, why not? Let us know why and where you would like to venture in the comment box below 🙂