Meet Lorie, who has been living and teaching in the Middle East for the last 20 years! Now based in Jordan, she is teaching English online to Chinese children. She has a Montessori degree and has taught in traditional classrooms in both the United States and Kuwait. Learn more about her exciting, travel-filled life!
What was your path to teaching abroad? Where in the world can we find you now?
My name is Lorie. I’m 51 y.o. I started teaching back in 1999. I trained for the first year as a KG1 assistant. The following year, I was moved to my own class as a KG2 English teacher. I worked in the school for six years and was given the opportunity to study Montessori, receiving a 2yr international diploma in Early Childhood Development/Pedagogy from the Montessori Centre International in London, England.
I have also trained in the IBPYP program receiving certificates of completion for that. I am currently working for an online English tutoring company based in China.
What inspired you to go abroad?
Upon graduating from high school, in 1986, I travelled to Amman, Jordan to get married. It was funny, at a senior class carnival, a teacher read my palm and said: “Your life will be full of travels”. She wasn’t wrong! I’ve travelled many times between Kuwait, Jordan, and America!
You use your TEFL certification in a unique way—as in, you’re not currently “Teaching abroad” right now, per se. Give us more details about your current work!
For the past three years now I’ve been working for an English tutoring company, online, in China. It has been an EXPERIENCE. I have enjoyed working with these students. I love them all, even the ‘difficult’ ones. Hahaha.
Every day is a challenge as you don’t always have the same students each time. So, you have to be able to think on your feet and quickly adapt to the students’ levels and personalities. I am ALWAYS up for a challenge. It has been very rewarding though watching the kids’ faces light up as they begin to understand a new concept.
What TEFL courses did you complete? What were the three most helpful things that you learned/practised throughout your TEFL training?
I received a 120-hr TEFL certificate just a couple of months ago. Now, I’m studying for the 240-hr Expert TEFL course. It is very interesting. This course, from Premier TEFL, is very in-depth. It has reminded me of many things that I thought I’d forgotten. THIS course has brought my love of language to the forefront and I’m excited to learn even more.
As I teach my students online, I find myself recognizing/explaining concepts like grammar rules and pronunciation/speech, in new and varied ways, as my memory has been refreshed with this course. Thank you, Premier TEFL, it’s WONDERFUL!
What are some challenges that you have faced while teaching online and how have you overcome them? What have you learned for future similar situations?
The biggest challenges I’ve faced with teaching online is learning how to control the situation. As you can imagine, it’s quite different from a brick and mortar classroom. We work one-one-one and the students change. So, I have to get to know my students quickly, what is their level of understanding and how will I approach the lessons with them.
Through the Premier TEFL course, I am able to recognize different learning traits in my students. For example, I have a 10-year-old boy who reads very well but has little but cannot understand and produce the language easily.
What advice do you have for individuals considering getting a TEFL certificate to teach English online?
My advice for people wanting to get a TEFL certificate to work online? First, and foremost, get the TEFL from Premier TEFL. I got my 120-hr TEFL certificate from another company for free. It was not as in-depth. I was left feeling unsure if I was really certified. You won’t have that fear with Premier TEFL.
Second, be able to think on your feet and have LOTS of different props and teaching tools. The kids you will teach will be of different levels and capabilities. You’ll need to be able to adjust as you go, not just from student to student but within the class as well.
Third, and MOST important, love what you do. It is exciting and rewarding work but it can also be draining. You have to leave your personal problems “at the door” and give your full attention to the students. The children will make it worth it. They are eager to learn. So, HAVE FUN!
Will you share a story from your online TEFL classroom?
I have a student I’ve been working with for three years now. He is great. It is ALWAYS an adventure with him. He has an awesome imagination.
He recently started reading the Harry Potter books. He just finished the first book, the Philosopher’s Stone. Now, when we have class he relates EVERYTHING to wizards and muggles. Our last class lesson was about ‘will newspaper disappear’. I asked him what he thought about this statement and why could newspapers disappear. He gave me good answers about how we now have phones and the internet where we can get our news more quickly.
Then, he started to talk about the owls bringing newspapers to Hogwarts for the students. He then asked a very good question, “what happens to the newspapers after the students (at Hogwarts) read them?” So, we had a discussion about magic and what they may do in Harry Potter’s world, to recycle the newspapers. It is fascinating to watch how his mind works. He is never off topic completely.
I hope you enjoyed reading a little about me and just some of my experiences.
Thank you for taking the time to share your magnificent story with the Premier TEFL community. Happy travels!