Teacher Melissa began her TEFL career in Thailand on a paid internship (and loved it!). Since then she’s been classroom teaching in South Africa and is now an online English teacher. Sound like a path YOU want to pursue? Read on to learn more about her journey to becoming an online ESL teacher!

MELISSA, YOU’VE BEEN A PREMIER TEFL ALUMNI FOR MANY YEARS, TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND?

I decided I wanted to study after school. I completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Development. I knew once I had completed my degree, I want to travel the world. I stayed in America for two years aupairing and could not decide what I wanted to do after.

I did a lot of research and found Premier TEFL online. I was very skeptical as I did not know a lot about them. During the process I had so much help and guidance while I completed my Premier TEFL course online. I learnt a lot as well. I had the travel bug and decided Thailand was going to be my next adventure.

I won’t lie, I was so scared!!!! I did not know what to expect as I was doing this all alone. I experienced culture shock for sure!! I would not change anything about it as I absolutely fell in love with the culture and the people there. I made so many new friends from all over the world, the food is amazing and the people are so friendly. I decided I would come back to South Africa and start my teaching career. I worked in the classroom for over two years and enjoyed it but I decided I needed a change…

YOU FIRST BEGAN ENGLISH TEACHING IN THAILAND ON OUR INTERNSHIP. WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE THIS PATH? DID THAT EXPERIENCE SHAPE YOUR CAREER PLANS AFTERWARDS?

Teaching in Thailand was something I did not plan. It all happened so quickly as I knew I wanted to experience a different culture. Premier TEFL made me feel so welcomed as well. We even had someone from Premier TEFL meet us in Thailand and take us out for dinner. She flew in to meet us and see how our orientation went. This made me feel more confident in my decision. I was blown away by the amount of things we learnt at orientation. It was a lot of fun.

Teaching in Thailand definitely shaped my career afterwards as I learnt so many different teaching styles and was able to incorporate them in my classroom in South Africa. It gave me confidence as I traveled alone and overcame so many challenges especially the language barrier in Thailand. I question myself everyday, WHY DID I LEAVE THAILAND???? 😀 I loved it there.

WHAT LEAD YOU TO TEACH ENGLISH ONLINE?

I have always wanted to teach online, but never really knew where to start. You hear of people teaching but don’t really get the guidance that you need. Sometimes the TEFL might not be very specific on how you should teach online but it does give a bit of guidance. I decided teaching 45 children in a classroom in South Africa became a bit challenging especially as I was constantly marking, extra murals, constant parent meetings, numerous staff meetings and I felt overworked.

Whereas teaching in Thailand was a completely different ball game. My classes were an every of 40 – 45 children but the lessons were so much more fun and interactive. I thought why not try online teaching and as it involves interaction and fun games. So I resigned from my job last year and gave it my all to apply to as many companies as possible. I am currently working for two companies at the moment and I am loving it! Working from home has given me so much more time for myself and my family. I am constantly laughing and having fun in my classrooms. If you can make the time then you can make the money as well. It’s about commitment and dedication.

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YOU’VE BEEN TEACHING WITH LANDI ENGLISH, WHAT WOULD FUTURE LANDI TEACHERS WANT TO KNOW?

I would definitely recommend Landi to teachers who want to teach children. Their lessons are only 25 minutes. They want teachers who are energetic and enthusiastic about their lessons. They are set times but the best part about it, is you have regular students and you get to know them a lot better every week. The support I have with them is amazing as well.

TELL US ALL ABOUT THE PROCESS TO GET HIRED? WHAT’S INVOLVED?

In order to start the process, you would need to have a degree in any subject, TEFL/TESL/ CELTA certificate/ a passport from any English speaking country. If you have all those requirements, then apply here. What are you waiting for??

DO YOU TEACH YOUNG LEARNERS, ADULTS OR A MIX OF BOTH? HOW DO YOU MANAGE YOUR SCHEDULE?

I am currently teaching young learners from 4 – 13 years. I check my schedule at the beginning of the week. I have 6 classes a day currently from 12pm to 3pm everyday. They are set times. My schedule has been full for a while now. Like I said, if you show commitment and dedication and do not cancel classes. The company will be good to you.

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL WORKING DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU? GIVE US A RUN DOWN

A normal day for me currently is going to the gym in the morning. I am also studying for my IELTS academic exam at the moment so I try to fit that in. I then prep my lessons and check I have the correct material for my classes. I do have a lot of free time in the mornings but sometimes I have lessons from another company that I also teach as well. By 12pm till 3pm I am teaching and by 5pm I try to complete all my memos for my lessons. It can get challenging staying at home but I am able to travel anywhere with my work. That is what is so amazing about the online teaching. You can feel free to take it with you on holiday or wherever.

WE ALL DREAM OF HAVING THE FREEDOM TO CHOOSE OUR OWN HOURS AND BEING YOUR OWN BOSS, WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT IT?

My favorite thing about online teaching is that it gives me the opportunity to travel. I know for a fact that I will be coming back to Thailand and I will still continue teaching online as well. I am my own boss and yes you can be flexible teaching online as well. But you are EARNING DOLLARS! How amazing is that!! There is such a demand for online teaching and we are short of teachers.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR MELISSA? WHAT TRAVEL AND TEACHING PLANS ARE YOU COOKING UP?

I gave up my job last year and knew my travels were not done. Since starting the online teaching career, my boyfriend and I decided we were going to teach in Thailand beginning of May, but unfortunately the Coronavirus travel ban challenges have prevented us from traveling currently. But at least I can fall on my online teaching in the meantime. This gives me the opportunity to pack my luggage whenever the time is right. We plan to head back to thailand sometime this year and travel to Phuket and teach English in the classroom and online as well.

Thank you for taking the time to share your inspirational story with the Premier TEFL community. We can’t wait to hear more from teacher Melissa’s adventures!