Around 5 or 6 weeks ago, on the 29th September, I successfully completed my TEFL course. Today, all of 40-ish days later, I received my first wage from my new job as an English Teacher here in Florence.
It’s hard to believe that things can happen so quickly, one minute I was stressing about completing the course and the next I was suddenly employed and teaching English to Italian students….
My plan was that as soon as I completed the course I would start job hunting. However, this is me we are talking about, and not much goes to plan.
Towards the end of the course I started to get sick, the signs of a cold raising its ugly head. By the following Monday, I was poorly - really poorly. I didn’t realise it, but it was some horrible kind of Laryngitis and I was coughing so much I thought my ribs might break and I felt so ill that I couldn’t even think about getting out to start handing out my CV. My voice completely disappeared, and I thought I’ll never find a job before the school year starts because I couldn’t actually talk to anyone!
On the Wednesday I decided to email my CV to a few schools and as I was doing so I was talking to my sister on WhatsApp saying, “what if I can’t find a ob” and feeling very sorry for myself. By the following lunchtime I had 2 interviews lined up for the Friday. Argh!! I couldn’t actually speak much, but they were happening!
Now, if I was to offer advice on job hunting as an English teacher in Florence it would be to do your research and to talk to as many people as possible, you never know what opportunities may come out of it. A lot of it may really be right place, right time. This is especially true during the periods of the year when schools are recruiting for new courses.
Anyway, Friday arrived, and I made sure that I had my Portfolio ready and headed to the interviews. Surprisingly, my voice didn’t completely abandon me, and I was able to speak (even though it sounded like something out of The Exorcist). The interviews went well, and I enjoyed them. It was great to get out there and meet people who work in the profession that I had worked hard to get into. Everyone was polite and chatty, and I felt at ease. Before I knew it, I had a job offer at a real school, with a start date and everything! I would be starting the very next Saturday after the contract and everything had been sorted out. I was so relieved, and I looked forward to getting stuck in although I was quite nervous.
I spent the next week trying to get better and after going to see a doctor I was on the mend. I visited the school again to observe some lessons (constantly disrupted by me coughing and having to leave the room – sorry guys!) and see how things work ready for my first lesson on Saturday. The school were so helpful and even helped me to set up an Italian Bank Account so I could get paid!
On Saturdays I teach children at level 2. A first for me, teaching children. As every Saturday passes I learn something from each lesson but I know it will take me a while to really get/feel good at these lessons, but I am enjoying the experience so far.
My timetable is varied, and new lessons are being introduced quite regularly as new students enrol on courses. I teach intermediate classes, private classes at various levels and an advanced class at the moment (as well as supporting a “conversation club” a few times a week). These are all Adult classes.
I am really enjoying it more and more as each day passes as I am getting more and more familiar with the courses, the content, the school, students and resources available. My new colleagues are all lovely, they are supportive and are happy to help me if I have a question about something. Of course, they’re all fluent in Italian and I only hope one day I can join in with these conversations too! There is a mixture of accents in the school with my colleagues being from various places such as Ireland, Scotland and Australia. I think it is fantastic that the students can be exposed to these different accents.
Now I am halfway through my 4th week at the school and I still can’t believe it. I am doing what I set out to do. Move to Florence and be an English Teacher! It’s crazy!
A new TEFL course started this week with some of the students staying in the same apartment as me, so it is really interesting to see how they are finding it. Of course, I will be happy to offer advice where I can especially when it comes to the more challenging topics and those lovely lesson plans! I hope they enjoy it as much as I did, even if they don’t realise this until it is over (like me!). It’s been life changing for me. Look at what I am doing and where I am doing it!
Hopes for the future – that I continue to become a better teacher with every lesson and day that passes, and that I can really help the students learn the language and inspire them to use it!
I am learning every day, that’s for sure!
To read more about the TEFL course I completed, click here.
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