Today we caught up with Dave Fox, the Director of Lexis TESOL Training Centres, to talk about English language teaching and where it can take you. Dave shares some of his experiences since completing the CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults).
So Dave, how did you first get into English language teaching?
Well, I was managing a pub in London and my visa for the UK was about to expire so I thought I would go and get lost in Europe. I wound up in Hungary and after a little while ran out of money. So I went around to some of the language schools in the city I was living in and one of them was very keen to hire a native English speaking teacher – provided I had the right qualification.
Why did you choose CELTA over other TESOL courses?
Actually, I was very lucky. The owner of the first school I worked for in Hungary told me to do a CELTA course and booked me in with IH Budapest. I didn’t know at the time that CELTA was the best course out there. I hadn’t done any research so I was lucky I got good advice. These days I come across lots of people looking for work who have ‘qualifications’ from weekend-long TEFL courses or online courses with no practical element and I can’t offer them anything. It’s really important that you make sure your TEFL/TESOL certificate meets the criteria for work in your country of choice. That’s what’s so great about CELTA – it’s recognised everywhere.
What did you like about the course?
Everything! CELTA isn’t difficult, it’s just a lot of work – particularly the full-time option. If you are willing to put the work in though, the course is very rewarding. The hands-on nature of the course, the ‘practice what you preach mentality’ of the tutors and the interaction with colleagues and students are all fantastic elements. But for me, the fact that you are teaching from day 2 of the course means that you don’t have time to stress about being up in front of a class, and this was the best thing about the course. I was so nervous about being up there at the beginning, but by the end of the course I was much more comfortable.
What career paths are open to people in the TESOL industry?
There are many different paths you can take in the industry. Some people stay with teaching their whole career as it is a fun and rewarding way to make a living. Some people look to upskill and do a DELTA (Diploma of English Language Teaching to Adults) which opens up teacher training and academic managing pathways, or a DELTM/IDLTM (Diploma of English Language Teaching Management/International Diploma of Language Teaching Management) which teaches you about all the different aspects of school management. If you are lucky, you get to do a bit of everything. Fortunately throughout my career I have been able to get involved in various aspects of the industry from teaching and teacher training through to marketing and academic management.
Where has TESOL taken you?
TESOL has taken me all over the world. I spent 12 years in Europe – Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the UK – teaching, training and running schools, and the marketing part of the job has taken me to Spain, Germany, Japan and China. This has allowed me to meet people from all over and experience different countries and cultures.
What do you like most about your current position?
The variety – no two days are ever the same in this job. Whether you are counselling students, covering classes, meeting agents or writing new courses, you never get bored. Also interacting with students visiting my country for the first time allows me to see it through their eyes and stops me from taking it for granted.
What advice would you give someone considering a career in TESOL?
Do it! I have experienced so much more than I ever imagined I would, and it is due to TESOL. If you want to see the world and get paid to do it, this is the industry for you.
If you want to find out more about English language teaching go to http://www.lexistesoltraining.com/ or for more information about CELTA go to http://www.lexistesoltraining.com/enrol/courses/celta/