Global English graduate Daniel Ward's wanderlust led to a TESOL course, a love of teaching in Asia, and inspired him to set up his own TEFL website. We asked him more about his adventure so far...
Can you tell us what inspired you to take a TESOL course?
I was weighing up future options while studying music at the University of Sussex, UK. Travel was always something that interested me, so I explored the options of getting paid whilst globe-trotting and TEFL seemed a logical option, so I looked into getting certified online, found Global-English and completed it at the same time as I finished my degree.
How did you get your first job and what were your first impressions of TEFL?
It took a year working for the City of Westminster College in London before I managed to build up the courage to move abroad. In 2014, we had a six-week holiday so I decided to book a flight to Beijing, then Hong Kong, backpacking my way through unknown countries. I was enthralled by Asia and on the last day of my trip, sitting in Hong Kong airport I promised I would return soon and not go back to the 9-5 grind.
Four weeks later I had sold my belongings, handed in my notice and landed a job in Bangkok, Thailand. I found the job online and was interviewed by phone at 4 am GMT. I got the offer, then applied for the visa, booked my flight and I was away. I knew sitting on the flight that this would be the adventure of a lifetime.
TEFL in Thailand was a little tough to start with but the other teachers and I made the best of it and I quickly learned how to become a good teacher. The main thing I noticed is that the expat scene in most places is awesome; everyone will be your friend and support you since you're all in the same boat.
What's next for you in TEFL?
My TEFL journey has taken me all over the world and I'm extremely happy living in a lovely coastal city called Busan - at the bottom of South Korea. Eight months ago I met a beautiful South Korean lady so I can see myself staying here for the foreseeable future. I’ll work hard at my school and also to make my own company, TEFLCareer, a success.
Tell us about the creation of your site TEFLcareer.com
The site initially started as a TEFL company review site, as I noticed that many Thai companies were taking advantage of teachers, not paying them, overloading them etc. I wanted to help the teachers in the industry and force the schools to play fair.
I talked to TEFL teachers to discover they wanted out of a website, the advice they needed and what information is lacking on the net. So, I rebranded my site and added plenty of articles, videos and started a jobs board. I'm hoping that soon it will gain attention as an industry leader because when I was starting my TEFL journey, this information would have been extremely useful to me and help someone avoid all of the mistakes I made!
What do you hope to achieve in TEFL in the next 2-5 years?
I’d like to become a more proficient teacher and develop as many new skills as possible - I'm currently in the process of researching a masters in education. I will keep writing about my experiences in TEFL, advise, make videos and generally be an advocate for TEFL and tell everyone to do it.
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