"Four years ago I was stressed out running big electrical jobs, dreading going to work each day, but now I am excited about what the next day might bring."
That’s because Global English TESOL graduate Lea Hook now wakes up on the exotic Thai ‘Elephant Island’, where he teaches English online. If you’ve been following Lea’s story from electrical engineer to online teacher, plus his adventures in a Thai school, then you'll be keen to know more about his new island life in the following Q and A.
After a stint back in the UK, tell us where you’ve moved to, Lea.
After a great seven months teaching in a school Nan Province, North of Thailand I went back to enjoy the UK summer and catch up with family and friends. However, as soon as the evenings started to draw in and the dreaded X-Factor returned back on TV, I realised I missed Thailand very much and decided to go back to live there for the autumn and the winter months. I wanted to try an island, somewhere by the coast, so I to moved to Koh Chang (Elephant Island.) I’d visited on a short break before and immediately fell in love with the place.
Sounds great. Can you describe Elephant Island?
Koh Chang is a small, beautiful island, east of Thailand near the Cambodia border. Nature here is fantastic - the waterfalls, sounds of frogs and crickets and an elephant passes by everyday. However, the thing I like most here are the amazing sunsets. I live in a very spacious bungalow here and it only costs £150 a month, with air-con, kitchen, lovely garden and hot water.
You are teaching English online but you had to organise a place to stay and good wi-fi in advance from the UK. How easy was that?
It was all very straightforward really, although finding the accommodation took some time since it gets snapped up quickly. The best thing to do is arrive, find a hotel for a few nights, hire a scooter then drive round and find a place. Wi-fi was a concern, but actually it is faster than the UK!
Is your online English teaching pay enough to live on comfortably?
Here in Thailand you don’t have to work many hours and the money you earn goes far. You might only spend £6 a day; it is so cheap to eat and generally live a really comfortable life. At the moment I am working 4-5 hours per day at my own leisure and I get to choose my times. I usually do two early lessons in the morning and two late lessons in the evening. This gives me time to do my own activities in the daytime.
How do you spend your leisure time?
I try to keep my daytimes free so I can do lots of things. I walk along the beach first thing, have breakfast, do two classes, then I can choose to do anything I want. I use my motorcycle to find waterfalls, side streets, small villages etc. and plan to do more fishing and boat trips. Recently I joined a wonderful hotel spa gym which has many amenities. On a Saturday evening I will go and have a few beers and watch the English Premiership Football or some rugby.
How long do you propose to stay there? What next?
I am here for 6-7 months. In November I have the option of going back to Nan Province to the fantastic school I worked at last semester. I haven’t made a decision yet. If you are thinking about a career change, I would strongly recommend taking a TESOL course. There is so much you can do after you have that qualification. It is a wonderful career to be in and it won’t happen if you don’t do anything about it.
Good luck, if I can do it, most people can.
Thanks, Lea. We're not jealous at all. Honest!
Interested in teaching English online? Then you might also like:
* an article on how to teach English online
* tips for giving successful Skype lessons
* why online English teaching is so popular
* the 250-hour TESOL Master course that Lea took
* the 20-hour Teaching English Online course you can add on to any GE course
or join the TESOL conversation with Global English TESOL on Facebook
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