New Teacher Tales – Shreya
In our New Teacher Tales series, people teaching in different countries in the world talk about how they started on teaching English and what advice they would give to new teachers.
In this post, Shreya, from India, talks about working in international schools and setting up her own company.
Where do you work now?
I work in India. I am the founder of AC Literacy School, a virtual home-schooling and after-school program from K-8. We cover phonics, literacy and language arts. Our school’s practices have often been featured on webinars by British Council.
My husband and I are currently waiting to move to Thailand. Since I work online, I can work from anywhere so why not there?
What’s the best thing about living in India
The culture, the colors and the chaos 😉
What did you do before you started teaching English?
Teaching English has been my first job. I was volunteering in India before I started teaching professionally.
If you are reading this as an Indian wanting to get into English teaching abroad, read our interviews with four Indian English teachers working internationally.
Why did you become an English teacher?
It is a very rewarding job; the satisfaction of seeing someone learn a global language can’t be penned down.
Where have you taught English?
I’ve worked in several language schools and at the American International School Chennai (AISC)
What’s the best thing that’s happened to you since you became an English teacher?
Most of my students had been expats from South Korea and Japan in India (at the language school and at AISC as well). This is until I founded my school that helped me connect with more students and teachers from around the world. Getting to know different cultures is probably one of the best things (Job satisfaction obviously comes first).
What’s the worst thing that’s happened to you since you became an English teacher?
I always look at the bright side of things and learn from them. (personal and professional development).
Tell us a bizarre story that’s happened to you as an English teacher.
A student told me during an online session, “Teacher, I need to go and take a shit.” This student is an ELL at an A2 level. I was taken aback by how perfectly he framed that sentence!
Read all of our New Teacher Tales series, where English teachers working all over the world tell the story of how they started out.
Is there anything you would change about your time as an English teacher?
As I mentioned earlier, it is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world and has taught me so much, both personally and professionally. I highly doubt if I will ever change anything about my time as an English teacher.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about getting into English teaching?
No amount of training will prepare you for what happens in an actual classroom (brick and mortar or virtual). The first step would be to get a certification. CELTA and Trinity TESOL are the most respected ones in the industry. If you are a NNES, make sure you have an IELTS GT of at least 8 band score in all sections or CAE/CPE (some accept TOEFL and TOEIC too) to compete with the NES. A neutral accent is also vital.
Not sure what these qualifications are? Read our post on English teaching qualifications.
If you are a NES, you won’t need a proficiency test score.
If a CELTA or Trinity TESOL doesn’t fit your budget, please look for a TEFL/TESOL that is accredited by OFQUAL.
Most language schools are happy with a decent certification. If you are looking to teach English at top-tier international schools, I would highly recommend a MA in TESOL/ELT.
The best way to gain experience and start your journey is to teach students in your country.
For more advice, read our post on how to find English teaching jobs abroad for non-native speakers