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Stories from the Front Lines of EFL

Individual teacher stories of teaching EFL around the world

Teaching Soft Skills in India (by Shrishti Choudhary)

I am Shrishti Choudhary. Professionally, I’m an IT engineer, but the job I relate to more is teaching English to government school kids. With my technical academic background, you might be wondering what compelled me to go for teaching English. Well! It’s a story of a school girl who actually generated the passion in me to want to do something of worth, not only for her but for other students like her. Would you like to know her story? If yes, here we go….. (more…)

Globaldreamers – Peace Project (by Marsha Goren)

I developed the Dream a dream project of Ein Ganim School Israel in 2001 and first met the Internet in 2002. The idea started as a vehicle to encourage children and educators to share in a learning environment that would lead to global communication and tolerance. (more…)

Life as a freelance English teacher in Hungary (by Lilla Udvarhelyi)

Budapest

image: eCastillo on Flickr

I feel a bit strange if I count the number of years I have been working as an English teacher. Seventeen years, that is, a bit less than half my life. During this time I have been able to experience changes in my country, in my profession, but and this is the most important for me, I haven’t got bored with it at all. Life-long passion I would say. Let’s see how it started. (more…)

Learning Lessons in Thailand (by Rob Newberry)

I teach in an International School in Bangkok. The “internationality” of the school is an interesting term, as there really are two languages spoken here — English and Thai — and not necessarily in that order.

There used to be signs posted around the school saying, “Proud to be an English-speaking only school,” but when I went to find one today, hoping to include a photo of it in this blog post — I couldn’t find any around anymore. Curious. (more…)

Teaching English at a Japanese Academic High School (by Tomo Wakui)

 My teaching History

Hello. My name is Tomoe Wakui. Please call me Tomo. I am a high school English teacher in Niigata, Japan. I am very happy to have this opportunity to introduce myself here in Teaching Village.

Tomo Wakui 1Let me explain my teaching history briefly. I became an English teacher in 1989. I worked at a Girls High School. Except for only having female students, it was just a normal high school. (more…)

Teaching in a Small Village in Poland (by Anita Kwiatkowska)

anita 4

In September 2003 I got a phone call from my former primary school teacher offering me a part time job in the old primary school I started my education in. I felt extremely excited!

It was my first real job offer and I was supposed to work with teachers who had taught me the alphabet as colleagues! At that time, I was still a student at a university but as I had already completed my pedagogy and methodology courses, I was more than welcome in Szkola Podstawowa in Tuchom, Poland. (more…)

When Did I Become a Teacher? (by Conchi Martínez de Tejada)

It’s difficult to pinpoint the precise moment when you become a professional in your area. Some will say it’s when you start your degree, others when you finish it still others will say it’s when you start working. Even more people feel that they need years of experience in order to consider themselves a so-called professional.

In my case, I don’t know when I became a teacher. Maybe it was when my parents hung a blackboard behind my bedroom door. Maybe when I first arranged all my teddy bears and my little cousins as my first students. It might have started many years later when I wanted to drop out from my dreary Economics degree and I bought books about teaching, but I didn’t have the courage to actually follow through on my instinct (fate, desire, willingness) at that time. Maybe it happened when I left my bank job, went to Yemen and by chance ended up in front of 20 Yemeni men teaching them English. It might also have been when I came back to Spain from living in Laos and I studied Education. Or maybe it started a month and a half ago when I got my position to work in a primary school in a village in my home region of Extremadura, Spain. (more…)

My Teaching ‘Journey’ in Greece (by Christina Markoulaki)

Imagine a persistent traveller who suddenly sees an ominous mountain in front of her obstructing her way.
A photo I took on the island of Santorini

A photo I took on the island of Santorini.

Determined to arrive to her destination, she climbs up the steep slope, ignoring the surrounding thorns and other invisible dangers. What is her eventual reward? She has reached the peak right on time to feel the calming effect of a most memorable sunset.

This is how I personally perceive teaching to be: its initial joys give way to responsibilities, potential trouble in class and special needs to cater for. But every single time the teacher has the chance to witness the progress her class has made, all efforts are justified and there is a soothing effect on the soul. (more…)

Lion Tamers and Circus Clowns (by Troy Nahumko)


At any moment between 4:30 and 8pm here in Spain, thousands of unqualified people are standing in front of children pretending to be teachers. This, however, is not a game of make believe played by kids with bits of chalk in their hands, but an extremely lucrative industry spread throughout every town and village on the Iberian peninsula.

…and it’s a game I play every weekday. (more…)

Teaching middle school students in South Korea (by Dayle Major)


dayle 3I teach in a rural area of South Korea at a couple of middle schools: one is located about 10 minutes about outside the city and has about 190 students whom I see three days a week; the other school is in the countryside (it’s adjacent to a rice field) and has about 32 students whom I see the other two days a week. The students are 13 to 16 years old and have varied backgrounds and competencies. While some are from white- or blue-collar families, others are from families that farm. What’s it like teaching these students? (more…)