TESOL: a chance to see and teach the world

Teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) may sound challenging. Still, it can be one of the most rewarding jobs in the world, and you can do it while seeing the world, says Wintec graduate Michelle Ramsay.

Back in 2012, Ramsay had a friend obsessed with Korean music, and she too quickly became engrossed in the music and the culture. Over time, she became pen-pals with a South Korean woman who was teaching English in South Korea.

Ramsay says that through this connection, she learnt how wonderful it would be to teach English while travelling and seeing the world. 

"I was inspired after hearing this teacher's first-hand account of her experience, and it sounded like an incredibly fun and exciting job!" she says. 

Fast forward to 2022, and Ramsay is also living and teaching English in Incheon, South Korea, a career she says Wintec gave her the confidence to pursue.

Through Wintec, Ramsay gained her Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). 

"The courses were delightful; the lecturers were great. I really enjoyed the Linguistics paper, and I went on to study Linguistics later on as one of my majors at Waikato University.

"In my experience, working over here has been great. Our teaching skills are highly transferrable and sought after. The Wintec course prepared me well for life over here, and I felt confident in my abilities. It was a great relief knowing the relevance of what I was taught and how this applied in an international teaching context." 

"This is my second contract over here, and I am currently working at a large academy, which I love. There are big chains of academies over here, and each academy is run differently. I have so much freedom regarding what and how I teach, and I'm trusted to get the job done.

"It's also great to now be able to teach face to face as we couldn't do that for most of last year because of the pandemic," she said.

Ramsay said South Korea has always attracted her. 

"I love how safe it is. The public transport is awesome; I don't need a car at all. I wanted to travel, and having a job here gives me purpose." 

Sue Edwards, Programme Coordinator for Graduate Certificate and Diploma in TESOL, said you could work in New Zealand or travel overseas with a TESOL qualification. 

In New Zealand, you could find work in a primary or secondary school supporting English language learners, in a language school for adults, either private training providers or mainstream tertiary institutions, or in a community English class for adults. Overseas, you could find work as a teaching assistant or a classroom teacher at either government-run or private English language schools, at any level of education.

"We are looking for people who are interested in languages, whether your own 'mother tongue' or others, in how people learn languages, and how languages are taught. You will probably also be the sort of person interested in other cultures and perhaps curious about the links between culture and language."

She said the courses had both practical and theoretical components to help prepare students for real-world international teaching.

"The most rewarding thing for me is seeing students acquiring new knowledge and skills that are both interesting and useful when they start teaching. I also love to hear about all the countries that our students end up in," she said.

Ramsey encourages any current or prospective teacher to gain a TESOL qualification as the opportunities are endless. 

"The course at Wintec will give you the confidence and skills you need – all the tutors are so supportive and ready to help at any time. The course also helps prepare you for things you might face during your teaching career at home and abroad. I would definitely recommend Wintec, and I have to say I miss the hub at City Campus," she laughed.

The next intake for the Graduate Certificate and Diploma in TESOL is Monday, 25 July, 2022, for Semester 2, 2022. If you'd like to learn more, you can register for the next information session on Wednesday, 29 June, 4.30pm – 5.30pm, at The Long Room, Hamilton City Campus and online via Zoom.

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