Teaching English in the Dominican Republic

Our February 2015 Crew

Sonya with her fellow trainees

An Interview with Sonya Burns from the United States who graduated from TEFL Zorritos in February 2015

  1. What is your name, age, where are you from originally and where are you currently living? Sonya Burns, 42, I’m from Texas and I’m living in Texas.

2. When did you successfully complete your TEFL Certificate course and what have you been doing since then? Please tell us about who and where you have been teaching.

Since completing my TEFL Certificate Course in February 2015, I boarded a plane and headed to the Dominican Republic to teach as a volunteer in a local Haitian community.  I started my journey in Santiago where I spent a couple of months FULLY immersing myself in the Dominican lifestyle by living with a local family and going to local Spanish school to brush up on my Spanish. I then headed north of the island and lived in a small community called Muñoz, which is in the city of Puerto Plata.  In Puerto Plata I taught kids of all ages English and held some Adult classes from time-to-time.

3. What has been the most rewarding thing about teaching English abroad?

The LOVE and Appreciation from the kids and the community when they “get-it”…when they understand and thirst for more knowledge.  Additionally, the open arms hospitality from everyone.

Our February 2015 Course

Sonya in one of her teaching practice classes

4. What has been the most challenging thing about teaching English abroad?

Well, not having enough (if any) available resources (paper/chalk/hand-outs etc…) to be as creative as I would like to be was very challenging to me. The second most challenging thing about “teaching” is getting the kids to settle down and not fight with one another during class. Lastly, it was challenging to ensure that they had their own school supplies.

5. How have the skills you learned in your TEFL course helped you so far?

Honestly, the FIRST thing I noticed and appreciated was the GRAMMAR.  Had I not had a refresher in grammar, I would not have been able to understand my own Spanish teacher when I was brushing up on my Spanish.  But most importantly, I would not have been able to seamlessly pass this on through my teaching in a way that “we both” understand.   The other skill from the TEFL course that was helpful was the various techniques to get interactively involved during class and how to inject discipline for the older kids that had an influence on the younger ones.

6. Do you have any advice for people thinking about taking the plunge into the world of TEFL?

GO FOR IT!  Just remember they look at you as “KNOWING IT ALL” so you really can’t go wrong in the way you implement your approach. This is new to them, so they look for to you for guidance.  But most importantly, be creative and use all your resources (on-line, TEFL materials and other teachers etc…). 

7. What are your plans for the future?

I’m preparing to return to the Dominican Republic for good over the next year. 

8. If you have anything else to add please feel free!

This experience has been life altering and I would NOT change one aspect of the route I took to get here.

You can read more of our Success Stories on our website


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