An Interview with Matt Peterson from Australia who graduated from TEFL Zorritos in April 2016
- What is your name, age, where are you from originally and where are you currently living?
Matthew Peterson, but Matt will do. I am 42 and originally from Adelaide, South Australia. I am currently living in Lima, Peru
- 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.
I completed my course in April 2016 and had a lot of fun doing it. Since then I relocated to Lima and, with some help, I found a great place to live and accumulated some simple living items, ie bed, fridge, microwave etc. Then I went on to find work. It was a little slow to start with but it picked up very quickly and I had a full schedule of approx 30 hours after about 2-3 weeks of looking. I teach a variety of people from different backgrounds. From a mountain bike mechanic and tour guide to a top flight insurance salesman. I teach anywhere in Lima that is no more than about 30-40 min ride from my house in Surco
What has been the most rewarding thing about teaching English abroad?
The most rewarding thing to me, has been seeing that first sign of improvement and seeing the new understanding of a particular grammatical rule or even a passage that the student is reading. Seeing the smile slowly creep across their face and they say ‘I actually understand what I am reading’ is a very satisfying feeling. Also the meeting of new and different people and how they allow you into their homes and lives is quite special.
- What has been the most challenging thing about teaching English abroad?
The most challenging thing for me, so far, has been the language barrier. Before I came to Peru I knew no Spanish at all and as I am involved in teaching English all day, most days, I find it difficult to improve my Spanish. But slowly I am picking up some things here and there. I hope to be earning enough in the near future whereby I can decrease my hours teaching and hopefully attend a Spanish language course.
- How have the skills you learned in your TEFL course helped you so far?
One skill I am most grateful for having learnt is being able to put a lesson together from scratch. In most cases there will be some materials already available for you to use but not always. There have been times when a new student calls to take classes and starts their first class the very next day. You then get called to teach that student at 8:30am the next day!! Also if you obtain your own private students this skill is invaluable.
Do you have any advice for people thinking about taking the plunge into the world of TEFL?
My advice is just do it!! If you enjoy meeting new people, forming new friendships and encouraging and developing people to reach their full potential then you will, without doubt, love this career path. You will not only learn about new people, new cultures, new foods, you will also learn more about yourself than you otherwise would have had you not started down this path. You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it earlier!!
- What are your plans for the future?
I am very happy where I am. I plan to remain in Lima and continue teaching as many people as I can. I hope to start my own business in the very near future as I have had a lot of people asking, from there the sky is the limit.
- If you have anything else to add please feel free!
The first thing I would like to add is the importance of getting a TEFL accreditation. This is essential to your success. Without it you would find it very difficult to gain any sort of work anywhere, especially if you also have no previous experience teaching. This is where Ellie and TEFL Zorritos will be able to help. Calling them should be your first step!!
Here are some other things I have learnt that I will pass on. I am mostly referring to Peru when I make these observations, but they are applicable elsewhere also.
- Life moves at a different pace here sometimes anything up to 30 mins or more, slower!! You are not in Australia, or the USA or Canada anymore, you are in Peru, go with the flow.
- If you’re planning on coming to Lima to work, get a mountain bike to get around on. It is faster, cheaper and less of a headache than any other form of transport, also the ‘combi’s’ here are death traps. It also keeps you fit. Most of my students are no more than a 30 min ride away from home
- A good mobile phone service is essential as is a good wifi service at home.
- Drivers here are ‘loco’. If you choose to ride be extra careful. Just because the light is red it doesn’t mean people will stop!! Just because the right hand indicator is not blinking doesn’t mean they will not turn in front of you. Pedestrian crossings?? Hahah they don’t mean anything!!!
- You will make friends whether you like it or not.
- Food is cheap and tastes damn good, get into it!!
- If you come to Lima look me up.
TEFL Zorritos: What could be better? Study in a beautiful Peruvian beach town at our outdoor beachfront training centre with great accommodations available, including delicious local food. Fully accredited 120 Hour TEFL course with a practical approach that provides you with 10 advanced certifications at absolutely no extra cost! And a job placement program in Peru guaranteed lifetime job assistance waiting for you when you finish the course.
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