An interview with Greg Zoller from the USA who graduated from TEFL Zorritos in October 2014
- What is your name, age, where are you from originally and where are you currently
Hello, world! My name is Greg Zoller. I’m a 26-year-old from the United States, currently taking a year “off” from the world of TEFL to live and work in my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio.
- 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 finished my TEFL certification in October of 2014 and was almost immediately recruited to work for Euroidiomas in Lima, Peru. I stayed there for a good while, teaching English to teens, adults, and business professionals until August 2015. At the moment, I’m a caseworker/life skills coach/tutor for adults with significant barriers to employment, but I’ll be heading back the world of TEFL in a few months here.
- What has been the most rewarding thing about teaching English abroad?
Teaching English abroad has been an interesting and overwhelmingly positive experience for me. Prior to beginning the TEFL program in Zorritos, Peru, I had limited classroom experience. I’d volunteered as an ESL teacher in my community and had done a bit of one-on-one tutoring, but it had never been my full-time gig. Turns out I loved it! One distinctive feature of a language classroom is that you’ll have the opportunity to talk with your students about all sorts of topics – science, art, morality, business, travel, going out – because it’s crucial that students leave your classroom being able to converse confidently in all manner of situations. This means that you’ll get to know students really well – and you’ll never go a day without learning something new yourself. Plus, there are few things more rewarding than seeing a tangible improvement in your students’ confidence and abilities.
I’m also incredibly grateful for the fact that TEFL provides me the opportunity to learn the local language in the place where I’m teaching. Languages have been a passion of mine for years, and thanks to my TEFL certificate, I’ll be able to continue expanding my linguistic knowledge throughout my life.
- What has been the most challenging thing about teaching English abroad?
Hmmmm…well, it hasn’t always been a cakewalk. While getting acquainted with the local culture was, overall, a wonderful experience, I’d say that the most difficult aspect of my experience in Lima stemmed from an unexpected cultural idiosyncrasy…a (much) laxer attitude toward time. If you have a meeting in Lima – even in a professional business context – don’t be too attached to the scheduled start time. It could very well start 30 to 60 minutes later than you expect.
- How have the skills you learned in your TEFL course helped you so far?
Whatever small success I’ve had as an ESL teacher can, in large part, be chalked up to my time with TEFL Zorritos. Thanks to Ellie’s excellent instruction and the opportunity to teach in a real classroom setting during my time in Zorritos, I was able to approach my first paid ESL class with excitement rather than nerves, and teach it with confidence rather than uncertainty.
- Do you have any advice for people thinking about taking the plunge into the world of TEFL?
Take an in-person TEFL course with an incorporated supervised teaching element, if at all possible. You won’t regret it – especially if you have little to no prior teaching experience.
Be open to new experiences. Some aspects of life in your new home will be difficult; others may be easier or more convenient than what you’re used to. The only thing that’s guaranteed is that things will be different. Go into it with an open mind and learn what you can.
And don’t worry about perfection in teaching, because not even the best teachers can effectively teach everything to everyone. You’re a fallible human working with fallible humans, and your definition of success may differ from those of your students. Just be patient, pay close attention to your students’ needs, and do the best you can.
- What are your plans for the future?
I’ve just started the process of soliciting ESL jobs abroad once again, but haven’t quite decided which country I’ll be moving to.
- If you have anything else to add please feel free!
TEFL Zorritos was a great experience. Besides granting me the opportunity to visit a corner of the world I might never have seen otherwise, it left me well-prepared for my time as an ESL teacher. I highly recommend it!
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 and guaranteed lifetime job assistance waiting for you when you finish the course.
Class sizes are limited, so don’t wait, make your reservation today!