Cumberland Emerging Technologies is a life science incubator providing laboratory space to scientists working on new drugs, diagnostics, and medical devices. RESPONSIBILITIES:    Ensure the smooth and efficient administrative running of Nashville’s site. To be responsible  for the overall day-to-day management, organization, and coordination of the administrative activities and logistics of the site.   TASKS        […]

Mike In Russia

Mike in Russia

How did TESL@TFLI prepare you for teaching in Russia?

The TESL course gave me the techniques and experience needed to begin teaching. Without TESL, I would have basically been blind walking into the classroom and would have been a much less effective teacher.

What advice do you have for students who want to teach abroad?

Research the country, city and school where you are planning on teaching. Get on the internet forums and talk to people who have had experience, and also ask the school to put you in contact with one of their native speakers. Once in country, be open minded and patient with any difficulties and differences in culture and living. Be responsible and try to do things on your own, but also don’t be afraid to ask for help.

What is your best experience so far teaching abroad?

It’s hard to pick just one. Sometimes when I had a lot of hours and dozens of students it was hard to tell how I was doing as a teacher. The most rewarding experiences were when this uncertainty was broken by praise from administrators and students and especially when students began to make noticeable progress.

Tell us an interesting classroom story.

One of the first full-time classes I had was with the auditors at a large international financial corporation. After going through the textbook they asked me to stay on. For the next couple months we discussed everything from comparisons between the U.S. and Russian education, legal, and political, systems, to the turmoil in Burma and Kenya and much more. After five months we had our last class. They ordered gourmet dried fruit and nuts to be delivered (which was a delicacy in February in Siberia). I brought in some peanut butter and crackers that my grandparents had sent me for Christmas. They had only seen peanut butter in the movies; it was great to share it with them. It feels really good when you can sit down with your students and they can speak to you with comfort and confidence.

Kami In Kenya

Kami in Kenya

How did TESL@TFLI  prepare you for teaching in Kenya?

It has helped tremendously. The students are varied from all different cultural backgrounds to different learning levels. The training you receive during the course more than prepares you for what you experience while abroad. The resources TESL provided are priceless. Many times I found myself referencing the book we studied from and the many teaching tools and creative ideas we used while in the TESL course.

What advice do you have for students who want to teach abroad?

Check the validity of who you are going to work for. Also, bring over things from your own country to show and talk about in your classroom. Make it personal. The students really like learning about you and where you come from.

What is your best experience so far teaching abroad?

My best experience by far is meeting and getting to know my students from all over the world. Kenya is a melting pot of so many different nationalities. The relationships always seem to expand outside the classroom. And of course, seeing the students’ progress in learning and speaking English!

Tell us an interesting classroom story.

One day my classroom was being used by someone else, so I had to teach in the school’s auditorium. On their HUGE stage was this rather large chalkboard. So I taught on stage while the students sat way down below. I would jump off and on while teaching so I didn’t seem so far from the students. I was exhausted by the time the class ended. Plus, the students really got a kick out of it.