Interview With An EFL Teacher In Mexico
TEFL Logue sponsor LanguageCorps, which offers TEFL training and job placement as well as ongoing support in its flagship programs, put me in touch with Anna, a LanguageCorps participant who is currently teaching English in Oaxaca, Mexico. She was willing to share via email some information about her background, her experience with LanguageCorps, and her day to day life, in addition to what’s available on her blog, Journal From Oaxaca.
The daughter of two teachers, Anna studied Spanish and environmental science with a focus on community development at university. She opted to participate in LanguageCorps’ program in order to get a feel for those things that can’t be learned in a classroom; she appreciated the job placement aspect because she “wasn´t sure how to go about finding a job (she) actually wanted in a country (she) had never been to.”
I’ll use her own words to describe what she likes about teaching as well: “Teaching your own language is an incredible way to make a systematic study of a different culture…Working and living in Oaxaca has definitely given me the opportunity to not only witness a different culture in action, but imbed myself in its day to day routine and essentially become a member of a community.” Anna enjoys the flexibility she has in planning her lessons around cultural topics that are interesting to her mainly teen-aged students. She is also pleased to have a salary which covers not only her day to day expenses in Mexico but also her student loan payments back home (which, in my view, is no small task, outside of Asia anyway).
Her favorite part of teaching is something which I think is quite a cool idea: her student give her homework – a Spanish tongue twister or idiom to try to incorporate into her speech.
As far as LanguageCorps support, Anna points out that the fact that her presence in Oaxaca during this politically tumultuous time, though perhaps unlucky, demonstrated how well-supported she in fact was by Language Corps. She receives regular emails from LanguageCorps staff in which they ensure that she’s doing alright and has access to whatever resources she needs to continue living peacefully and comfortably. Anna also speaks highly of her Corps Advocate, who not only helps with logistical support but who has also become a friend. “Everything was simply taken care of, and if it wasn´t, or if I was confused, all I had to do was ask, regardless of the time of day or night, and within hours I would have an answer. I can´t imagine that many work abroad programs guarantee that kind of individualized attention.”
Check out Anna’s stories of other events – like shopping at a local market or participating in a Zapotec parade – at Journal of Oaxaca.