Sunday 9 February 2020

Life As An English Teacher

As you probably already know by now, I have been teaching English for some time now. Starting in Catania, Sicily, then back to Galway, and now here in Bologna. I’ve been working here since October, it’s been 4 months already, which I genuinely can't believe. Time is absolutely flying! Now that I’m settled and in my element, I wanted to share my experience, how I got a job within literally a day of looking, and some advice on things I wish I had known before.

Finding Work

So as some of you know I was supposed to move to Australia back in October, I had a teaching job set up, flights booked etc. But I ended up pulling out of it last minute as I knew I would have regretted it if I went. I'm a strong believer in going with your gut. That's how I ended up in Bologna and four months later I'm delighted I followed my instincts.

As the academic year usually starts in September/October, I knew I had to be quick looking for a job. It was so rushed but I ended up being very lucky. 

I began by researching all the English teaching jobs on Indeed. I found some, but not many. I thought to myself, why don't I look up every English Language school in Bologna and just send emails? So I did just that. I think I sent about 10 emails to 10 different schools. I got a few replies and after a day I had my first interview (I know, amazing right?!)

So I immediately booked flights and I was on the next flight to Bologna. When I arrived I had a few interviews but I went with the school which gave me the most hours. Many schools here don't give you many hours so be sure to ask this in your interview when you have one.

I found it quite easy to find a teaching job. However I know my CELTA Certification was one of the reasons for getting it, as well as being a native speaker and having 2+ years teaching experience. 
So within the space of only a few days, I got a job. I still can't get my head around it when I think about it! The key? Email every place you can find EVEN IF the job is not advertised. Trust me, it works.

First Month of Work

My first month at work was a training period, which means I had to be there from morning to evening, sometimes not doing anything. Which honestly, was quite tiring as I knew I was well capable of teaching but I was treated as if I had never taught in my life. So I used that month to prove to them that I was great at my job. Within a few days I know I managed that. So when you arrive, do your best as they need to know the person they're hiring knows what they're doing. 

In my first month I also got paid a fixed amount of money which was quite low (about less than half of what I'm making now) so being financially stable for the first month was possible only because I had savings, but if I didn't it would have been a problem for me.

Saying all of this, it was beneficial in some ways as I got to observe some of the teacher's classes, I love seeing other teaching styles as you can always improve your teaching game. I could also look through all the books they had to get to know the curriculums etc.

The school was also very accommodating and helped me if I had any questions, big or small. They also gave me many classes during my training period so I was also teaching while I was in training.

Overall the first month was definitely tiring but it definitely helped.

A Typical Day

After my training month I could finally come and go as I pleased. This definitely helped as I could go home to eat if I had the time etc.
A typical day as an English teacher is quite unpredictable. Every day is different. Monday's I'm only in the afternoon for a few hours whereas Tuesday's, Wednesday's and Thursday's I'm in for about 12 hours with a few hours here or there as a break. Fridays are lovely on the other hand as I have probably one or maximum two private lessons. The only bummer is, I work for 3 hours every Saturday, I love the class but I love my weekends more ahaha. However I think I got lucky with all the hours I have. I'm so grateful to be busy as I believe it's better to be busy then not.

I usually start my day with a cup of tea and depending when my first class is, I arrive an hour before to plan. I take the bus as driving in Bologna isn't the best when you're not allowed drive in the centre without a permit!
I teach a range of courses, whether it's exam preparation courses, to general English, to kids classes, to conversation. I have an array of courses to teach so it really keeps things interesting.
Some days I finish at 10:15 p.m. so I feel like I'm becoming nocturnal because of it ahah.

4 Months Later

I've been working here for four months now, I've learned a lot in my time from being here. One of which is to stop putting pressure on myself and try to make everything perfect. I am a perfectionist so I like to be prepared etc. However, considering I have so many varying classes I don't have so much time to perfect it all, so I stop stressing and I only do what's humanly possible. Teachers never really stop working so I have to try to keep my evenings to myself and not have to worry about preparing a lesson on the Future Perfect Continuous for the next day!

I believe, because of this, my teaching has improved, I give myself less time to prepare and taught myself to use my time wisely. I still use a lot of the techniques I've learned in Galway which I love doing. I'm looking forward to learning more, getting even more experience and feeling on top of things. I really feel so settled in the job and I look forward to seeing my students everyday.

If I look back on the beginning thinking about all that I know now I would say to stop over preparing. In reality you'll never have enough time to prepare the perfect lesson. Just do what you can and trust that you can do it.

Check out my Life as an English Teacher vlog now live on my YouTube Be sure to check out my channel and subscribe!


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