What to do: Iain's TEFL Story

What to do: Iain’s TEFL Story

Iain’s Story

What to do? What to do? After 35 years of building a reasonably successful career in the leisure industry I found myself at a crossroads in life. 54 years old and no longer passionate about my job or career I took a payoff from my old job with no other plan, so, what to do? What to do?

Having always been an avid traveller, I’ve always enjoyed teaching and although my experience was mainly based in sports and other leisure subjects I had a good deal of experience and it was still a part of my old job that I was passionate about.

I have known about TEFL teaching since my youth and it was something I had considered doing many years prior to actually arriving in Costa Rica and changing my life. To answer the earlier question, I settled on a plan to get myself TEFL qualified and go off to teach English in Africa (this was a naïve thought).

I enrolled on an 160 hour online course with an additional 20 hours of physical classroom teacher training. It was a reasonable course and I learned a fair amount. I quickly realized that TEFL training wasn’t some ‘Mickey Mouse’ operation but a serious and professional endeavour.

I completed the course with a good pass grade but given my previous experience of work and in particular, teaching, I realised it hadn’t really given me enough to feel confident in delivering meaningful lessons to hardworking, paying students.

By this time, I started to seek out work opportunities mainly in Africa, to find that there really weren’t any (for paid work) just lots of volunteer places (if I could have afforded to take that option I would have but financially it just wasn’t really an option.) As the reality of my dream of Africa was just not going to happen I started to look around the world for other opportunities which offered the similar immersion in nature and adventure that I was hoping to find in Africa. This is when I hit upon Costa Rica.

Iain at Costa Rica TEFL

I knew a little about Costa Rica like where it was, rich in nature, size, politically stable etc., but really not much more. During my research and job hunting I found Costa Rica TEFL school which offered an in-person teacher training course (in an amazing location), assistance in finding work and support with living in Costa Rica. It was exactly what I needed. I signed up then COVID happened. Everything ground to a halt and a long wait ensued but finally in October 2020 I got the go ahead to go to CR and join Costa Rica TEFL as part of the first class of students after the lock downs.

To be honest I thought the course would be fairly straightforward, bit of theory tutoring, bit of teaching, a few laughs and just a means to an end to get some experience and contacts. I laugh at myself when I look back at that now. From day one this course was a fun, challenging and enlightening experience.

My fellow students were a disparate group of mixed ages, abilities and experience. Everyone was energetic, enthusiastic and friendly. Little was I to know in those early days that many of these people would become dear, dear friends for life. We all worked hard and learned lots thanks to the most amazing tutoring from Barbara, Nickola and Chantal with incredible support from Tori who made up the ever encouraging, knowledgeable and patient team at CRTEFL.

Everyday was a day of growth both personally and in teaching experience. It was challenging in a good way, pushing your abilities but always fun and motivating. Everyone involved students and tutors wanted you to be your best, do your best and they were always there supporting you, encouraging you, pushing you, helping you improve as a teacher but possibly more importantly grow as a person. The team truly helped build your confidence and skills in the most empathetic, professional, friendly and fun manner. It was for me the best learning experience I have ever had and I am forever grateful to all who were part of it. Many of whom are now amongst my dearest and closest friends. You all know who you are!

After Graduation

The after-course job support promised by CRTEFL is not some worthless advertising schtick. It is genuine and exceeds anything I have ever known from any other course. Barbara and her team are seriously well connected and respected in the TEFL world especially within Costa Rica and it wasn’t long after graduating from the course and in no small part due to Barbara I landed my first job as a fully-fledged, confident and able TEFL teacher in one of the best respected language schools in CR.

The job at Intercultura school was another steep learning experience and highly enjoyable and I spent an excellent 2 years with them which allowed me to live well and travel all around CR before feeling the need to move to another teaching position with new challenges. Yet again Barbara and Costa Rica TEFL were able to help me and I am currently still living my best life, working and travelling in Costa Rica and Central America. None of which would have been possible without the incredible support of all at Costa Rica TEFL.

A photo taken by Iain – what a great shot!

Iain’s Adventures

As I said earlier I have been fortunate enough to travel and have adventures all around the world however I had never been to Central or South America until I landed on Costa Rican soil almost three years ago so it’s been wonderful to explore this beautiful and friendly part of the world all the while living in a very special little beach town on the pacific coast called, Sámara. Life is good!

Costa Rica has an abundance of natural beauty and incredible wildlife. Visiting places like Monteverde, Arenal, Manuel Antonio, Tortugero are wonderful experiences but Corcovado on the Osa peninsula is simply on another level. Truly wild and unique. It is one of the most special places I have ever been. Costa Rica is a truly special place and it has been wonderful to live here for the past three years. I am definitely staying for a while yet.

My experiences in Costa Rica have all been positive and it has been incredible to make wonderful new friends from all around the world as well as locally. All my adventures here have been made possible just from doing the Costa Rica TEFL course. It changed my life in the most wondrous way. I really couldn’t have wished for a better place to live, learn, work and grow as a person.

So if you are wondering, What to do? What to do? Take the leap and let Costa Rica TEFL support you in changing your life and opening your horizons to some of the most peaceful, friendly people you will ever meet and some of the best nature and adventures you will ever have. 

Pura Vida!

By: Iain MacDonald

CRTEFL Graduate

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