Thursday, July 28, 2016

English teacher. Nice to meetcha. Blog post #9. A zest for life: find it now (or forever hold your peace) by Shannon Norman

There’re about 65 gazillion facts in this world. Just kidding! I mean, hello! How the heck would I know? Luckily for you, I’m not going to be harping on about 65 gazillion facts. You may breathe now. Instead, I would very much like to share with you just four facts that I’ve learned since becoming a TEFL trained teacher (and why you should do a TEFL course).


Fact #1: Mindset is everything…literally

Being in the TEFL industry, and more specifically, teaching at The Knowledge Workshop for almost a year and a half has expanded my mind and has changed the way I see the world. The reason for this is that TEFL takes you out of your comfort zone, and forces you to think differently. It goes without saying, therefore, that mindset matters if you’re thinking of becoming an EFL teacher.  It is important to approach TEFL with an open mind and to embrace the challenges that go hand-in-hand with doing something new. Sometimes the hardest thing about doing a TEFL course is grappling with new ideas. Once the mental shift is made, you become free to explore all sorts of options you might not have considered before.

Shannon observing ideas unfold

Fact #2: Creativity has no limit

I can’t draw to save my life, unless you count stick figures, and anyone who knows me can vouch for this. Despite my artistic shortcomings, I still consider myself a highly creative individual because of the different facets of creativity I’ve been able to explore since I entered the industry. Whether you’re a teacher or engaged in some other profession, it’s important that you seek new ways of being more creative. Creativity is not just about being able to paint, draw or sculpt. Creativity knows no bounds. In fact, you are limited only by what you cannot imagine. So when I encounter new TEFL candidates who find their creativity somewhat lacking, I don’t worry about how they’re going to get through their training. I know that our course has the power to change things around for them, and very quickly, they exceed their own expectations as creative thinking takes hold.

 Fact #3: Interpersonal skills are a must-have, okay!

It’s alright to be introverted, says me, the extrovert. But it’s not alright if it prevents you from working and communicating within a group. Adults are often the worst when it comes to this. There are adults who distance themselves from others and there are adults who take over like a 90s boy band. The thing is, if you want to be an EFL teacher, and a successful one at that, you must understand the power of working in a group and interacting meaningfully with all sorts of people, regardless of your personal preferences. Herein lies the opportunity for growth – we learn from each other!

This is what happens when TEFLers and students get together

Fact #4: Giving up is for sissies (and you’re not a sissy)

Big or small, achievements are worth celebrating and there is a feeling of triumph that comes with seeing something through to the end.  So guys, the moral of the story: just don’t give up. As an EFL teacher, I can say without a doubt that it’s not smooth sailing all of the time. There are going to be good days and bad days, but the good, fortunately, far outweigh the bad. When I hear folks on the TEFL course say things like, “I can’t do this” or “I’m not good at that”, I just want to say, “Hey, just keep your eye on the prize. It will be worth it in the end”. Our TEFL course takes candidates on an intense, three-week journey of discovery - of self, of others, and the world around them. It’s amazing what we find, when we actually choose to look at the world through a different set of lenses. Obstacles become mere challenges; dreams become destinations. 


Now, I really hope that someone has read this far because this last little bit is what I’ve been dying to say: embrace the unknown and unleash what’s inside of you. I’m certain that there’s more to YOU than you think. For me, discovering these four facts has been pretty awesome. I always knew it, but it took a TEFL course for me to truly understand it. If you’re on the fence about doing a TEFL course, I strongly suggest that you get off the fence. Just jump off today and don’t look back. Fences are 100% overrated anyway.

No one can find your zest for life, but you. So what’s it going to be?

Shannon with a few TEFlers: all of them jumped off the fence