What is your name, age and nationality?
Emmy Wolfe, 25- USA.
What is your education level and background?
I have a Bachelor of Arts and Letters in Theatre and Communications from Buffalo State College.
Have you travelled abroad previously, and if so where?
I grew up travelling a lot with my family, mostly to Caribbean islands. As an adult I continued to travel on my own; I studied in Sienna, Italy for 5 months and explored most of Europe. I lived in California for 3 years and I lived in Thailand for 5 months while teaching. In the near future I will be teaching for 5 weeks in Yangshuo, China.
What motivated you to teach abroad?
After living in Los Angeles for 3 years as an actress, I decided I was ready for a new chapter. I was looking for any job I could travel with or any job that involved children. I originally went to school for Education and once I came across teaching abroad, it was the perfect combination of both things I was looking for. I immediately knew this was the next adventure for me.
What did you want to personally achieve with this experience, and have you succeeded?
I really wanted to explore a new part of the world and a new culture. I also wanted to make a difference in other people’s lives. This was the perfect experience to dive into both of these things which both have had a rewarding result. I’ve been able to travel more than most people dream of while also surrounded by children that constantly radiate love and joy.
Did you apply for the program with a friend or on your own?
On my own baby! It’s an incredible experience to self-reflect and explore more of who you are.
Did you know anyone who had taught abroad before you?
I did have a couple people I talked to before I applied to TEFL Heaven. I asked people their opinion on the companies they went through and about Thailand in general. The more I talked to people that had done it, the more and more incredible it sounded.
What were some of your concerns before you began teaching abroad?
I think the only thing I was concerned with was how much money I would be spending. I knew I would be able to make friends and travel, so I really just tried to save as much money as possible.
TEFL PROGRAM INFORMATION
What made you decide to do a TEFL course and choose TEFL Heaven?
I decided to get the TEFL certificate because I assumed I would be teaching in multiple countries over the next few years and I knew it was preferred and you can make more money. I ended up choosing to go through TEFL Heaven because a friend of a friend suggested it and I really liked the idea of the in person training!
What made you choose a face-to-face TEFL course over other options?
The in person experience seemed like a ton of fun and to be honest, it seemed like a mini vacation before jumping into teaching abroad. I wasn’t wrong! There were 24 of us teachers to be and we had a riot. It was also extremely helpful to be trained by people that have already taught in Thailand. They gave us inside scoops, advice, kept class fun, and gave us great insight into what class would actually be like. We also went to an English camp for 2 days that gave us a taste of reality.
Which TEFL program did you do?
TEFL Heaven Thailand Program (Koh Samui), 2018
What did you enjoy about your TEFL course?
I loved that we had 3 weeks to explore the area we were in and meet A TON of new friends. It’s months after training and we still message each other while traveling to meet up.
How prepared did you feel for your teaching position?
I definitely felt like I was ready to get into a classroom. Our training was great, but it can only prepare you so much. You just need to jump into it and within a week you’ll feel comfortable!
How long have you been teaching in Thailand and how long do you plan to stay?
I’ve been teaching in Chumphon, Thailand for 4 months and I have 1 month left. I plan on doing my next semester in another country because I want to explore more of the world.
How did you secure your English teaching job?
TEFL Heaven placed us all at schools that they’ve worked with before.
What does a typical working week look like for you?
School is Monday-Friday, 7:30-4:30. I had 3-5 classes a day, each 1 hour. I also taught math, science, and art on top of English. I never brought work home; I used the lighter days to prepare for the busier days.
What age group or range do you teach?
I teach primary 2-6 but most of the classes I have are primary 2 and 3 which are ages 7-10 years old.
What do you most enjoy about teaching your students?
My favourite moments are when you can see the “light bulb” light up. It’s the most rewarding feeling when a student understands what you’re trying to teach them. You can be standing in front of 30 dazed and confused students, and the moment one of them understands, it makes you feel like all the explaining and literal sweating you’re doing is worth it.
How did you get your work visa?
Before I left America I sent my passport to the nearest embassy with my Non-Immigrant B application. Once in Thailand, I had to renew it at the immigration center in my town, which my company helped with. It was a pretty easy process, just a lot of paperwork.
The people that had to get a tourist visa instead of Non-Immigrant had a lot more fuss renewing it because they had to leave the country.
How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like?
My company, Open Books, gave us our apartment options. It’s a typical Thai style apartment, which means it’s just a bedroom (kind size bed) and a connected bathroom. It’s common for them not to have kitchens in their apartments because eating out is so easy and part of their culture.
What are your monthly expenses?
Rent: 2,500 THB/month
Food: 500-1,000 TBH/month
Motorbike: 2,000 TBH/month
Transportation: 8,000 TBH/month
Misc: 500 TBH/month
Would you say you are able to live comfortably on your monthly salary?
ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE ENGLISH TEACHERS
What advice would you give someone thinking about teaching abroad, and would you recommend teaching English in Thailand?
Save as much money as you can before coming. It will give you more opportunity to travel and less of a chance you’ll have to stress about it at any time.
Roll with the punches and go with the flow!! Everything in Thailand changes last minute. Thai people tend to be rather timid so their communication is not always clear, in fact it rarely is. Have an open mind to EVERYTHING!
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