Where do you currently work and what is your job role?
I currently work for Centro Servizi Interculturali, a private language school in Italy. I am a young, resourceful and energetic English teacher.
What specific area does your teaching focus on?
My teaching areas are Young Learners, Teens and Adults. I teach both General English and Business English, including in-company lessons and English Language Exams. Sometimes it can be in a public school with a class of 30, or groups of 5 or even an individual lesson. I meet new and interesting people every day. Every student is different. Every day is different. That is what makes it fantastic.
How long have you been working in English language teaching?
I have been working as an English teacher for nearly four years.
What challenges have you faced as a new teacher?
I have faced many challenges as a new teacher. I have had many challenges, such as engaging students in Speaking, helping students with ADHD and dyslexia, organizing the classroom, giving the students realistic materials to use outside the classroom and optimizing classroom time. Every so often, I stop and reflect about my teaching journey, I think about all the struggles and worries I have had and how I dealt with them thanks to all the support I received.
How have you overcome these challenges?
The first thing I started to do was to search for help and support online. I started to watch webinars, read teaching magazines like Voices, look for books online, like ‘ELT Journal: Year of the young learner’, attend local conferences and training sessions, speak to experienced teachers, and take many teaching courses to be more prepared. I started looking for support from English language teaching professionals so I could really educate myself. I also wanted my students to leave my lessons feeling happy, interested and feeling as if they had accomplished something.
Have your expectations of being a teacher changed since becoming qualified and if so how?
My expectations have completely changed. I had never imagined it to feel so amazing. The satisfaction that you have in some way, big or small, helping students to achieve or overcome a problem is just awesome. The constant support, day after day, encouraging them to continue and to reach for that goal is fantastic. My students push me to develop my teaching methods. That is the feeling that makes me want to continue to grow as a teacher.
What professional development have you got coming up?
I currently have my TEYL & TEFL qualification and other certificates for different courses, but I would like to continue to push myself further. I would like to aim for higher qualifications in the future.
Why did you decide to join IATEFL?
I decided to become an IATEFL member because I was a new teacher and I needed support, understanding lesson planning, creating realistic and engaging active learning. All these things I have learnt with experience and support from IATEFL.
How has IATEFL help shape your career?
IATEFL has given me support in many different ways, from the community of professional ELT teachers and the materials. Confidence is also another important aspect. Now I can manage anything. As a new teacher, I would definitely recommend the webinars, the magazines and the books, as they are all extremely resourceful for any new teacher.
What does being an IATEFL member mean to you?
Being an IATEFL member, I have found a professional family. It means going back to previous webinars or rereading an article that you think may be useful in class. It means feeling relieved that there are other teachers with the same challenges as you. It means asking for help and receiving the best support. It means a great deal to me as I am still learning; knowing there are other new teachers like me with the same support system is fantastic. I am very grateful.
What would be your top three tips for a teacher starting their career?
My first tip would be to join IATEFL; it is a community of ELT teachers all over the world. Being a new teacher can be overwhelming, but with the right support group it is a lot easier.
Second, I would say to be interested. Keep yourself informed, attend local conferences and training sessions, be hungry for information and keep pushing yourself.
My last tip would be to keep calm. You are going to make mistakes, it will be hard but you are going to learn and, in the end, you will be an amazing teacher. It just takes a little bit of time, support and knowledge.
What are your future career goals and how do you think IATEFL can help in achieving this?
My future career goal in the future would be to open my very own English Language School. I am extremely grateful for all the support, advice, and kindness. Thanks to IATEFL, it is possible. Obviously, I am still a new teacher, I am still learning and I will continue to push myself and absorb all the knowledge and information I can to ensure that I am prepared.
Emma Sarah Muse has been teaching since 2016 in a private language school in Italy. She teaches in primary and secondary public schools. She has experience in TEYL. She also teaches Speaking Preparation Courses for students at a local secondary school. For the past 2 years, she has been teaching Business English in companies. She has also started to experience Teacher Training. In her free time, she continues her professional development.