Your Costa Rica Resource

Thinking of moving to and living in Costa Rica? Learn from our experience - we are your resource. Click here if you're living in Costa Rica and would like to be a contributor.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Teaching, my story Part 1

By: Lisa

Hi all,

So, my introductory post is a bit overdue, especially due to the fact that you've all seen my face a number of times. Well two, to be exact...I'm that girl standing on Bruce's right at Arenal and Manuel Antonio. Both were amazing places, and Bruce and I look forward to going back to each at some point.

Anyway, even though Bruce and I have only been here for 7 weeks, we've both had very different job search experiences, so hopefully the combination of our experiences, compounded with the experiences of those of you reading (and hopefully contributing to) the blog will be relevant to a wide group of people.

Before I go on, I'd like to offer you a brief disclaimer: I'm sure that during the term of this blog, we will name schools, and other people will name schools that they have had experiences with, be them good or bad. However, we are not here to 'promote' certain schools for any personal purposes. We have noticed on other websites that many people write posts or messages promoting a certain school, and it is discovered later on that this person was earning a commission for everyone that contacted the school from the blog. However, and I hate to be all 'school-teachery,' that will not be tolerated here. The information and experiences on this blog will be kept completely objective and free of posts used for ulterior motives. So please do not use this sight for personal gain from commissions on recruiting students. Find another venue for that. Other than that, we welcome your ideas, advice, experiences and stories! Enough of that, let's talk about Costa Rica!

So, basically, my journey into the Costa Rican job market began early this past summer. I made the decision, after much deliberation, to get my TEFL certificate. After hearing conflicting reports on whether or not it is needed, I decided to bite the bullet and do it. I had little to no teaching experience, a college degree in English, and I spoke no Spanish... so I thought the TEFL would at least be one thing I had going for me. And hey, even if my interview at a school was in Spanish (unlikely at an English school, I know), but I'd at least be able to communicate the letters TEFL and hopefully get somewhere that way. Basically it was my safety net going into the unknown. I signed up with ITTT, an online affiliate of TITC. The course was $295 ( a bit pricey for a safety net, but it was the best one I came across), and it included 20 units (roughly 100 hours) of both teaching skills and language awareness. The course itself had some positives and negatives, which I'd be happy to write about if people are curious, but on the whole, I'm very glad I completed the course. Did it make me an incredible teacher? No, but it did help me to better plan and organize lessons, control my class, and review many English intricacies that I have had to teach my students. To answer the magic question about whether a certificate is needed to obtain a job in Costa Rica, no, it is not necessary; however, in my case, it was the safety net that I needed.

That is all I will write for now, but Bruce and I look forward to being in an online conversation with all of you!