This week we’ve got a Blog from Mariam, who worked as a trainer with us in 2016, but had also been a teacher at ETC before that. She then went off to Nepal with her husband, to start a new adventure.

I took my Cambridge CELTA course in 1995 – mainly because I wanted to travel. When I did the course I discovered that I really enjoyed the teaching and loved the interaction with students.

Since then I’ve worked in the UK in London, Brighton and Bournemouth and abroad in Vietnam (as a volunteer), Italy, Sri Lanka and now, in Nepal. In Sri Lanka I worked as a project manager on teacher training projects for the British Council, USAID and a German INGO and I was involved in teacher training in Italy and Brighton, too.

I trained as a cert.TESOL trainer first, in Brighton in 2008 and then again at Athena in Bournemouth in 2016,and benefited from the positive, supportive and knowledgeable guidance from the Athena trainers, Christine and Debbie. In my role as English language trainer at ETC, I was inspired by and learned a great deal from John Kay, Head of Teacher Training – especially in terms of becoming more language aware –  and I highly value his encouragement of ’empathy’, ‘authenticity’ and ‘respect in the classroom,  which I view as the foundation of my teaching and training.

The school I work for now is called English for All and is centrally based in Kathmandu. My typical day now involves training (mainly Nepalese)  students on IELTS exam preparation courses so that they have a better chance of achieving the results they need to study abroad. I also teach one-to-one classes with professionals in local or international NGOs. On many afternoons, I also work as an IELTS speaking and writing examiner with the British Council.

Working in Nepal is great if you are interested in South Asian culture, and the countryside is stunning in it’s mountainous splendour! Also, the Nepalese people are friendly, hospitable and wonderful to teach, so the work can be very rewarding. It’s easier to get jobs here on a short-term, voluntary basis, however, as the process of getting a work permit is long and expensive and there are no guarantees that your application will be approved. It’s also not as cheap to live here as you might imagine, and the teaching salaries are not high, so having some savings would be useful if you want to be here for more than just the short term.

I am a ‘go with the flow’ kind of person so I don’t have any (and never have had any) long term career plans, but I would love to get involved in teacher training again – especially in the context of the developing world. For me, having interesting, rewarding and varied work experiences, and being able to travel is more important than a fixed (and lucrative!) career path.

Having a qualification like Cert.TESOL is extremely useful if you are looking for a people oriented job,  are interested in teaching methods, language and language learning processes and are attracted by the idea of having skills that are transferable which can open doors for you worldwide.