GoAbroad Interview

Martha Supajirawatananon - TEFL Director

Martha Supajirawatananon - TEFL Director

Originally a London girl who has always had a fascination with languages and Slavic culture, Martha began her journey at Glasgow University, studying Czech and Russian, spent a year in St Petersburg, and now finds herself settled and at home in the Czech Republic. She has lived like a local in many of the places she has visited in her life, including Italy, France, Germany, Japan, Australia, Thailand, the Philippines, and the U.S. Though Martha was an English teacher for many years, she now trains aspiring new teachers at the start of their own TEFL adventure.

You have spent time living in cities as diverse as London, Glasgow, and St. Petersburg. What is your best piece of advice for newbies heading abroad?

Embrace differences and be open to different ideas and perspectives. People do things in different ways, and that is what makes travelling interesting. Be diplomatic and polite, and learn from the experience.

Coworkers at a company party
Champagne and cake…the only way to celebrate!

What inspired you to work for Smaller Earth? How did you find out about the job opportunity?

I was actually sent the job ad by a friend (thank you Angela!). What persuaded me at the interview was that they really seemed to value people over anything else, and it wasn’t just about what they could get out of me; they place importance on having happy employees and offer lots of enriching experiences.

How do you use your own international experience as TEFL Director of Smaller Earth?

I train people from all differents part of the world, usually all in one course. My experience helps me to see situations from different points of view and to communicate in a variety of ways. I have experience of what it’s like to teach and learn a language, which helps me to develop the teachers I train from both perspectives, whilst providing good lessons for the students they teach.

TEFL teacher instructing a lesson
All in a day’s work!

What does a typical day at the office look like for you?

Typically, before the course, I grade assignments and administer the course. Then I teach two input sessions on teaching methodology, grammar, or phonology, etc. After lunch, I assist the trainees in their lesson planning, then I observe them teaching, assessing them and offering tips in the feedback session afterwards.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy revealing mysteries of the language to trainees, and also watching them progress into full-blown teachers in just four weeks.

Costal view in Capri, Italy
Enjoying the view on a trip to Capri, Italy

You studied both Czech and Russian during your time at Glasgow University. Why do you think language skills are important in the globalizing world of today?

As we always say, it’s a smaller Earth (see what I did there!) and it’s forever getting smaller. So, language learning for me is about communication and being a world citizen, and opening yourself to new possibilities. I now get to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and it’s all because of learning languages.

What makes the Smaller Earth team one-of-a-kind?

It’s the most supportive place I’ve ever worked in. In whatever I strive to do, both inside and outside of work, my colleagues are rooting for me all the way.

Smaller Earth staff around Christmas time
Bringing a bit of Christmas cheer to the office

If you could participate in any Smaller Earth program, which one would you choose and why?

That’s a really tough question, but I think I would do lion rehabilitation in Africa or the wildlife expedition in Costa Rica. These are places I would love to spend time in, and I would be giving something back to the world, too. Conservation is something close to my heart.

Is there anything new in the works at Smaller Earth that we should know about?

At the moment, we are working on a new video for the Hello Academies TEFL program and it is going to be awesome, so keep a look out for that. We are also further developing our graduate program, to include bigger events and more alumni discounts!