Cletus Kpeglo - 2015 Program Participant

Friends playing drums in Fuzhou, China

Playing with friends in Fuzhou

Why did you choose Teaching Nomad TEFL Academy?

I was searching for a TEFL certification online and I came across Teaching Nomad, so I contacted them and read more about their curriculum. Finally, I decided to sign up with them because I was satisfied with their answers.

What was your favorite part about the location of your program?

Easy access to the subway, shopping mall, and most restaurants.

What characteristics of your program made it unique?

It focused on relating ESL to the Chinese experience; this is very important and useful to someone seeking a job here in China. It gave you a heads up on what to expect while teaching in China.

How did local staff support you throughout your program?

Very well, especially the program coordinator Ginger.

Man with a rainbow wig on in a park in China

Outdoor activity with kids in the park

Describe a day in the life of your program.

Get there in the morning at 9 a.m. and have teaching theory until 11 a.m., with five to 10 minute breaks. From 11 a.m. to the afternoon, demo classes, which were preparations where the trainee needed to go through his or her lesson plan with the whole class and the trainers do some 15 to 30 minutes demo lessons to the class.

In the afternoon from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., demo classes with the real students (most of the time six to 10 kids). After that we’d discuss about the lessons and give and receive suggestions from the trainers and other trainees. Then around 6 p.m., if there wasn't any one-on-one teaching or foreign language class, we would go home.

But that is not the end of the day; you’d still have to go to the communication centers to prepare the materials for your next class on the other following day. Then at home you still have to do your homework and fill in the TEFL portfolio, and read and preview your lessons for the next day.

What did you enjoy doing on your free time?

Visiting restaurants and going around the city, because it made me forget about the stressful and very intense daily schedule.

What type of accommodation did you have? What did you like best about it?

I was living in a shared apartment provided by the company with one of the trainees. We both paid 3500 RMB, which is cheap considering the cost of living in Shanghai. It was a nice, quiet place with very good wifi connection, a nice balcony view on the twelfth floor, and wasn’t far from the subway and the supermarket, with restaurants all around.

Band playing in Fuzhou, China

With our foreign band here in Fuzhou on my birthday

What was the hardest part about earning TEFL certification abroad?

My path or reason for doing TEFL Certification is little bit different from the average student. I wanted it more for recognition on paper than a training. Because I have been working and living here in China for almost nine years as an ESL teacher, I needed certification to open up more employment positions. I can say I am satisfied and really enjoyed the training itself for its’ contents and quality. It confirmed many things I was doing in practice and gave me more understanding in teaching.

The most important thing about TEFL certification is finding the right training school that will give you the right training you need to be ready for your ESL job.

What surprised you most about Shanghai and how difficult was it to communicate with locals?

I can speak the language and my wife is Chinese. I have been to Shanghai before, so what I can say is Shanghai is one of those cities in China where foreigners can feel at home, because it is very diverse. One tip for newbies I would say is don't worry, just jump! The city is exciting and full of surprises.

Kids playing a game in a park in China

Activity outdoor with kids

How has your TEFL program impacted your life?

Now that I am back to school, the program helps me understand my teaching better, and figure out the problems and how to fix it. It also helps me to figure out what the problem is when watching other classes and to give useful advice.

Would you recommend Teaching Nomad TEFL Academy to other aspiring English teachers?

Of course, definitely. Small class size, friendly, and the quality of teaching is good. They really seem like they always want to improve their service tool that is, for me, the most important in any enterprise.