Dan HinkleyPrologue

My name is Dan Hinkley, I am a 23 year-old journalism graduate soon beginning a four week CELTA course in the hope of becoming a Teacher of English as a foreign language. I live in a small village in Cumbria, England, and studied Journalism and English at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston. On successful completion of the CELTA course I plan to undertake 8 months - 1 year abroad working as an EFL teacher. During this time I plan to write a diary of my experiences as a first time teacher of EFL.

After completing my degree I took the decision to avoid graduate work schemes and part-time 'temp' jobs instead trying to find a financially viable way to travel and to see some of the world. It was then (from a friend) I first discovered the opportunities a CELTA or TESOL Teaching English as a Foreign Language course could present. I also realised that if I could find the initial lump sum needed to take the course, I could be financially self-sufficient while experiencing other cultures throughout Europe, Asia or Latin America.

Although the 'red top' newspapers may have us believe differently, I think the growing trend in EFL teaching is of a great benefit to both teacher and student. It is important that minority societies retain their rich cultural history, learning English as a second language doesn't prevent this but it does allow them to stay up to date with the world around them. The unification of language (English is becoming increasingly popular throughout the world) provides learners with opportunities to find work, to travel and to have an improved life-style. EFL teachers on the other hand, are able to experience other cultures without the limitations of being labelled a tourist; they can find a legitimate place within a foreign society while earning enough money to live and to travel.

The irony of someone with a broad Cumbrian accent trying to teach English is not lost on me. The interview for the course has highlighted that for four weeks and two days, my life will consist of very little except grammatical terminology and teaching idiosyncrasies, and then the hard part starts! I hope that this diary will be of some benefit to EFL teachers (both current and perspective) and will provide a chance for others to empathise, sympathise and learn from my copious mistakes!

I'm really looking forward to the course starting on July 29th at the Manchester Academy of English, after which I will be updating the diary on a weekly basis during the CELTA course and following that, during the teaching period. I hope you enjoy reading the diary, if you have any comments or feedback, please get in touch with me on the e-mail.


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