I think our love is coming to an end

Street art graffiti painted on a fence. A barreling wave.

My contract finishes here in a little under two weeks. I sold my moto a few weeks ago and I’ve been Go-jeking around. I’m not sad or excited; I’m in preparation mode.

Work offered to renew my contract here in Bangers for good money but it’s just too far away from the water. I spend all my money on flights to the waves. And, my surfing plateaus when I’m only surfing once a month; I spend the first two days in the water finding my sea-legs. I’m sad to leave my co-workers though,  and this weird city with very few Westerners.

I’ve been offered another contract (for terrible money) in a city with waves. It’s in a super touristy area which is kinda gross but I’m just going to try to surf every day for the year and make the most of it.



I’ve had a few people ask about my ESL (English as a Second Language) teaching qualifications. I have a BA in English and Creative Writing, and I also have my Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA). The CELTA program is administered by Cambridge University and it’s the best internationally recognized TESOL training program in the world.

There’s a few other credible ESL teaching programs available, but the CELTA is the one I see as a requirement in most job advertisements. I don’t know much about the other credible teaching program (Trinity). I chose CELTA because it’s accredited, it’s well-known,  it’s a standardised program, it regulates the selection of candidates (you can’t enter the course if you don’t pass an interview and a test), and the teacher trainers who conduct the courses have undergone extensive training and have substantial teaching experience.

Don’t do an independent TEFL or TESL certificate program:

If you’re looking for work as an ESL teacher DON’T  get your qualification through an independent TESL or TEFL certificate program. ANYONE can set up a a pretty website and a program to teach you to teach. ANYONE. Those types of courses are geared toward young travelers who want a quick qualification which enables them to teach for a few months and then move on. The problem with those types of programs is there’s no oversight from an external body, there’s no accreditation, and they cost as much as the CELTA (or they give you a job and they don’t pay you for your first month). They’re a prettily packaged marketing exercise geared to make money for some schlub somewhere.

My advice is to research, people. Think critically! There’s a tonne of dodgy operators in the ESL industry. They glut up all the job placement boards they make the industry a shittier place, and all they’re after is your money.


On teaching and leaving.

I’ve enjoyed teaching at the school I’m at so much. It’s been such a great learning curve. I love having my own classroom and my own students, and although access to resources and a printer has been difficult (oh my god the drama with printing here!) I’ve pulled together some great lessons, learned a lot about classroom management, and even learned I can get through a lesson when I don’t have the resources or lesson plan I’d been counting on (thanks again, printer!). I’m really scared I’m going to regret leaving this school.

Initially I was a bit worried about teaching kids because kids are not my thing. The first couple of weeks I thought, ‘ohhhhh shit,’ but now it’s OK. I don’t think that’s my teaching skills; I think I have especially good classes (all my shitty students left). Maybe, if I were given different classes I would crap my pants?  One of my co-workers is having a nightmare of a time; she has large, unruly classes, she hates kids, but she also does no lesson planning, and wants to be liked. I have fairly well-planned classes, I’m kind of strict, but ultimately, I don’t care enough to get genuinely angry about anything.  I wouldn’t say that I love working with kids but I don’t absolutely hate it (I don’t dread it). Basically,  I treat the kids like small humans I respect but don’t care that much about.

I also really love that I’ve been left completely on my own. There’s no-one breathing down my neck. I’m an extremely independent person and I thrive being left on my own, but it’s only been now (that I’m about to leave) that I’ve even noticed it. I’m hoping most schools are like that.

I’m excited and scared and sad to leave. I thought it would be for another year, but I have the freedom to leave, and I found a job that’s (somewhat) closer to the surf, and so I’m fucking doing it. I have just three more weeks to go!


I’ve had a sore throat for the past couple of days and when I woke up this morning I had no voice.On the weekends I teach three classes a day. Unfortunately, today was my turn to do ‘open classes,’ meaning my student’s parents came along to observe. It was pretty silly because we had to go to this tiny, tiny ‘demo’ classroom and do half an hour there, and then go upstairs to the normal classroom for the rest of the lesson. I didn’t really give a rat’s arse, I was all prepped, so I just ignored the parents and the manager, but by the end of the day I was completely exhausted, and honestly, my voice was ridiculous.

I was  surprised the manager was OK with me giving lessons in front of the parents sounding like that. I’ve never heard anything like it before, it was ludicrous. Anyway, by the end of the day I was pretty buggered and I was hanging out for it to be over, and no parents showed up for my last class. I was like, ‘yussssss’ thinking I’d just be able to go straight upstairs with the students. But the manager was like, ‘no, no’ and got all my students to PHONE THEIR PARENTS! What?

I had no voice, I sounded like a squeaky-freak, the kids looked terrified of me (wtf is she saying??), and the manager calls parents to come in and watch. The good news was,  I  got to sit there and not talk for half an hour while we waited for the poor parents to come back to the school. The bad news was, somehow it threw my timing out and I almost sent the students home half an hour early. I had them lined up at the door ready to go and everything, and then I was like, ooooopsie! Still have half an hour left!