TESL/TEFL Student Continues His English Teaching Career

Joe CandelarioEditor’s note: The ALI will be updating its student profiles to let you know what some of our former students are doing today. Here is the original blog on Joe Candelario, posted Aug. 16, 2013, along with a look at his current status.

Today Joe Candelario is on a clear career path – he recently came back from teaching English in the Czech Republic, and is working as a facilitator at the American Language Institute (ALI) at San Diego State University (SDSU).

However, after graduating college Candelario wasn’t so sure of a direction. When a friend told him about the ALI, he decided to take a chance and move forward with his future. “I thought the teacher training program sounded like a good idea, so after thinking about it for a couple months, I decided to go through with it and enrolled in the TESL/TEFL certificate program,” he said.

After graduating from the program, Candelario found a position as an English teacher in the Czech Republic. He taught young children from the age of kindergarten to third grade, and credits the ALI teacher training program with helping him teach English successfully. “One of the most important things that I got from Van [director] was to be prepared, have contingency plans, and always be flexible, so you can pull something out of your hat if something goes wrong. I can’t tell you how many times I forgot to bring my lesson plans or English cards. I would have to think of something on the spot, so that flexibility and multifaceted skill-set really helped out teaching in the Czech Republic.”

Candelario has taught at a summer camp in France and still plans to teach abroad either in Europe or South America. He definitely recommends the program for “anyone who is adventurous and is always looking to learn new things.” He also advises that, “It pays off to know, to meet, and to network when you are living abroad because you never know what is in your future.”

Czech Republic

Update on Joe

Did you get to teach in Europe or South America? If so, how did it work out?
I taught in Podebrady and Nymburk, Czech Republic, which were less than an hour from Prague. It went really well for a first job teaching children. The most difficult thing was creating my own curriculum for five different age groups.

I also taught at an English immersion camp in France called “American Village” for two summers. Those were both great experiences.

Will you share an anecdote or two of your experiences?
In the Czech Republic, I remember teaching a group of 5-6 kindergarteners who were by far my most difficult group at that level. There were two boys who were quite rowdy, a couple well-behaved children, and one little girl who was always silent during the lessons. A few months into teaching this group – right when I’d just about had it – the little girl finally responded in English. It made everything all worthwhile.

In the American Village, it was like going off to Neverland. My first summer, I worked at a gorgeous, centuries-old Burgundian Chateau which was loaded with history. Surrounding the stone walls of the grounds were rolling vineyard hills. Each day after breakfast we’d teach ESL, then put on skits, followed by different “American” games and activities. The counselors were a vibrant mix of travelers, linguists, raconteurs, intellectuals, musicians, and people in search for meaning in life. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

How long did you teach as a facilitator at ALI, and how did it help you?
I taught as a facilitator for a couple months in 2012 and again in 2013 upon returning from Europe. It was a good opportunity to observe skilled teachers and to gain experience working with international students.

What are you doing nowadays?
Since then, I’ve been teaching at EF (Education First) San Diego. (Editor’s note: This is an international language school in San Diego where students come to study English.) It’s a solid job. I work with Allen Yang, who also did the TEFL program and worked as a facilitator at ALI.

How much of a factor has the TESL/TEFL program been in your life?
I’m grateful for my experience doing the teacher training program and facilitating at ALI. The staff were supportive and encouraging and were invaluable in helping me in my job hunt early on.