Meet our Tutors - Mark
We caught up with Mark, one of the tutors who run
our accredited TEFL courses in
the UK, and found out about his experiences
teaching English abroad.
How did you first get
into TEFL (teaching English as a foreign
I never wanted to be an English teacher. Rather, I had
dreams of working in Hollywood as a film composer, writing
exciting scores for movies and conducting large orchestras (my
degree is in music - not English). However, when I came to my
senses and realised that I needed a REAL job to pay off my student
loans, I went to London to do a nine-week CELTA course before going
to Japan to teach English there. It was the best thing I have ever
Where in the world have you taught English as a foreign
I have taught in Japan, Vietnam, Peru, the UK, the USA,
Australia, Thailand, Spain, Sri Lanka, Italy, Austria, the CZ
Republic and Slovakia. I think that's all...
Where in the world have you most enjoyed
Gosh! What a question! Errrmmm... maybe Peru. Lima is a
wonderful yet strange place and the Peruvians are simply wonderful.
But I could say the same things about Japan and
How did it feel to stand up in front of the class for the
Very strange... especially when it dawned on me that my
Japanese students knew more about English grammar than I
What has been your
best TEFL experience?
It's all been good. I don't think I've ever had a
bad TEFL experience. I think that I have
realised and understood much more about myself and who I am after
living in so many different cultures and environments. Learning to
question your own ideas about life, living among people who find
your own ideas strange makes you question everything. It is good to
see where you fit into the world and realise how insignificant you
What has been your
worst TEFL experience?
I had a snake in my house once and a scorpion in my
bathroom, while in Vietnam. Does that count?
What's the most interesting thing that has happened to you
Being mistaken for Bruce Willis! No, really, I was. They
asked for my autograph.
What's your favourite food?
Live fish in Japan, fried tarantulas in Cambodia, rat on a
stick in Vietnam, guinea pigs in Peru. What doesn't kill you makes
What is the worst tense to teach?
Future Perfect Continuous. We don't use it
Do you have any good advice for anyone heading out to
teach English abroad?
As Arnold Schwarzenegger said in the film Predator when
luring the alien into his trap. Just "do it"!
What is an essential travel item you could not live
I used to say a towel and a clean set of underwear, but
seriously, I have to say these days, I can't live without my
Apart from TEFL and travelling the world, what
other hobbies do you have?
Playing my piano, writing music, playing scrabble, going to
the cinema, writing stories and building shelves (I love the smell
of freshly cut wood in the morning).
What is your favourite thing
Boring predictable answer: Meeting people and making friends
from all over the world.
Interesting geeky answer: Having a greater understanding of
my own language.