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Our TEFL graduate stories

Name: Agnieszka Payne
Location: Warsaw, Poland

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Name: Michelle Cowans
Location: Bondi, Australia

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Name: Daisy Lamb
Location: Bari, Italy

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Name: Katelyn Cobb
Location: Seoul, South Korea

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Name: Dina Grishin
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

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Name: Ciara Gallagher
Location: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Name: Mariam Ghorbannejad
Location: Egypt

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Name: Nick Collett
Location: London Highgate

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Name: May Barbree
Location: Istanbul

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Name: Anastasia Rubera
Location: Italy

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Name: Michelle Greene
Location: California

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Name: Tom Borrie
Location: London Highgate

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Name: Paris Tume
Location: Spain

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Name: Julia Vinogradova
Location: Moscow

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Name: Rachel Dennis
Location: Sri Lanka

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Name: Agnieszka Payne
Nationality: Polish
Studied at: Trinity TESOL at St Giles London Central
Graduated: 2013

As a graduate of the Faculty of Applied Linguistics at Warsaw University I used to think I knew almost everything about teaching English as a foreign language.

However, I was quickly disillusioned when I approached the TESOL course at St. Giles, London Central, in 2013. Our absolutely brilliant tutors guided us with 100%  passion and commitment through this very demanding course.

Equipped with new knowledge and very practical skills (the right balance between Teacher and Student Speaking Time, choral and individual pronunciation and grammar timelines, to mention just a few), I’ve been continuing to successfully teach students of various age and levels in Warsaw.

Agnieszka Payne, Polish
Name: Michelle Cowans
Nationality: Australian
Studied at: CELTA at St Giles Brighton
Graduated: 2005

In 2005 I went to Brighton to do my CELTA course. It was a decision I have never regretted.

Now it’s over ten years later - a fact I can hardly believe. Upon finishing my CELTA I was offered work with St Giles over the summer. When the British winter reared its ugly head, I flew back to my native Australia where I started working for an English language school in Sydney. I took my Masters in Applied Linguistics, and became very interested in curriculum design and educational technology.

Four years ago I accepted the position of Curriculum Coordinator for a college in Bondi Junction which runs the Adult Migrant English Program - a government funded program which provides English and settlement to new migrants and refugees. It is a rewarding and challenging role, and although it seems far away from my days at St Giles, I always remember that is there that my journey truly began. 

Michelle Cowans, Australian
Name: Daisy Lamb
Nationality: British
Studied at: Trinity TESOL at St Giles London Central
Graduated: 2014

I attended the 4 week Trinity CertTESOL at London Central from July-August 2014. In November of the same year I was teaching in Bari, a small city on the Adriatic coast of southern Italy, and I have been here ever since. I was the making of me! I've had my happiest days here and have met people that will be family to me forever!

In January I'm starting a new job in Madrid and I cannot wait! 

Daisy Lamb, British
Name: Katelyn Cobb
Nationality: American
Studied at: CELTA at St Giles San Francisco
Graduated: 2016

I decided to take the CELTA course at St. Giles San Francisco because I wanted to become a confident, capable, and effective ESL teacher with a widely respected qualification. I came into the class with some ESL teaching experience (having volunteered as a teacher’s aide), but I didn’t feel comfortable planning and teaching an entire class by myself. I can say with conviction that the CELTA course has made me into a much better teacher in many different ways.

The CELTA certification has also made me a competitive job candidate. During my job hunt in Seoul, South Korea, I received six different job offers from prospective schools! Because of my certification, I was able to pick the school with the best benefits and best reviews from former ESL teachers.

Overall, I would rate my CELTA experience at St. Giles International an 11 out of 10 – they go above and beyond to help you!

Katelyn Cobb, American
Name: Dina Grishin
Nationality: British/Russian
Studied at: CELTA at St Giles Highgate
Graduated: 2011

I did the TEFL course because I wanted to retrain into a different profession that would allow me to travel. I chose St Giles Highgate because it's in a picturesque part of London, out of the city. The month-long course was very intense, but so rewarding and I've made life-long friends from it! I went to teach business English one-on-one in Buenos Aires and had one of the best years of my life. I loved the autonomy and flexibility of being a teacher, the relationship you build, not being in front of a computer, and learning so much from my students. Inspired by the one-on-one sessions, I came back and became a life coach helping people who want a career change and who are thinking of moving abroad. TEFL gives you the gift of transferable skills, flexibility, a qualification, travel opportunity, and of course English grammar!

Dina Grishin, British/Russian
Name: Ciara Gallagher
Nationality: British
Studied at: TESOL at St Giles London Central
Graduated: 2014

I attended an open day prior to my course to gain some insight into what is like to be a foreign language teacher. Little did I know this was the first stepping stone to my career. To say my tutors were supportive is an understatement. As well as my tutors, the entire staff devoted time out of their incredibly busy schedules to ensure we were prepared and were only too happy to share activity ideas. Since finishing my time at St Giles, I received an offer to work with young learners in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. St Giles London Central gave me the necessary skills and development needed for working with learners of other languages. As ESOL teachers we never stop learning and progressing but we will always be thankful for the individuals who helped us believe we could make a difference.

Ciara Gallagher, British
Name: Mariam Ghorbannejad
Nationality: British
Studied at: CELTA at St Giles London Highgate
Graduated: 2012

I chose to do my CELTA at St Giles London Highgate as it has an outstanding reputation for providing high quality courses and has excellent facilities. I learnt so much in such a short space of time; the training sessions contained a balance of theory and practice and tutors were supportive and encouraging in their comments on my teaching. I taught multilingual classes, where students came from Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. It provided me with a strong foundation on which to build my teaching career and helped me secure my first position as a Teacher of English on the Teacher Support Programme at the British Council in Cairo. I am currently based at the British Council in Cairo where I am employed as a Teacher Mentor. I have also completed all modules of the Delta. In addition to teaching, mentoring and delivering training, I am also devising syllabi and materials for the EU-funded HOPES project for Syrian refugees in higher education in Egypt. I have also designed courses for judges on promoting women's rights as well as Conversation courses taught across Egypt.

Mariam Ghorbannejad, British
Name: Nick Collett
Nationality: English
Studied at: CELTA at St Giles London Highgate
Graduated: 2011

Even though I had taught in China prior to my course, I found the CELTA to be an extremely useful platform to develop my teaching skills and knowledge of English in the classroom. This gave me the confidence and drive to become an English professional. After taking on a temporary managerial role at a summer school, I was offered a full time ADOS role which I recently started at a language school in London.

Nick Collett, English
Name: May Barbree
Nationality: American
Studied at: CELTA at St Giles San Francisco
Graduated: 2012

I got my CELTA at St. Giles in July 2012, and am now employed as an EFL teacher in Istanbul! If you are considering getting a CELTA at St. Giles - do it. The certification made getting a job a breeze - many responses to my resume and interview requests; I had an interview with my top choice of school and was hired. The course was difficult, but St. Giles was a wonderful place to be doing it. The location and facilities are lovely and convenient, the trainers are excellent, and the training is incredibly effective. I got positive feedback on my teaching in my first few weeks on the job. CELTA is the best certification I could have gotten, and St. Giles is the best place I could have done it.

May Barbree, American
Name: Anastasia Rubera
Nationality: Italian
Studied at: CELTA at St Giles San Francisco
Graduated: 2014

Completing my CELTA course was a wonderful experience. My group of teacher trainees were terrific and we helped and supported each other. The trainers were great, they gave us a lot of support and encouragement throughout the course. Their experience and knowledge helped me to improve not only my teaching skills, but also make me want to learn more about the amazing world of teaching. Right after the course I volunteered as a teacher. After the first couple of lessons I realised how much I had learned during the CELTA and what I had gained from it: more confidence as a teacher, better classroom management, cross-culture awareness, just to mention a few. The CELTA is really worth the effort. I would recommend St Giles to anyone interested in learning or improving their English as well as to any teacher who wishes to do the CELTA.

Anastasia Rubera, Italian
Name: Michelle Greene
Nationality: American
Studied at: CELTA at St Giles San Francisco
Graduated: 2015

I have nothing but positive things to say about my CELTA course at St Giles San Francisco. While the course is very intense, it taught me a lot and gave me a good foundation to launch my teaching career from. You will gain some great friends and connections from the experience. Everyone at St. Giles is wonderful, especially the CELTA trainers. They give extremely helpful feedback and clearly provide you with the tools you need to succeed in the course. They even helped me after I finished the course, by writing me a lovely reference and taking the time to answer all my post-CELTA questions. You should have no trepidation about doing your CELTA at St. Giles, it's a wonderful place and great learning center!

Michelle Greene, American
Name: Tom Borrie
Nationality: British
Studied at: TESOL at St Giles London Central
Graduated: 2004

When I started my Trinity CertTESOL course I had no idea about the rules of English grammar or any previous experience in a classroom. The course provided an excellent balance of theory and practice and my confidence grew quickly. I felt fully supported by the Trainers throughout the course. Gaining my Trinity TESOL qualification opened up a whole new career for me. After four happy years of teaching English in South America I returned to St Giles and started work as a Teacher of English. Over the next few years I completed my Cambridge Delta qualification, became Senior Teacher as St Giles London Central and in February 2015 I took on a new role as Principal at St Giles London Highgate. I would certainly recommend the course to anyone who would like a new challenge, gain a qualification that allows them to work in almost any country in the world, or begin a career in the ELT industry.

Tom Borrie, British
Name: Paris Tume
Nationality: British
Studied at: TESOL at St Giles London Central
Graduated: 2015

I had a very valuable experience during my time at St Giles. I was able to learn so much in a short space of time; it has been very useful since I have started teaching. Some of these things I don’t think you would learn if you done a standard TEFL course or an online course. As a native speaker I was worried whether my level of grammar would be sufficient to teach English, as we don’t really learn it ourselves. I was assured this is normal when native speakers join the course and once you’re on the course you begin to learn so much. Your knowledge will continue to grow, the more you teach. You also receive support after the course for any questions you may have, which is very valuable. Overall, I think this is a great course if you want to teach English around the world.

Paris Tume, British
Name: Julia Vinogradova
Nationality: Russian
Studied at: TESOL at St Giles London Central
Graduated: 2012

I had been teaching English for ten years before I applied for the Trinity CertTESOL course at St Giles London Central. This course is perfect for those who have never faced a class and as well as those who have had substantial experience in teaching. The course was a real eye-opener for me as it equipped me with numerous approaches for introducing grammar, working on vocabulary and giving students exposure to speaking activities. After the course, I returned to Moscow and carried on with my job, but I was not the same teacher anymore. The enthusiasm and professionalism that I encountered at St Giles made me continue to develop my teaching skills. Thank you to my tutors at St Giles who really made a difference in my life!

Julia Vinogradova, Russian
Name: Rachel Dennis
Nationality: British
Studied at: TESOL at St Giles London Central
Graduated: 2015

It’s been an amazing journey since I started my course! The course is an intense experience however it provides you with the right skills and experience to move confidently from being a student in the classroom to teaching in the classroom. The trainers are highly experienced and very supportive and the resources available at St Giles are also excellent. I found the school to be a very friendly place where the teaching staff always seemed happy to provide suggestions and advice. I am currently in Sri Lanka where I am now Head of English Program Development at an NGO project. I’ve had the most amazing experiences in and out of the classroom since qualifying. I thank the team at St Giles for providing me with the skills and experience to make the most out of this rewarding experience.

Rachel Dennis, British