Me, teaching English?  Okay!  In 2011, I received my TEFL certification from a school in Florence, Italy.  It was my first year living abroad, and although retired, I thought I could make some extra money teaching English.  The course was a grueling month long, but in the end, I passed with flying colors.

I taught English in Italy for about six months.  I had six private students.  Two were 5 years old, two were ten years old, and two were 20 years old.  The pay was not great and the prep work for teaching was much more than I had bargained for.  After six months, I had decided to live without the extra income.

I haven’t taught since then, and I haven’t really thought much about it.  Until recently, when a woman contacted me.  She had found my name and profile on Facebook on an expat forum.  She inquired about whether I was interested or not, and after some consideration, I decided to pursue the opportunity.

This all started in May.  There was an interview; there were forms to complete and an English proficiency test to complete.  Now I am ready to face a weeklong training session on the Berlitz method of teaching.  This prospect has me terrified and filled with dread.

It’s not the training I fear; it’s the 9:30 to 5:30 schedule for five days straight.  Yes, spoiled as I am, I no longer wake up by an alarm clock with someplace to be early in the morning.  My days are free to do as I please and full of traveling, marketing, trying out new recipes, sightseeing, lunch with friends, volunteer work, walks on the beach, trips to the pool, watching movies and reading.  Hardly anything is scheduled and definitely not at 9:30 in the morning!

Okay, I know you don’t feel sorry for me, nor should you.  I still am not doing this for the money, but for the sole purpose of meeting like-minded people in my new country.  I had one meeting with five other teachers and felt that I could easily accomplish this goal.  They were all women and were from France, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and Germany!

So, this is what will inspire me to get up at this uncivilized hour and go to this course to learn how they prefer I teach English.  Wonderful, like-minded women who are far away from home for a variety of reasons and motives all together in one room for the purpose of teaching their language to others.

When that alarm clock goes off, I will definitely need to think hard about this wonderful motivation.  I think I’m actually getting excited now.  Wish me luck!



  1. I think you’ll be invigorated by the sense of purpose. The few, minor “projects” I’ve agreed to since retirement were energizing. Wishing you fun and purpose.

    • Karen Mills Reply

      Thanks Doug. I’m two days in and having a blast. There are 10 teachers, two men and 8 women from all over the world. It’s interesting to hear their stories and the training is fun. I don’t know about the actual teaching part yet although I like the method they are teaching me, but for my purpose of meeting people, all is good.

  2. I hope you’ll do a follow up post in a few days or weeks, because I can certainly imagine how tough it can be having to wake up early and going to work 5 days a week after not having to do that for an extended period of time.
    When I finished grad school, I took a year off and traveled the world. I realize I was fortunate to have that opportunity and I had a grand old time, but when I had to start work again it was really rough! I had to completely change my habits in terms of going to sleep at a much earlier hour, not having as much leisure time, and having productive mornings. In fact, even during grad school I had gotten used to staying up most of the night and staying in bed all morning, because most grad school classes take place in the late afternoon and evening.

    • Karen Mills Reply

      I’ll do a follow up post when I start teaching which probably won’t be until September. I made it through the training though! I’m only going to teach a max of 6 hours a week so it shouldn’t be too bad.

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