Andrea Beatriz Collados, English Teacher

From Argentina

An intrepid globetrotter, Andrea loves exploring new cultures and English language teaching. She has been teaching for over 20 years, in seven countries, on five continents, and believes that English, as a universal language, is a powerful tool for communication and connection. A strong believer in continued professional development, she shares her passion for learning with her students and with a global network of teachers.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m from Argentina. I consider myself a citizen of the world but on paper, I’m an Argentinean. I’ve been teaching English for over 20 years, in seven different countries, on five continents. The work I’ve done outside of teaching English has included being a secretary and a CS representative.

Aside from being a global educator, I am an intrepid traveler, a lecturer, a photographer, and a cat lover. I enjoy exploring new cultures, meditating, reading, and hanging out with my family and friends. Last, but not least, I am interested in living a healthy lifestyle by exercising, doing Zumba, and dancing salsa.

What inspired you to become an English teacher?

My greatest interest has always been in languages, with English being my favorite. The teaching of such an important language may be beneficial in various forms. As a universal language, it is a powerful tool that enhances communication and connects individuals and communities. As a lingua franca, it has the invaluable role of bridging cultures. Additionally, it is the language used on the internet, for business purposes, and it can be seen as the key that opens doors to new opportunities in every corner of the globe.

You’re currently teaching English online at BridgeEnglish! How did you land this job?

The way I landed this job is quite interesting: by winning a scholarship. In 2021, Bridge Education Group, supported by a YLAI Fellowship Program Collaboration Grant, created the English Teacher Empowerment Scholarship. It was a great opportunity for global educators to continue their professional development through Bridge workshops and teacher-training programs at no cost.

I found out about this scholarship when I saw a post published on one of the Facebook groups for English teachers from Argentina I belong to. I immediately thought it would be an amazing opportunity to continue developing my teaching skills and technological literacy. When I found out that I was selected as one of the scholarship recipients I felt thrilled, especially because it was a fantastic possibility to continue learning after having finished my MA (June 2021). I saw this as an opportunity to improve my skills as an online language teacher and make a great impact in my community and the rest of Latin America.

The scholarship granted enrollment in four Bridge professional development courses which focus on teaching English online as well as teaching young learners and teenagers. Among the different sections, there were supplementary resources, which included “Job Advising”. So, after finishing this short course I realized that I could apply for an online teaching position with Bridge Education and so I did.

This scholarship greatly benefited my professional and my personal life because it was an excellent way to enrich and boost my teaching career while meeting like-minded people from diverse educational backgrounds at the same time through the global community and employer network. Also, it opened up more and better opportunities in the ELT world.

Can you share a rewarding moment you’ve had as an English teacher?

Teaching and volunteering in Sudan was undoubtedly one of the most enriching experiences of my life and I was once again able to combine my passions: teaching, traveling, and volunteering. This was another 180º turn in my life as I encountered such an interesting and diverse culture that I had never been exposed to before. During this time, I became involved with a non-profit organization called the Sudan Volunteer Program (SVP), whose mission is to foster positive cross-cultural communication in a captivating but often misunderstood country. Despite the hard living, harsh climate, and meager salary, both my students and myself were enriched by this powerful cultural and linguistic exchange.

A treasured memory of mine is participating in extracurricular activities such as English Club and informal conversation classes besides delivering workshops and seminars on languages.

In addition, I coordinated and conducted a four-day workshop for English teachers. A major purpose of this course was to help elementary and high school teachers acquire professional skills, adapt to the 21st-century tendencies in a globalized educational environment, and understand the importance of continuous professional development (CPD).

You took Specialized courses in Teaching English Online and Teaching Business English as well as Micro-credential courses in Teaching English as a Global Language and Games in the Online classroom. Why did you decide to take these courses?

These particular courses appealed to me because I saw them as opportunities to enhance my technology literacy and teaching skills. I consider lifelong learning to be a core value. The goal of continuous professional development for me is to change teaching practices in order to enhance students’ learning outcomes.

The courses provided me with the opportunity to expand my knowledge about online teaching, global Englishes, and the native speaker fallacy, among other topics. The journey of an ESL educator is not an easy one.

Fortunately, as the world has become increasingly globalized and interconnected, thinking of just one correct English would be erroneous. The advent of globalization and the development of technology brought in an array of global Englishes that together with a diversity of teachers (native and non-native) with dissimilar professional and cultural backgrounds make the learning experience a remarkably enriching one. ELT equity is crucial for a more inclusive and empathic world.