Linda is a BridgeTEFL graduate from Boston, Massachusetts, who is currently teaching English online. Linda also works as a Career Counselor for a small non-profit organization based at Boston Medical Center, the largest safety net hospital in New England. Linda provides career services to refugees and asylum seekers from countries experiencing political unrest or long-term economic insecurity. Some of these countries include Uganda, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Somalia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Sudan and the Syrian Arab Republic.
We asked Linda some questions about her unique teaching positions.
What made you decide to teach English online?
I’ve always enjoyed traveling and meeting people from different countries. Also, I was looking for a way to combine my interests in Adult Career Development and International Education. By teaching English online I help many clients improve their language fluency and, as a result, gain access to new career opportunities. Since English is the global language for communication in Business, Industry, and Science, being fluent in English is a valuable skill.
How did you find your job teaching online?
During the winter of 2015, I responded to a job posting seeking online English teachers. I completed the “on-boarding” process, which included completion of the BridgeTEFL 40-hour TEFLOnline.com course.
How does teaching online work? Do you use video? Skype?
I teach using my employer’s online teaching platform. It has functionality for audio and/or video. Sometimes I use Skype if it is the student’s preferred format.
What are some of the things you like best about teaching online?
I like the flexibility of setting my own schedule to accommodate a variety of work. Also, I really enjoy “making a difference” in my students’ lives. Finally, using sophisticated educational technology provides an interesting contrast to the “low tech, human facing” work I do with my refugee clients.
You also have another job working with refugees and asylum seekers as a career counselor. Can you tell us a bit about that job?
I work for the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights (BCRHHR) at Boston Medical Center in Boston, MA. We’ve learned through our research that career counseling assists our clients with healing and improves the quality of their life.
For example, when a client develops his or her resume with a counselor, it is a very empowering experience. It reminds the client that they have been successful in their native country. It gives them hope for the future! Fifty percent of our clients have post-secondary education. Some of our career services include resume development, job search, interview preparation, and job readiness training.
In what ways have you found an overlap in between the two positions?
Being a fluent English speaker is very important to compete for “good” jobs in the US economy. Whether I meet clients in the online classroom, or at the refugee health center, I realize that being able to speak, read, write, and listen in English fluently promotes successful participation in the US economy and culture.