English language teacher Ben Gwillim is a former British serviceman with military experience from around the world, currently based in Slovakia. He has been working for THE BRIDGE for sixteen months.
I guess it was just serendipity. Newly qualified, I was looking for a teaching job, the Bridge was looking for teachers and the internet arranged a date between us. Sixteen months on, the relationship is still going strong.
Living and teaching in Slovakia has been extremely rewarding. I have been able to practice my skills in a variety of contexts and have made more progress under the guidance of the Bridge than I would have thought possible.
For any newly qualified English language teacher, abroad is where you have to go! I wish I had taken up teaching earlier!
The Bridge has both allowed and encouraged me to develop as a teacher. I always know that I can get advice if I need it and as teachers we are trusted to get on with our teaching without micro-management.
I also really like the variety of students and building great working relationships with them has been very satisfying and productive. Free tea is also a real bonus for an English guy.
As a former British serviceman I have worked overseas many times, sometimes under difficult circumstances. I would have to say Sierra Leone was one of the more challenging countries to work in but the people there were amazing despite their problems.
I think most of the native English speakers here are really taken by the Slovak people. I have found them friendly and welcoming – but maybe they are just taking the chance to practice their English 🙂