Lauren Harrington

Lauren Harrington started teaching English in 1999 in an English language immersion program for children in Transylvania, Romania. Throughout her six years there, she created and implemented curriculum and designed and directed an after-school “English through the Arts” program. She also directed an English-language immersion summer camp for children, training staff and coordinating learning programs for children ages 5-12. Upon returning to the US in 2006, she began working at EF International Language School in Boston where she took on various roles as teacher and trainer. She has taught adults from beginners to advanced and has also taught a number of exam preparatory classes including the Cambridge Main Suite Exams (FCE, CAE, CPE), TOEFL and TOEIC. In 2007 she took on the role of Staff Learning Systems trainer, training teachers to blend the use of the course books, online language-learning tools, and an iPad application. Over the course of six years, she carried out observations of teachers using these tools and implemented a peer observation program. In 2010 she became the TESOL program coordinator, creating and implementing a teacher training program for pre-service international English teachers. Her role included preparing students for the Cambridge TKT exam, observations of live classes and the monitoring of their work portfolio. Throughout her nearly 8 years at EF, she created 10 full-length multi-skill English lessons that were published internally and attended yearly learning system trainings both in and outside the US. In 2011, seeking further professional development, Lauren began the Cambridge Delta, receiving a Pass in Modules 1, 2, and 3.  Additionally, she has conducted teacher training workshops in Germany (2007), Taiwan (2010), South Korea (2010) and Brazil (2013 and 2014).

 

How did you get into teaching English?

 

I have a BA in Art and a BA in English. I thought I might become a writer and/ or write and illustrate children’s books. While in college, I started working at the Writing Center and had the opportunity my first international student. I realized that her needs were different than native speakers’ writing needs—and a love for working with non-native speakers was born.

 

After graduation, I accepted a teaching position in Romania in a preschool/ kindergarten. I had only intended on staying a year—but one turned into six. I returned to the States absolutely in love with teaching. I no longer saw it as my job but as my career.

 

Where have you traveled (both for teaching and for fun)?

 

I lived and worked in Transylvania, Romania for six years. While there I travel in Europe (Paris, Vienna, Zurich, Prague, and Budapest)

 

I worked with my previous company’s marketing team as a guest teacher at high schools throughout Germany for 5 weeks.  I have conducted teacher trainings in Taiwan, Korea, and Brazil.

 

I lived in Brazil and worked as a teacher trainer there. I have also been to the Bahamas, The Dominican Republic, the Cayman Islands, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.

 

When did you realize English teaching had become a career for you (not just a means of travel)?

 

I realized that teaching was a career when I returned to the States and accepted a temp job as a receptionist but couldn’t stop daydreaming about the classroom. Three months later, I started working at a language school in Boston.

 

How has travel changed you as a person?

 

My mind used to always race forward to the next thing I had to do but now, I try to be more present. I have learned to appreciate now a lot more. I have met so many amazing people who have become part of my life temporarily and had so say goodbye so many times that I now appreciate that these times don’t last forever. I will always have a list of places I want to see but I do not want my daydreaming about the future to make me miss what is right here.

 

What qualifications did you get to advance your career in TEFL?

 

I have an undergrad in English from Atlantic Union College (South Lancaster, Massachusetts), a certification in blended learning (teaching with technology) and I my DELTA (through TH NY)

 

What led you to become a CELTA teacher trainer?

 

I began working as a part-time trainer (part-time classroom teacher) in 2007 at my previous company training staff to use the blended learning curriculum. In 2010, I created and implemented a TESOL program for pre-service international English teachers based on the Cambridge TKT exam.

 

I got my DELTA in order to become a full-time trainer. I knew I loved training teachers and I wanted to do so at the standard that Cambridge promotes.

 

 

Considering how much more you know now about teaching than you did when you did your CELTA course, what advice would you give a trainee about to start their CELTA?

 

I wish I had had my CELTA before I went to Romania. It would have made the teaching experience I got there (6 years of it!) much more meaningful. It turns out  I could have avoided a lot of the frustrating situations I encountered in the classroom by staging my lessons differently, contextualizing the language better, and narrowing down the scope of my language lessons.

 

What led you to [seek a position at] Teaching House?

 

I had a really great experience doing my Delta through THNY. Lizzy was my tutor and she was also a great example to me of who I wanted to be as a trainer. We kept in touch after I completed my Delta and when she said to let her know if I would ever be interested in training up as a CELTA trainer, I took her up on it.

 

What advice would you give to people looking to travel the world teaching English if they’ve never traveled abroad before (and might be feeling a little nervous about making the leap)?

 

Of course you’re nervous—you’ve never been there before. But don’t sit around waiting for your wings to grow. Take the leap—that’s when you’ll get your wings.

Talk to people who have lived there, look at pictures, get a map (Google Maps street view is awesome). Do not let the unfamiliarity of a place hold you back from going there. A place is only unfamiliar at first. I miss the familiarity of Romania every day—the streets, the bakeries, the guy selling roasted chestnuts on the street corner.