Eric Dunn

Eric was born in Los Angeles, California and mostly raised in Utah. For his undergraduate career, he went to the University of Utah where he studied a variety of different subjects relating to language, politics, and international relations. He ended up getting a major in political science with minors in spanish, middle eastern studies, and international relations. During a study abroad in Spain, Eric started giving private English lessons in order to make a living. Before teaching English in Spain, Eric did various jobs such as working at car washes, restaurants, computer labs, and even at swimming pools as a lifeguard. Most of the jobs were part-time complements to his full-time studying schedule.

Outside of language teaching, he is passionate about nutrition, fitness, nature, religion, language, and culture. He likes to be active and enjoys a variety of different activities – especially outdoors ones – such as: scuba diving, hiking, and traveling. One of his biggest enjoyments is traveling, which allows him to discover and explore this great wide world we live in and all of its history, culture, landscape, and language. Eric loves learning foreign languages: currently, he speaks English, Spanish, and Arabic fluently; additionally, he speaks a little bit of Portuguese, Italian, French, and Swahili. Furthermore, he loves to seek out all of the most spectacular wonders each country has to offer –such as miraculous architectural structures or breath-taking natural features. Some of the highlights that he has seen: Petra in Jordan, la Alhambra in Spain, and the tallest waterfall on Earth in Venezuela. He has been lucky enough to travel to over 30 or so countries in his 30-odd years of life.

How did you get into teaching English?

Teaching private lessons while doing a study abroad in Spain. Specifically, in the city of Granada in the south of Spain.

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

I have had the opportunities to travel, work and live in many countries: especially countries in the Middle East and South America. Some of the most memorable places I’ve been to: the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Thailand, Argentina, Zanzibar, Tanzania, and Spain.

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

I realized that teaching had become a career for me while doing my first TESOL certification. During the process, although quite intensive, I had a lot of fun learning about the art of teaching language. Since then, I have been doing nothing else other than it.

How has travel changed you as a person?

Traveling puts everything in perspective. While traveling, not only do you get to learn about a different country, language, and culture; you also get to learn about your very own. Most learners of a foreign language take a moment where they stop and compare their own language with the new foreign one, and reflect: “Oh, I never realized that is how my native language works.” Likewise – through traveling - I learned about my own culture and country of origin in a deeper sense by broadening my perspective of what defines humanity as a whole. It’s quite a profound experience. 

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

After getting an initial TESOL certification and a few years of full-time work experience, I wanted to challenge myself by going for the Diploma of English Language Teaching (DELTA) offered by Cambridge University. Though quite challenging, it was by far the most enriching experience in terms of developing my skills as a TEFL instructor. Afterward, I successfully completed a master’s degree in World Languages, a degree focusing on language teaching pedagogy. 

What led you to become a CELTA teacher trainer?

After receiving the DELTA certification, I immediately wanted to start a career in teacher training because it was the next logical step of progression for me to professionally develop in the TEFL field. One great thing about teaching is that you never really cease to be the student yourself, for example, when you teach English your knowledge of the English language improves; likewise, when you teach how to teach, you improve your own teaching ability.

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 would advise them to be open to suggestions and feedback because the only way to improve is to reflect, listen, and then to develop. Openness of feedback moves you forward; rejection of it moves you nowhere.

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

I was led to Teaching House by the recommendation of my DELTA module II tutor.

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)?

Don’t hesitate! You are not going to regret it so long as you prepare, do a little homework, and realize well the situation that you are going to be putting yourself in. One great way to prepare for a trip abroad is to get the CELTA, which is the most recognized teaching certification in the world; that way you can get a reliable job in a trustworthy institution. Also, remember to seek advise from those who have gone through the process before – for example, English language instructors – especially in terms of the practicalities relating to things like getting visas. You can also search online for teacher recommendations (or non-recommendations) of particular countries or work places.