Jamal was born and raised in the greater Washington DC area. He attended the University of Central Florida where he got a Bachelor’s degree in political science. While attending university he volunteered as a teacher for recently immigrated children from Central America. That is where he developed his appreciation for teaching. After graduating, he traveled to Eastern Africa where he worked with various NGOs on sustainable development and peace-building. After a year, he enrolled at the School of International Service at American University to get his Master’s of Arts in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. He has worked with various organizations in the Washington DC area focusing on fields such as confliction resolution, international development, and peace education. With a strong desire to get back to the classroom, he attended the Teaching House center in Washington DC to get his CELTA. He enjoyed the Teaching House atmosphere so much he decided to join us!

Other than his love for teaching and international relations, Jamal likes photography, cinematography, music, museums, and comedy. He spends most of his time (outside of work) enjoying Washington DC’s culinary scene with friends and attending the plethora of cultural events around the city. Feel free to reach out to him for recommendations for different fun things to do around the city.

What motivated you to want to work for Teaching House?

Teaching House is amazing! I truly enjoy assisting people who are trying to expand their horizons and see the world. Additionally, it is amazing how the organization is able to provide people with a certificate to help achieve their goals while simultaneously helping people trying to better their lives by providing affordable English classes. Who doesn’t love a win-win situation?

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

I’ve been to five continents (North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia) and have swum in three oceans (Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans). I’m really proud of that swimming fact.  I’ve spent most of my time working abroad in Africa and the Middle East.

What do you enjoy about your job helping prospective CELTA trainees?

My favorite thing is meeting new people and learning their stories. A lot of people want to get their CELTA for many different reasons, and it always surprises me how many different types of people are brought together through their time here.

Since I have gone through the CELTA program before it is nice to help out people who are having a moment of difficulty by providing some support.

How has travel changed you as a person?

I’m trying very hard to avoid the numerous clichés. All I can say is that all of my travel experiences have deeply shaped my understanding of myself and the world around me. There is nothing more important than knowing oneself and I believe traveling is one of the best ways to get to know oneself.

What do you enjoy about working with and helping ESL students who come to take free classes with Teaching House?

Every center believes this, but our TP students are the best! Throughout my time here, I’ve met a plethora of amazing people. Many of our students have painfully interesting stories and they bring such joy to the center. Every course leads to new friendships and connections. I love witnessing it every course. Also, it is great to watch their English skills improve throughout time and finally feeling comfortable expressing their true selves (as if they were speaking their first language).     

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)?

Just listen to that inner-voice that is craving the experience. There is a reason you want to do even if it might not make the most sense. One thing I can guarantee is that you won’t regret it.