"> Stephanie Vogel | TEFL Certification

Stephanie Vogel

Stephanie Vogel is a die-hard Detroiter, born and raised. She got her BA from Michigan State University in Interdisciplinary Humanities and Anthropology but decided she wanted to go into forensic medicine after becoming fascinated with forensic anthropology.

Chasing a dream, Stephanie went to study pre-med at the University of Detroit-Mercy. Eventually, she ended up at Wayne State University’s School of Medicine where she completed the first two years before deciding that medicine was decidedly not for her.

Stephanie’s had what seems like a million jobs: she’s sold health insurance, done voice-over work for television commercials and books on tape, sang for bands, was a Jaegermeister girl (for 4 days – 4 days too long), worked at a bookstore, taught sex education, worked at an orphanage, was a student doctor at a homeless clinic and wrote ad campaigns for clients in Vietnam.

Stephanie also claims she was once a horrible waitress, though we doubt that because we have yet to find something she isn’t good at. Which is why we recruited her – because we knew she’d make a fantastic contribution to Teaching House.

How did you get into teaching English?

My brother met my sister-in-law while teaching in Japan for the JET program. She is British and had her Cambridge CELTA certification. When I dropped out of medical school and was trying to figure out what was next, she suggested I do the CELTA. She thought that I could use the CELTA to get paid to travel while I decided what to do when I grew up. That was a lot of years ago – the growing up just hasn’t happened!

Where have you traveled?

In 1990, I went on my first solo overseas adventure to Novosibirsk in the former Soviet Union and I haven’t stopped traveling since. I did overseas studies programs in Greece, Italy and Cambridge, UK. I’ve lived in Greece, Turkey, Germany and Vietnam. I’ve backpacked across Europe, traveled much of Asia and even made it to Egypt. It is my dream to go to Sub-Saharan Africa.

When did you realize English teaching had become your profession?

When I started referring to Saigon as “home” sometime into my second contract there.

How has travel changed you as a person?

Not sure, really. I’ve had wanderlust for so long, I don’t remember what I was like before. I love the quote from DH Lawrence, “A traveller in his own self-contained manner reveals far off countries present in himself.”

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

I did my CELTA in Istanbul and then the Young Learner Extension to CELTA and the Delta in Vietnam.

What led you to become a CELTA teacher trainer?

On the first day of my CELTA course, I wasn’t sure if I’d like teaching, but I was sure I wanted to be a CELTA trainer. What they were doing seemed like magic to me – and I wanted to be able to work that magic. When I was doing academic management, my favorite responsibilities involved professional development – helping teachers improve – so teacher training was a natural fit!

What advice would you give a trainee about to start their CELTA?

Don’t take it so seriously that you stop enjoying it. The friends you make on your course may be your friends for life – a constant source of networking and inspiration from around the globe. I’m still in touch with almost everyone I did my CELTA with, thanks to Facebook! Stay open and don’t resist. Don’t bother chasing grades – just try to do the best possible job for your students.

What advice would you give to people looking to travel the world teaching English?

When all is said and done, you’ll end up regretting the things you didn’t do, not the things you did do. Just go for it.