Ruda-Peachey Education Ltd

MY CONTRIBUTION: A sneak peek at
More Than a Gap Year Adventure by Martin Hajek

When I was asked to write a piece for Martin Hajeks book alongside other ELT professionals, I was delighted. Was I flattered to be one of the chosen ones? OF COURSE! However, what filled me with pride was the opportunity to contribute to a project that could have a significant impact on the lives of many TEFLers who are just starting out.


With this book, the message that Martin wants to send out is loud, clear, and unfiltered: you can make a career in ELT if you are aware of the good, the bad, and the ugly of the industry and if you have some idea on how to deal with it all.

Without further ado, and without too many spoilers, let’s see what this publication is about.


The aim of this book

The purpose of this publication is to serve as a guide for those who are newly qualified (or planning to become) TEFL teachers. While there's no magic formula to ensure success in this industry, this book is jam-packed with practical advice that can help you better navigate and explore the ELT world.


More specifically, the book focuses on career development in teaching English, particularly in the context of TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and ELT (English Language Teaching). Martin addresses common abbreviations in the field, such as TEFL and ESL (English as a Second Language), and suggests using TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and ELT as more encompassing terms. Furthermore, he shares his personal experience of transitioning into teaching and explains that various paths can lead to English teaching.


What to expect from this book

Unapologetically, the book highlights challenges within the for-profit nature of the ELT industry and addresses criticisms faced by English teachers abroad. However, Martin argues that teaching English abroad can be a meaningful career, going beyond a gap year adventure, and provides practical tips for job hunting and professional development. The book includes guest contributions from ELT professionals, showcasing diverse career paths within the field.


The author invites readers from various stages of their teaching careers to find valuable insights in the book, including those considering TEFL, new teachers seeking professional development, and experienced professionals looking for inspiration. The inclusion of essays from professionals offers honest and genuine real-life examples across the various paths within ELT. The book is self-published, and the author encourages readers to recommend it to others to support its visibility.


Here are some of the issues discussed in this book:

  • Complexities in obtaining work visas in different countries
  • Discrimination towards non-white teachers or those with 'foreign-sounding' names
  • Low salaries in saturated markets
  • Long and irregular working hours of English teachers
  • Lack of professionalism and its negative effect on education
  • Employers who lack knowledge about teaching and neglect the academic side of education
  • Absence of clear career progression 
  • Challenges after returning home from a year teaching abroad


Martin presents a balanced perspective on the TEFL profession, acknowledging its challenges while also highlighting the positive aspects:


  • Rewarding and fulfilling personal and professional experiences through teaching English abroad
  • Connecting with students, colleagues, and people in the local community
  • Learning from a global ELT community
  • Exploring a new country and experiencing a different culture to quench your thirst for adventure
  • Growing professionally through advanced qualifications that can turn your dream career into a reality
  • Learning transferable skills that can be valuable to other fields, should you decide that TEFL isn’t for you.


From this list you can see there’s already a lot of useful information, but Martin doesn’t stop there. He goes further, offering tips on how to get your first TEFL job, warning about what hurdles to expect when living and working abroad, suggesting how to develop as an ELT professional and how to take development into your own hands. Last but not least, he guides you through the career options that are available in the ELT world.


Contributions from ELT professionals


This section of the book truly is the cherry on the cake and what makes it stand out. Martin has sought out some seasoned ELT professionals (including me!) and asked them to talk about their personal experience regarding a specific topic within ELT.


These essays, as Martin calls them, are uncensored and uncut, and come from the heart of those who live, eat, and breathe ELT. 


Would you like to check it out for yourself? Here’s ‘My Experience with Writing for ELT Magazines’, from More than a Gap Year Adventure, by Martin Hajek.


The book will be available in paperback, various ebook formats, and PDF from 14th February 2024 - just in time to celebrate your love for teaching English!