Teaching English

I don’t know what took me so long to decide that I wanted to become an English teacher. Many of my family members were educators and I’ve always loved studying foreign languages. I enjoy picking up new phrases and vocabulary when I travel and I’ve studied Japanese, French, Spanish and now Turkish. I’d always seen ESL teacher at the top of the list for jobs that allow you to work and travel or to live abroad. For some reason, it just took me years to actually pull the trigger.

In 2016, I got serious about the idea of learning how to become an ESL tutor. With the pound weakening post-Brexit, I thought the timing was right for taking my CELTA certification from Cambridge University. On a bit of a whim, I booked myself into the intensive 4-week course in Istanbul for the month of January.


Just some light bedtime reading after my first day at the CELTA course! And so it begins… 🤓📚

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Looking back, it was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! Though I’m still no expert, I would have truly had no idea how to teach English effectively without it. These days, you can find me teaching online on Verbling, which I really love! My students come from all over the world and in the space of a few hours it’s not unusual for me to chat with students from Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Italy and Brazil. Sometimes I even get students from right here in Istanbul – it’s just more convenient for us to meet “online” than to fight the infamous traffic jams to meet up in a corner of the city.

Thinking about getting your CELTA?

Do it! I highly recommend ITI-Istanbul, where I took my CELTA. The tutors and the facility are great and you will learn so much about yourself and your own teaching style. I think the 4 week intensive course is the way to go, personally. It’s a lot of work, but you will have a built in network of supportive peers and resources to help you in your job search once you finish.

My Favorite Resources for Educators

Are you a STUDENT trying to improve your English?

  • For help with your studies and speaking practice, you can find me on Verbling so we can work together on your English learning goals! I’m happy to help you gain confidence in speaking, to study for immigration or exams like IELTS and TOEIC, to learn practical phrases for business, travel, and of course food. (I’ve even got a whole course designed around learning English through talking about food!)
  • If you simply want to improve your conversation skills and don’t need structured lessons, try Cambly! This app connects you with native speakers so you can improve your fluency. You can find my current schedule on my Cambly profile if you’d like to make a reservation with me, or browse for any tutor who is available online! (Use the promo code ShoyuSugar or click here to get 20 minutes free to test Cambly out for yourself.)
  • Resources for ESL Students – A list of my favorite websites and apps to continue your studies in English and to get practice with grammar, vocabulary, listening and reading.