Break the Ice

Guilty Pleasure

I don’t know if this one really counts as a guilty pleasure, but I love to watch The Survivor (both the American and South African versions) and I’d like to think I could get pretty far in that game. I think Raedmund would disagree. I also love watching The American Bachelor. However, in this case I don’t think I’d get that far.

Dog or Cat person

Is there really such a thing? I think Jimmy Choo, Bijoux, Savannah, Pablo, Picasso and Juno (three French poodles and three street cats) would beg to differ.

Introduce yourself

My name is Delaine. Luckily, I’m a bit further from 30 than Raedmund. I’m from South Africa and I studied among the beautiful mountains and vineyards that our country has to offer. Other than teaching and travelling, I love sewing, cooking and beating Raedmund at Catan. He likes to say that my claim to fame is seeing every series available on Netflix.

How did you get into teaching

After a work and travel experience in the USA, I realised that I have a passion for helping others. This, together with my teaching experience from university, made me realise that TEFL teaching is the perfect option for me. That’s how I ended up teaching in Buenos Aires. Now, get to work with people from all over and honestly, I’m the one that’s learning.

Describe your teaching experience.

I have years of teaching experience and I have loved every minute of it. Teaching is no easy job – but it is very rewarding. Every one of my teaching endeavors has taught me many skills. With TEFL teaching, I’ve worked with people in corporate companies to 5-year old kids. Not a lot of other jobs offer this kind of range.
I started tutoring and helping other students with statistics during my university years. This required leading organised tutorial lessons for first year students. My English teaching experience started in Buenos Aires where I worked multiple jobs – both with groups and 1-on-1 classes. I had private students as well that introduced me to teaching kids a foreign language. The experience I gained in this vibrant city is invaluable. Later, I got into online teaching – mostly working with kids.
While in Buenos Aires, I also had the opportunity to help organise and host multiple language exchange evenings and even did a few Business language workshops with students in groups. Other than that, I was also involved in the organisation of a kids English camp.
After leaving Argentina, I started teaching online full time. Now, I teach kids, teens and adults across all levels. I’ve completed 1000s of lessons with loads of regular students from Brazil, Spain and Russia.

What’s the best thing about teaching?

The best thing about teaching is, of course – the students! The insights into the culture of my students from all over the world is something that’s very special to me. Instead of reading the news, you get to hear the news first hand. Which, as you can imagine, is very interesting (especially during the global pandemic in 2020).

What the worst thing about teaching?

Unfortunately, the highs always come with some lows. The low of ESL teaching is the time and effort it takes to be the best teacher you can be. It’s not about showing up to the class – it’s about showing up to the class with a detailed plan to meet the students’ needs. If you don’t see the progression you expect from your students – it can be disappointing. That’s why we started as we want to make it easier for all ESL teachers out there to make their classes productive and fun!

What advice would you give any aspiring ESL teachers?

My advice for aspiring ESL teachers would be to have confidence in your classes. How can you do that? With proper planning of course. You need to understand the needs of your students and take into account their interests too. Whether you’re working with adults or kids, your lessons need to be engaging. Ask yourself… should I be teaching this student specific terms about cooking if they have no interest in it? The answer is – probably not. Luckily, at you have many different topics across all levels to choose from so that you can have a lesson prepared for any student’s needs.
ESL Pals

How did you get involved with the project?

Honestly, we have 2020 and the pandemic to thank for our little brain child. Being stuck in the world’s longest and strictest lockdown will definitely get your creative juices flowing. It started with an increase in teaching, a decrease in engaging resources available and the need for a creative outlet.

What’s the best thing about working for ESL Pals?

The best thing about working for ESL Pals is reminding Raedmund that he is my employee… Only joking. Honestly speaking, the best part is creating a platform where teachers can find and share ideas. Also, I have a new party trick which is to whip out random general knowledge facts (all acquired from the interesting videos and articles we use for our lessons).

What does the future hold for ESL Pals?

Picturing ESL Pals 5 years down the line, I’d love to see a space where teachers can find and share interesting ideas to help each other in the classroom – be it for business, kids or general English. I’d also love to see my fellow teachers have more free time to spend with friends, family or traveling due to the lessons provided on the website.
Break the Ice

Fun Fact

In 2012 I ran 2 marathons in 1 week. I ran the Chester marathon, then the Liverpool marathon the week after… Yeah, I don’t know why either.

Dog or Cat person

Definitely a dog person. Just ask the two street dogs that Delaine and I adopted during quarantine in Peru! Well, we couldn’t adopt them but we fed them everyday. And, to be honest, they were pretty much our only friends in Peru for a while!

Introduce yourself

My name is Raedmund, yeah seriously. I’m too close to 30. I am from the UK. I went to university in Leeds and have a background in business. I worked at three different companies in Business Development before becoming a teacher. Outside of teaching my passions are travel, sports and languages.

How did you get into teaching

Many years ago, I gained an FA football coaching qualification, and began volunteering as a football coach in my local community. It was during my time coaching that I realised I wanted to work in a profession that works with and helps people – so teaching was the perfect path.
After researching different teaching options I decided TEFL was the best option for me. So, I obtained a TEFL qualification from a school in Manchester and began applying for jobs in Argentina. While still in the UK I arranged numerous interviews in Buenos Aires so that when I arrived in Argentina I pretty much started working straight away!

Describe your teaching experience

As mentioned above, I worked as a football coach which has many parallels with the teaching profession; including behaviour management and planning.
I have many years of experience as a TEFL teacher, teaching in various countries. My favourite experience was in Argentina where I had three jobs simultaneously. My main role was working at a English language school, this involved classroom lessons and going to businesses around the city to teach students at their offices. At this language school I taught adult learners across all levels, teaching group and individual classes. I also had private students which I obtained from different networking events around the city. These students varied from adults to children, across all ages and levels. And finally, I worked for an online company giving classes to people all over the world. These classes were predominantly 1-to-1 and focussed on improving a student’s speaking skills.
Due to the pandemic, I am currently working as an online tutor. From March – October I completed over 1200 lessons. My vast experience has enabled me to understand what teachers need in order to be effective. We have taken these learnings and incorporated them into our lesson plans at

What’s the best thing about teaching?

It’s simple – the students! Through teaching I have met many interesting characters all of which have shared their story and unique perspective on life. Meeting and connecting with students throughout an academic year enables me to learn just as much as them… probably more!

What the worst thing about teaching?

I can honestly say that I love teaching and have had many great experiences, but like all professions – there are downsides. For me, the main negative is the amount of time it takes to plan a quality lesson. And from speaking to other ESL teachers this seems to be shared wisdom. That is why we created – we wanted to create lessons to help other teachers cut down on their planning time so they can concentrate on teaching.

What advice would you give any aspiring ESL teachers?

Obviously, you need to sign up to ESL Pals!
But on a serious note, my advice does link to ESL Pals and to my previous answer about planning – you need to plan your time and lessons effectively!
If you turn up to class without a plan your students will know and in the long run, they really won’t be benefiting from your lessons because all students need structure. That is why I advise finding a reliable source of quality ESL teaching material so you don’t get swamped with planning and stress!
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