West Cork People Lifestyle feature

‘The best English is spoken in Ireland’ George Bernard Shaw once said and Barbara Connelly, Director of Atlantic School of English in Schull, West Cork, also thinks that Irish teachers of English language are amongst the most talented worldwide.

Learn to teach English at Schull’s Atlantic School of English

‘The best English is spoken in Ireland’ George Bernard Shaw once said and Barbara Connelly, Director of Atlantic School of English in Schull, West Cork, also thinks that Irish teachers of English language are amongst the most talented worldwide.Many Irish people are gifted speakers, intent listeners and love to travel. They are generally very curious about other cultures and lifestyles. When you add an internationally recognised English language teaching qualification to these innate abilities they become very employable teachers of English worldwide.

In spite of the global economic crisis, or perhaps even because of it, Connelly reports a greater than ever demand for successful graduates of their four week Trinity College London validated CertTESOL course. “We get calls and emails daily from schools all over the globe and Ireland too, who wish to offer work to our past graduates and current teachers in training. In fact we have a list of 148 vacancies presently available worldwide from employers hoping to recruit our English teachers. Atlantic School of English in Schull is fortunate to be the only school in Ireland approved by Trinity College London to run this highly reputable Certificate course.

Connelly made many of her contacts as a teacher of English and also a teacher trainer on the same Trinity CertTESOL course when she lived away from Ireland. She returned in 1997 and finally opened her own English language and teacher training centre in Schull (which she describes as ‘the perfect learning environment’) in 2000.


The CertTESOL course attracts aspiring English teachers from all over the globe — they first look for schools that host the course and are often delighted to find that they are not restricted to studying only in the UK. USA and Australian citizens in particular favour studying in Ireland and are always delighted with the chance to live and learn in such a beautiful location. Many local residents have also trained at Atlantic SEAL. Several have reported that it not only helped them to get a well paid job in a foreign country but also opened other doors for them in areas relating to teaching, team management and public speaking as it acts as valuable proof that they can deal well with all of these situations on a professional basis.


Grace Evans of Dunbeacon is a past graduate of the course and has never looked back since 2004 when she received her certification.

I have the privilege of being able to travel the world at my leisure doing the thing I love the most – teaching
Grace Evans, Dunbeacon


“Completing my TESOL certificate opened up a world of possibilities to me; quite literally. I don’t know if it was sipping a Belgium beer, bungee jumping in Queensland, riding a rickshaw in Calcutta or posing in front of the Sydney Opera House, when it hit me that I have the best passport in the world. Unlike many people I know, I haven’t had to leave places before I’m ready because of finances — regardless of where I am in the world someone always wants to learn English and people will always pay for that skill. I’ve had the privilege of meeting triple the number of people that the average person meets in their life. Finding a job has never been an issue since I did my TESOL certificate. I have not only met these people but I’ve been able to immerse myself in their cultures through living in different countries rather than passing through like the average tourist does every day.

Presently Grace is working in Melbourne Australia and has taught teenagers from China, Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Korea and Thailand who wish to attend High School there. In the six years since she began teaching English she has taught ages from 8-70 and nationalities from every corner of the world, in numerous locations in the world. Last year Grace was promoted to Director of Studies at the Melbourne Language school, and in spite of this very lucrative role, she hasn’t fully quenched her thirst for travel yet:

“There is so much of the world to see and I have so many more places I want to go. I have the privilege of being able to travel the world at my leisure doing the thing I love the most (teaching). There are few people who can hop on a plane without knowing the destination and being full sure there will be a job for you when you arrive. It’s not all about the job security either, don’t get me wrong. Having done the TESOL certificate meant I didn’t need to do any special courses to volunteer in India and has now given me the opportunity to achieve my dream of working in Africa in the future.”

For Grace, it was a Godsend to be able to get such an internationally reputable qualification so close to home: “Gaining the CertTESOL at Atlantic SEAL, just a few minutes drive from my home in West Cork, was a golden opportunity.” It has given me so many opportunities worldwide for which I’m so thankful. English is a fascinating language, which I have grown to love. I am rewarded everyday by the progress of present students, the updates from past students and the potential for future students.”

The CertTESOL is designed for those with little or no experience of teaching English. It provides the basic skills and knowledge needed to take up a first post as an ESOL teacher. The program also gives an introduction to theory and an insight into the challenges facing the learner and the role of the teacher. The qualification is awarded upon passing a course which includes supervised teaching practice and written assignments, and is accredited in the United Kingdom by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority at Level 4 on the UK National Qualifications Framework.

The CertTESOL is widely respected and recognised by language schools around the world.

Atlantic SEAL hosts the four-week Trinity College London validated CertTESOL course three times yearly in spring, summer and autumn.

Article originaly appeared in the West Cork People, March Edition. Download here

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