Teaching English: How to Explore the World
In a world that values English in so many ways, teaching English abroad is the gateway to the world.
05:37 20 September 2021
English remains one of the most sought-after skills, globally. It is in high demand with companies working internationally requiring a language middle-ground; it is the language of the internet, with new words surfacing from our scrolling on social media, or existing ones being redefined in an online context. Moreover, it is trendy. Hollywood dominates our screens and cinemas.
Whilst a backpacking holiday and living on a shoestring budget has a certain dirt-bag charm, it can also wear thin after a while. What better way to truly immerse yourself in a country’s culture than to live in it? In a world that values English in so many ways, teaching English abroad is the gateway to doing just that.
The first step is completing your qualification, with lots of choices of courses to suit you to be found on YouthTime. For many, teaching English is their first-ever role in the teaching world. Like all fields of teaching, it takes a while to gain your confidence in a classroom, so it is important to allow yourself the time to become familiar with the various approaches to teaching English and to find your feet in your preferred method. Teachers never stop learning. Teachers make mistakes from time to time. Teachers will continue to adapt their teaching styles throughout their careers because, despite our roles as guides through our language, we too will continually gain insight from our students. Find out more about 4 awesome career choices.
Once you are feeling sufficiently prepared, the next step is more like a dip of your toe before you jump in the deep end of teaching English abroad. For those that are fortunate enough to reside in Europe, this is considerably easier to do. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of internships at language schools across Europe that allow you to put all the work you have done to get to this point to practice. More often than not, your qualification provider can point you in the right direction to find an internship that suits you. For those based in the US or Australia or elsewhere, ESL centres across your very own country also provide language-learning to non-native speakers and these can provide the perfect opportunity to finesse your skills before heading off, further afield, on your next teaching adventure.
Go old school
So, you have gained some experience locally, or maybe an hour flight away from home. Your wanderlust is still not 100% satisfied but teaching has become second nature to you. Thankfully, that does not have to be the end of your journey. In fact, you are now a qualified, experienced teacher which makes you a competitive candidate in the ESL world. The ESL world is now your oyster - all you need is the plane fare (unless you are lucky enough to bag a teaching job with flight fare included as a work perk, which very much does exist). All you must decide is: where to?
If you are not averse to teaching children and teenagers, private international schools in the UAE are always on the look-out for ESL teachers, year-round. With the lure of a competitive salary, approximately 9,000-15,000 AED a month, and health insurance cover, this is both an exciting and smart option for those looking to get out of their comfort zones, laced with a good amount of stability. Alternatively, if Asia is more up your street you can also find similar opportunities in schools to teach English in Korea, China, or even in Japan, and also here is an excellent article to teach English in Japan that can help you to gain more knowledge on how to become an English teacher in this country. The only catch with all these positions is that they require a degree, though not necessarily in the field of teaching
Once you have been on the teaching circuit for a while, you will have crossed paths with countless other teachers, chasing the same desire for travel and for simply knowing more about the world. No doubt, they will have travelled and worked in places you have yet to set foot in- yet. Much in the same way that your students will influence your teaching, fellow teachers will inspire your next teaching experience. And they will do that, not only with words of encouragement but often with tips on what schools you can teach in other countries and information on who to get in touch with about getting the ball rolling. We may live in a world of technology and online communication, where you can get benefits in online learning, but nothing beats old-fashioned word of mouth. More so, because if they are talking to you about it, it left a lasting impression that felt noteworthy enough to pass on to others working in the ESL field.
Networking is also the perfect way to step out of the structured environment of a school and start paving your own teaching path as a freelancer. This step usually follows the longer period of country-hopping to taste and test different teaching environments. Eventually, many ESL teachers will find the allure of knowing-someone-who-knows-someone too tempting to not take a beat in one place for a while; to be able to reap the advantages of work opportunities arising from having been around long enough to now have a reputation as the teacher to go-to when it comes to learning English.
As travellers by nature, ESL teachers are prone to getting itchy feet occasionally. If you have now found yourself settled for an undetermined period of time, there is no need to accept that your ESL journey has reached its final stop. Most schools, private and public, have exceptionally quiet summers and so ESL teachers have two options: to travel some more or to travel some more with a dash of work for a few weeks, for an extra cash-injection in the summer. And guess what that can then be spent on?
Summer camps can be a great way to step back from the intensity of an academic year of lesson planning and teaching to instead re-discover how exciting learning how to express yourself in another language can be. You can travel to new destinations to assist in language learning in a new environment, which is typically low-pressure and more immersive for all those involved (and hopefully a little sunnier too). The point of many summer camps is for those attending to get a break from the world of target-orientated learning goals and homework, and more importantly to have fun! Whilst there are still structured activities, it is with the backdrop of the mountains or a seaside town instead of a whiteboard.
And so, as you sit and contemplate how to sustain a lifestyle that will allow you to see as much of the world as possible, teaching English abroad will always present itself as an opportunity like no other. By obtaining your TEFL certification, you make an even bolder decision: to contribute to the societies you become a part of during your travels; to help them learn a valuable skill as you learn about the world through their eyes. The TEFL Org are the ones who will get you started, but everything else that follows is in the hands of those who have chosen you as their guide through the English language because, ultimately, it is the need to communicate which will carry you across the globe.