Teaching English abroad is all the hype right now, and for good reason. It opens you up to the world, puts you smack in the middle of a new culture, and helps you develop more confidence as an individual. I, along with many others, also recommend to teach English abroad as a way to help fund your travels. But I didn’t write this to tell you why you should teach English abroad. This is to explain why you shouldn’t teach English abroad.
I’m here to tell you the real, raw, and honest truth about teaching English abroad. It’s not for everyone. And don’t think for a second that just because you have a TEFL, TESL, or TESOL certificate that you’ll be a great teacher. Sorry to be blunt, but this is the reality. Teaching English abroad is not an easy job, it doesn’t always pay the best (but can pay the bills), it’s not just to do for fun and getting a job teaching English is always easier than finding one at home.
To teach English abroad you need to be committed, you need to work hard, and you need to realize that you’re there not just for yourself, but for the students, and to help the country develop their English skills as well. You will be a walking ambassador for your country since many people in the countries you may be living in will have plenty of people who can’t afford to travel like you. All they have to see is what’s on TV and you.
Don’t be like me and pull out from your contract three months in. It was a tough choice, and I’ll be the first to admit that I shouldn’t have done it. It gets complicated but it was a decision I still stand behind.
If you want to teach English abroad then you need to continue reading and re-analyze if teaching is for you.
You Should Teach English Abroad if…
You Do Not Like Kids
Don’t fret on this one though. Not every teaching position will be children, but it is certainly the most common. You may have to look a little harder to find positions teaching adults and it can be completely worth it because they can be so much fun to teach! Also keep in mind that you may teach multiple ages, depending on the school. And for some of the kids that you’re dealing with you’ll want to like kids because they can be a bit of a handful.
You Have to Ask Someone to Help Fund Your “Dream”
If teaching English abroad is your dream then find a way to make it work. If you have to create a page on a crowdfunding site just so you can afford to get there then don’t teach. Simple. You’re going to be a teacher, you’re going to be a leader, if you can’t find a way to create your own dreams how are you going to be able to teach students to be able to do the same?
You Think It’s Going to be Easy
Teaching English is not easy. Teaching anything is not easy. Being a teacher is tough work, so if you’re researching teaching thinking that you’ll have a ton of free time and that work will be a piece of cake then you are mistaken. Creating lesson plans is tough work, but it will get easier. Free time varies depending where you work, but know that your time to prepare is not counted towards your classroom time. Teaching English is like any other job, but probably tougher. You’re creating plans, marking papers, managing people (kids can be difficult), public speaking, and have to be a positive influence constantly.
You Are Not Open-Minded
Remember that you will be moving to a new country where you may or may not agree with certain things that go on in a culture. You are on individual, you will not be able to change anything if you disagree. You need to be open to new religions, cultures, food, people, ways of driving, everything. The more open-minded you are, the more you ask about where you are, why people do things, and what you’re eating, the better your experience will be. But if you don’t care to know about these things then I’d scratch teaching abroad off your bucket list.
You Are Only Doing it to Fund Your Travels
The people who teach English abroad and say that they do it to fund their travels are not just doing it to fund their travels. They’re doing it so they can explore the region around where they teach, to help the world learn English, and to open themselves up to new challenges. It is not a side project or a hobby. They take it on as a career for the time being, then they travel. They may continue teaching, they may come back to it, or they may never do it again, but they are most certainly not teaching just to save some extra cash. You have to be able to enjoy it, otherwise your students will know exactly how much you hate it.
You Think You Are Above Everyone Else
If you think for a second that you are better than the people where you are going because you are more educated, have better looks, have more money, then please do not even consider teaching English abroad. Just no. You can not be a positive influence and teacher if you think like that.
You Want to Make Money
Teaching does not pay amazingly well, unless you land a job in Dubai and have all expenses paid for…good luck getting that though. That requires a few years of experience minimum.
You Don’t Know What to Do With Your Life
This is not the job to get if you’re confused, don’t know what you want to do, or taking a gap year. Teaching is a hard skill, it’s not meant for you if you’rewishy-washyy about your life. Often times you need a degree to get even get a job, so don’t consider it if you’ve just come out of high school. If somewhere offers you to help you find a job without a degree then it may be illegal. Look carefully and do your research.
If you’ve read through this list and think, yeah, teaching English abroad is still for me! Then good on you, and I’m happy that you have enough interest to help teach the most used language in the world.
Or if you find yourself slightly doubting your decision then teaching may not be for you. Like I said before, it’s tough, it’s hard work, and it’s not for everyone.
If this scared you then teaching is probably not up your alley and that’s okay. There are plenty of other ways to make money abroad, other things you can do to have a soul-searching adventure and to learn about cultures. Don’t feel bad.
And if you’re ready to get started then I’ve got good news for you. I recommend my favourite teaching certification company, and I give you a discount. Sign up here, or bookmark it for when you’re ready!
Other posts on teaching English abroad:
- Before You Teach English Abroad, Ask Yourself These 10 Questions
- 3 Ways Teaching English Abroad Will Change You
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