Teaching English abroad is not for everyone. Find out if it's the ideal choice for you or not by clicking! #teacherlife #teaching #tefl #teachenglish #english ***** Teach English abroad | Teach English online | Teach English to kids | Teach English as a second language | Teach abroad | Make money online

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.

Students with Attitude www.taylorstracks.com
He did not like me that class.

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.

Students Playing Games www.taylorstrakcs.com
I did get to play lot’s of games! The school I worked at encouraged learning through games a lot.

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!

Taylors Tracks Sidebar TEFL Discount www.taylorstracks.com

Other posts on teaching English abroad:

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  1. This is such a great post. I am in the middle of writing something similar and I couldn’t stop nodding to what you are saying. Teaching English is not for the faint hearted and it’s certainly not the best option if you’re only doing it to “travel”. Well said.
    Laura | eternal-expat.com

    • Thanks Laura! Awesome to hear that you’re writing something similar too. I think it’s a message that needs to get out because so many people who really shouldn’t be teachers are trying to because they see it as an easy way for travel or money.

  2. RunawayBrit Reply

    Great tips. I think too many people underestimate the importance of teaching overseas. I would add that in order to teach English overseas you ought to have an acceptable level of English proficiency yourself. I have been teaching English overseas since 2007 (predominantly in those fancy all-expenses-paid schools you mentioned!), and I am often shocked by the poor spoken English of TEFL teachers. Surely, we have a responsibility to teach our students correct English?!

    • I agree, and am very surprised with how little English some of them speak too. Surely, you must be fluent to teach a language!

  3. Interesting comments about not teaching English abroad if you don’t know what to do with your life. Isn’t determining what you *don’t* want to do just as important as determining what you *do* want to do? Why not learn it early.

    • It definitely is however, I don’t think teaching English is not something to try to figure that out. Sure, not everyone is going to love it but it’s not something to do just to figure out what you want to do because it’s peoples education.

  4. Hi there, thanks for your article. I wish I had read it a few months ago! I am currently teaching abroad in Thailand (for about 2 months now) and definitely underestimated how tough it would be. At what point when you were teaching did you realize it was time to quit? I still have about 4 months to go in the semester and am not sure if I can last that long. I have been hoping things will get better but I just don’t think teaching is for me. Thanks for any advice 🙂

    • Hi Anna! It’s a tough call. I gave myself 3 months and it kept getting worse for me. Even my trip to Phuket didn’t help and once I was back in Phitsanulok I realized how much I disliked. Perhaps try moving yourself away from the situation, day a weekend trip or something if you can just to get your mind off of things, you’ll most likely see things way clearer when you come back. For me I realized it was time to quit when I told myself I was doing more harm to myself than good. Why would I put myself through something when I was miserable? It’s hard, you gotta dig deep but there is nothing wrong with admitting defeat and deciding that something isn’t for you. But at the same time would you feel really good pushing through and finishing? Or are there things you can do to help you get through it? Perhaps a really awesome group of friends or the opportunity to see a lot.

      Hope that helps!

      • I can understand teaching in Asia can be tough. Some schools environment in Asia can also be extremely harsh and brutal. And I did find out that much as we may like teaching, some schools can be extremely unprofessional in their treatment of teachers; and can be extremely unfair and discouraging for us who are newbie and who wish to pursue a career in teaching English in Asia. Therefore, one just have to tread with care to weed out places that are just trying to exploit us or find fault with us for no valid reason. I also found out often times, they pay pittance and would get rid of us even when it was the students who were the troublemakers or were simply not interested in learning English. It is a brutal environment in Asia. They do tend to prey on us inexperienced teachers who are not familiar with their brutal Asian culture.

  5. All very true points. I wouldn’t say that if you read something on this article and think ‘oh man, but I like money! maybe i shouldn’t follow this path after all’ that her point really wasn’t to second-guess those that are building momentum towards the teaching ESL path. Her point is to deliver a reality check. And this a very good reality check – nothing she said was bogus or over-exaggerated.

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