Teaching English first attracted me because I wanted to experience new cultures whilst developing skills I could take with me to my next destination. Also, I love working with people in a capacity that helps develop their learning. Teacher’s do this. They do a lot of things actually, and although there are evenings when I’m left exhausted from my day, it’s worth it, because people appreciate being helped, and I enjoy building relationships through my work.
Where did it begin? Well, I was bored. There’s no breakup, loss of a job or personal issue story here, and although these are (in my opinion) more than valid reasons to take up a new challenge, they weren’t mine. I simply didn’t enjoy having too much routine in my twenties. Teaching English offered me an opportunity to earn money whilst living abroad, which was perfect for my needs at the time. I figured living in a new culture for six months or more would be a great way to learn about a country, and after doing some research online, found that TEFL Org had a ton of excellent courses for would be teachers.
There’s a lot of information on the web about teaching, and yes, it can be confusing to slog through, borderline annoying actually. My advice would be to use established websites and email reputable companies for tips on where to apply. 95 percent of my employers have been like family, but there’s always the odd, odd uncle out there, the one you hear about but never see. Solid research should eliminate the pesky 5 percent of distant relatives yet invited for Sunday lunch. I of course mean schools or institutes that are badly run (gulp).
Let’s go back to the beginning. I booked a weekend TEFL course online. I wanted to get involved with veteran teachers who know exactly what they’re doing, and didn’t fancy putting up the money for a CELTA as I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about being a teacher. The weekend course (20 hours of practical learning based in central locations all over the UK) seemed the right choice for me. I wasn’t alone either, there were people from all walks of life at the centre, which was great because none of us had experience teaching, but all wanted to try. Led by experienced professionals doing it for real, you are taken through a variety of tasks: classroom management, lesson planning, role plays, games, drills, activities, and given honest insight into life as a teacher first hand.
I really enjoyed the weekend course, so did two, and once completed used the TEFL Org website to hunt out teaching positions. My first job was in South Korea, a great experience, and although daunting at first the confidence I gained has helped me so much in life.
Once finished my contract in Seoul I returned to the UK to study a Masters, but had a few months free before the programme began, so taught at summer schools across the UK. They provided housing and meals, free ones people, oh, and pay, naturally.
Fast forward a couple of years and I’m now writing to you from Buenos Aires, where I currently live and teach and scribble and drink way too much coffee. I’m working both privately and for an institute. When I head back to Europe in the next couple of weeks I’ll look to teach there, maybe Eastern Europe, I miss that part of the world.
With a little common sense and some thorough research (use established websites to job hunt etc) you’ll find stable work teaching in destinations far away from your current one. If looking to work in the UK there’s that option also, either way, teaching gives you motion and freedom to explore. But, is it for everyone? No, in my opinion, teaching is not for all. It’s for open-minded, flexible people who desire a little adventure, and have a genuine interest in other human beings.
If you’re one of those types of saucy souls then it might just be for you, happy hunting.