How to prepare to teach English overseasWritten by esldave on January 14th, 2011
Teaching English overseas can be a rewarding and expanding experience. It’s true that TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) provides teachers with unique opportunities to sample life in different cultures and interact with people they would never have had a chance to meet back home. But it is equally true that a lack of preparation on the part of the teacher can create for a difficult situation in which expectations and realty fail to match. The best way to circumvent this unnecessary scenario is to come prepared.
When planning to teach English overseas, teachers need to ensure that they have the necessary qualifications. This can mean having a university degree, a TESL certificate, or an MA in TESL. For those who will be living at a distance to their university of choice, online education may be an option. Beyond certificates, adequate preparation for teaching English overseas includes a solid foundation in English grammar. Teachers need to be able to explain specifically why one sentence is correct and another incorrect.
Well-prepared teachers arrive on-site with their own teaching materials to supplement that which they’ll find at the local library – like a good grammar text and some eye-catching reading material, such as magazines. They also familiarize themselves with the local language to the extent that they can express language-teacher concepts, like “noun” or “adjective”.
By learning a little of the new language they will be immersed in, teachers also demonstrate a willingness to partake in the culture, which will help students warm to them. Some familiarity with the language prepares teachers for navigating in a foreign land. This will invariably help allay the inevitable effects of culture shock – which includes symptoms like depression, homesickness, and depression.
It may sound like a lot of hard work, but there is incredible hope to be had here, as solid preparation has the potential to yield favourable result. By zeroing in on which country they would prefer to be teaching in and by doing the necessary networking to connect with other teachers who have traveled similar paths, new recruits can find themselves well-prepared not only to teach English overseas, but to learn and thrive in their new community.