Make the most of your
Written by esldave on December 16th, 2010
teaching English as a foreign language
Deciding to teach English abroad is a big step, and for many a scary one. Fearing the unknown is quite normal but need not paralyze us, this could likely be the most exciting time of your life. But for this to happen it requires some forethought and preparation.
Here are some things to consider before putting you TEFL or CELTA to work for you:
1- Don’t end up spending most of your time with other native English speakers!
Birds of a feather flock together is true and comfortable but not likely to lead to truly rewarding cultural experiences in the places you visit and teach. Although some hanging out with fellow teachers is fine it’s easy to end up isolated from those you are there to teach and to meet.
2- Put on your tourist hat
See all that you can see, show the kind of enthusiasm to learn and experience your new environment that you would like to see in your students towards learning English. You gain respect and invitations to things most tourists may never see once your genuine desire to be part of rather than an interloper.
Note: Don’t be afraid to try new foods!
3- Speaking of trying new things…
Discover everything you can and sign up for lots of stuff. Explore the local music, dance and exercise enjoyed by the locals. Maybe learn some of the language which can give you an empathic insight to what your students are experiencing and you can bridge the gap between you and the students.
4- Life is life…stuff happens
Stuff happens, that’s life so you’ll need to roll with the punches. It’s easy to slip into a mindset that over looks the issues and problems “back home” and get a victim mentality in your host country. Don’t let this happen nowhere on earth is perfect and problem free, you’re just used to the problems back home. Your best friend in avoiding this is keep and open mind and also be prepared! not surprised.
5- Truly adopt a new way of living!
Take advantage of this opportunity you can create an incredible experience and life changing moment. Find out who you are, not where you come from. Stretch yourself and you’ll be rewarded for the rest of you life. I know that sounds a little over the top but it’s true. Again like I said earlier, keep an open mind and embrace the difference, celebrate the strange and unknown.
6- This also bears repeating…Don’t isolate
Don’t be one more know it all foreigner who eats at A&W and only talks about how great things are where you’re from. Engage with students and those you meet, accept invitations especially to do things you’ve never even heard of or find odd. These will often turn out to be the things you’ll remember the most and forge true mutually respectful life long friendships.
Have a You Can Do It! attitude…
7- Be prepared
Although daunting at first there is a ton of great information out there to guide you on this journey. Seek out blogs and forums, and read helpful posts like this LOL…sorry shameless plug. Bottom line ask for help, and be teachable it’s a trait of all great teachers is that they can be taught.
I could go on and on and will in upcoming posts but this should give you a great start!
To Your Success!