What to expect when teaching English overseas?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

More and more people from all over the world are wondering what it is like to be teaching English overseas? Some of them are professional teachers with years of experience. Others are fresh graduates who have no particular idea of what their next step will be. Thirds are thinking about taking a career break and trying something new. No matter what your reasons are, teaching abroad is an exciting opportunity to discover your talents, feel valuable and see the world. So, what can one expect when teaching English overseas?

Another pace of life

First of all, get ready to step out of your comfort zone. It is a popular statement, but not everybody understands it to the fullest. Realization of the big change might only come after you step onto the alien land. If you leave your comfortable desk at your office and decide to go abroad for teaching English overseas, be ready to change your pace of life dramatically. Teaching hours vary from country to country. You should take it into account when doing your job hunt. Even if you have some teaching experience from your country, do not expect that work conditions will be the same in another country. Most international school in Asia have similar working hours for teachers – 7:30/8:00 to 4:00/4:30. In the Middle East teachers normally finish work at 2:30. However, there are some extra-curricular activities teachers are responsible for. This means they will have to stay at school longer some days. Not only the teaching hours are different, the general pace of life is not going to be the same for you if you are to teach abroad. You might plan your after-school time and weekends to be pretty intensive because there are so many things to do. Do not forget the traffic. It is a huge issue in Indonesian Jakarta, where teachers have to spend hours getting to work and back home unless they live in the school dormitory. So, the location of the school is one of the things you should be considered first before you accept your job offer.

Culture shock from teaching English overseas?

Many foreign teachers experience what is called a culture shock when they start working overseas. This is why it is advisable to do your research in advance before you arrive in a new country. It is very different from what you will experience as a tourist. Teaching English overseas you will have a chance to immerse into the new culture and feel yourself local. However, it is not going to be easy to adjust. Lots of things you might be used to are not only alien but even illegal in the Middle East. So, if you do not want to get in trouble with the authorities, you will have to study the local laws to learn which things are illegal. There are lots of westerners in many Asian countries now, and their influence on the local lifestyle and culture is noticeable. However, you should still be aware of the laws and rules of social behavior to avoid troubles in future. Culture shock is inevitable, but if you give it some time, you will be surprised how fast you will adjust to the new life conditions and even start enjoying lots of things which seemed to be shocking in the beginning.

Kids are kids anywhere
Kids-Are-Kids-Anywhere

Kids are kids anywhere

If you are interested in teaching English overseas, you might be worried about cultural diversity and a different mentality. How are you going to cope with it? What if local kids will not accept your teaching style? Most of the new teachers find it challenging to find the right approach to their students. However, kids are kids anywhere you go, from South America to the Middle East and Asia. Keep them interested, show them the wonders of the language you teach, surprise them, and your effort will be rewarded. They have a different culture, different traditions, and different skin color, but they are still like sponges. They will absorb everything you bring to them; they will learn much more than grammar rules and vocabulary from you. Think of it in the long run. These little kids are going to be adults in future, and the baggage you will share with them will always be with them.

Lots and lots of discoveries

Teaching English overseas is a challenging decision, but it will surely pay you off. It is not only an opportunity to save some money and travel around the world. It is a chance to discover yourself, your hidden talents and your true calling. There is a possibility that you will end up thinking that it is not for you and decide to go back to your country after a while. However, you will surely be more experienced, more open for the challenges and ready for your next step. It does not matter if it will be connected with teaching or not. It will broaden your horizons and give you a chance to make a difference.