Have you ever wanted to see the world, live in a different country, and feel like you’re really leaving a lasting impact in the lives of the people you interact with?
Backpacking is one thing, but feeling like part of a local community and getting the opportunity to leave your mark in what was once a “foreign and unknown” place, is an extremely rewarding cross-cultural experience with the potential to change your life and many others around you.
Teaching abroad provides this opportunity. Every day, more and more young professionals who are looking to start their careers, but also want to see the world, turn to teaching as a means to quench their thirst for adventure whilst doing something positive for the community and gaining valuable work experience. Of course, you can never be too old to embark on this journey. If you’re an experienced professional who is looking to get away from the routine and have an enriching experience abroad, teaching might also just be right for you!
If you have ever pondered this idea, or have asked yourself whether you would be a “good teacher” this guide will serve to outline some of the essential qualities a successful teacher should possess in order to have a fulfilling and positive time working and living abroad.
Different countries operate in different ways. Each culture has their own standards on education which more than likely differ than those of your own country.
You must always present yourself in a professional manner. However, it is important to keep in mind when you are working abroad, things may not always run on time. Last minute changes are not uncommon and you may be required to think on your feet more than you’re accustomed to.
Always have extra lessons on hand and remember not to let the little things get to you. As long as you keep a positive attitude and focus on the task that is at hand, you will be more than ready to confront anything that may be thrown at you.
This is perhaps one of the most important skills a successful teacher should possess. It is vital to use different methods of teaching, as different students learn in different ways. You can have some fun with your students by incorporating games in your lessons and breaking out of the daily structure to teach a lesson in a new, dynamic and playful manner.
By getting creative in the classroom you not only encourage your students to explore different ways of learning but also break out of the daily routine to share some laughs together.
Sometimes, you may find it useful to do some self reflection and remember why you’re doing this in the first place. Not everyone has the opportunity to change someone’s life, especially not the lives of young children who live half way across the world from you. On days that are hard, long or just tiring, if your intentions are in the right place, you may find the energy you need in the passion you have to truly make a difference. You have the power to make any situation into a lesson not only for your students but also for you. Both as a teacher and as a human.
If you’re ready to learn, this experience will teach you a lot about yourself and perhaps help you find that balance you’ve been searching for elsewhere.
Living in a new country can be very exciting, it is very easy to get caught up in the novelty of it all but a “good teacher” should always have the best interest of their students in mind. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fun, or go out on weekends, but as an educator, you hold a great responsibility to shape the lives of the new generation to be better people and eventually become contributing members of their society. Not to mention you are also acting as an ambassador to your country in the eyes of your kids.
Be mindful about your priorities and remember to dedicate some time for planning outside of school and you should have plenty of time to balance both your personal and professional lives abroad.
***Having a TESOL certificate is a huge advantage for any potential teacher looking to get work abroad. A TESOL will provide you with the skills necessary to run a lesson effectively and maintain discipline in your classroom. This is perhaps the most invaluable and practical certification any teacher should have before arriving to any school.