5 Things You Need to Do Before Teaching English Abroad
If you are interested in teaching English abroad, you need to consider these 5 things in order to have a great experience. Otherwise, you may end up in a poorly paid TEFL internship, experience problems with your students’ behavior, or simply miss out on a great opportunity to learn and experience life in another country.
1- Job Hunting: Research Schools!
Many programs offer reimbursed airfare and free accommodation. While this is great if you want to teach English in a public school program such as EPIK or ADEC, you may en up saving more money in a better job if you move to the country as a tourist and apply for jobs in person. Both William, who is teaching English in Taiwan, and Ted, our TESOL Expert in Mexico, said that applying for jobs in person was the best option for them. They were able to find the best schools by talking with expats and sitting down with the school director to discuss the program and level of support they would get.
OnTESOL has established relationships with reputable recruiters and school programs worldwide to provide our graduates with free TEFL job placement assistance. You will also find a list of over 1000 schools from the top destinations to help you find the best job.
2-Learn the Language!
Hey, you are a language teacher! If you think that teaching English abroad is about taking a job to pay for your travel expenses, then you are taking the wrong approach. In fact, it is very unlikely that schools will hire you because they can easily see through the “backpacker” teacher; they’re interested in a qualified teacher. The qualified teacher has completed an accredited TESOL course and has spent a lot of time researching the country. The qualified teacher has a passion for teaching and also for languages. He or she is learning the local language and has already become proficient in it.
Yue, our TESOL Expert in Japan, said that speaking Japanese helped her establish great relationships with other teachers at her school, in a country where it is culturally expected to form strong relationships with staff and attend various events. Greg, our TESOL Expert in the United Arab Emirates, said that learning Arabic has helped him build great rapport with his students. Breno our TESOL Expert in the Czech Republic, says that speaking some Czech has helped him understand his students better.
3-Prepare a Portfolio of Your Lesson Plans!
The best schools will ask you to submit a lesson plan during the interview. Some schools will even ask you to submit this lesson plan during the application to screen out poor candidates. Meghan, our TESOL Expert in Australia, said that a portfolio with professional lesson plans helped her make a great impression with the Director of Studies. Aaron, our TESOL Expert in Canada, said that the portfolio helped him prepare for the job interview.
4-Learn to cook!
All our graduates agreed that not speaking the local language and not adapting to the local cuisine were the greatest reasons for some of their co-workers to experience severe culture shock and fly back home.
You will miss home at some point or another; it is inevitable for everyone, but there is missing home and then there is severe culture shock. Most countries have western food, some places where expats can get their goodies, but it will be very expensive to live off imported food. Furthermore, local food is extremely cheap in some parts of the world, so you those who do not eat at restaurants are able to save money to travel and go out, which in turn lowers the level of culture shock that you will experience. Click here to learn how to overcome culture shock!
5-Take a TESOL Course!
The reason for taking a TESOL certification course is not only for meeting job requirements. Some schools, like English First, support their teachers with training and resources; however, there are many schools that will send you to swim in the ocean all alone. Knowing how to create professional lesson plans using the Communicative Approach is crucial for your success abroad. Sojak, our TESOL Expert in Saudi Arabia, says that knowing how to use the communicative approach helped him avoid the textbook many times and his goal is to eventually avoid the textbook altogether. Catherine, out TESOL Expert in Thailand, said that the school didn’t even have a textbook and she had to create the syllabus all on her own! Brandon, our TESOL Expert in Germany, said that the 100-hour TESOL certificate he took with OnTESOL helped him gain confidence in the classroom and keep his job.