White-sand beaches…ancient wonderlands…and cities full of flamenco music and orange trees. Thanks to my ability to teach English, I have seen them all. And it doesn’t matter what age you are when you start. I’ve had colleagues in their 70s.
My path as an English teacher has taken me across four continents over the past 15 years. It has allowed me the opportunity to travel extensively—never being tied to one place for longer than the term of a teaching contract—unless I wanted to extend.
In Spain, I learned to savour the little moments…not a hard task in a place full of sunshine, wine, and music
In South Korea, I experimented with food, fashion, the language, and became even more curious in my desire to see the world.
Mexico taught me to add flavour and spice to my life…to live bigger. I loved the colourful surroundings, passionate people, and many festivals. At the end of my teaching day in Sayulita—one of the prettiest towns in Mexico—I would often go to the beach for shrimp quesadillas and the most fantastic piña coladas.
Each country has its own lessons and discoveries, and because of the light workload of most teaching positions, I have had ample time to let them sink in.
Finding a new job in a new city or country has always been pretty easy. There is a huge demand for English teachers and sometimes the available jobs vastly outnumber the applicants. Most of the time I have been able to choose how long I want to stay in one place.
There are even teaching opportunities in English-speaking countries. Language schools in Australia and the U.K. are full of international students and immigrants looking to improve their language skills.
I had my choice of jobs in Edinburgh, Scotland, and stayed there for just under a year. I finished teaching each day at 2.30 pm and had plenty of vacation time. So, I travelled to Paris for Christmas, Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day, Venice for a weekend…Spain, Portugal, Morocco, and Denmark.
That’s the beauty of this profession: The flexibility and freedom to make your job fit around your desired location and lifestyle…even if these change throughout the years.
Teaching English is a good second (or third or fourth) career. People I have worked with have taken teaching posts as semi-retirement gigs due to the laidback nature of the job and part-time hours.
Like I said, I’ve had colleagues in their 70s, some of them on their first teaching contract. Students often like to learn from teachers who have some life experience under their belt. Many language schools offer English classes in areas like business, cooking, tourism, art, and the service industry, and want to hire people with a background in these areas.
Throughout my travels, I have met people whose lives are completely different to mine, and yet we have formed deep connections.
Life takes many turns, and as an English teacher, you can carry your career with you around the curves.
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