My profession has taken me all across the world, experiencing unique journeys…attending world famous events…and meeting fascinating people. And I got paid to do it.
I have rung in the New Year at Hogmanay in Edinburgh, danced up a storm at Seville’s April Fair, and was awed by the beauty of Buddha’s birthday celebrations in South Korea. I have ridden camels through the Sahara desert, liberated baby sea turtles in Mexico and swam with sharks in Belize.
Teaching English is a fun gig. Your days are never the same and you interact with interesting people of varying backgrounds. My students have come from all walks of life: a sous chef from Italy, Bedouin camel racers from Saudi Arabia, Japanese university students, Korean toddlers, Colombian engineers, and Mexican musicians.
Most teaching jobs, and certainly all of the ones I have held, required me to work fewer than 30 hours a week. In many cases, this includes the planning and paperwork hours.
While the qualifications needed vary by position and country, in many cases just speaking English will get your foot in the door. Students all over the world want to learn from and practice their English skills with native speakers to make their futures better.
You can be part of this. Whether it was teaching Spanish flight attendant trainees how to give safety demonstrations in English, or helping Mexican artisans interact with tourists (thus helping them increase their sales to make enough to live on), I felt like my job mattered.
Taking a teaching post in another country is the fast track to getting involved in the local community. Many cultures highly respect teachers and your students will be eager to show you off and invite you to events and even family gatherings.
Expect to be invited to all the neighborhood posadas at Christmas time in Mexico and to be showered with gifts and adorable cards on Teacher’s Day in South Korea.
English is the 21st century’s “lingua franca”—the world’s most universally used “bridge” language. That means that native speakers who are willing to relocate and teach this highly needed skill are needed—almost everywhere.
Contrary to popular belief, teaching English is not just a job for kids fresh out of high school or college. I have had co-workers of all ages. One of the teachers who taught at a school near mine in Korea was in his seventies and had just finished a year-long teaching post in China when I met him. He had been in Africa before that.
Once you learn a few tips and tricks, it becomes very easy.
The best way to do this is to talk to veteran English teachers who have “been there, done that.” Hearing about experiences and tips first hand is the most efficient way to get on your way to landing your dream job. It will save you many hours of research and eliminate a lot of the pre-job stress.
Take it from someone who knows: having a good plan and learning some tricks of the trade will go a long way to making sure that your experience is a great one.
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