Traveling abroad to teach can incite two very distinct feelings: On one hand, it could be really exciting learning a new language and experiencing a new culture. On the other hand, it could be mortifying—worrying about where you’ll live and the possibility of not adjusting to a new culture are concerns that could arise.
One huge determining factor—which can decide if you stint overseas is amazing or terrible—is selecting the right employer. Choose the right one, and you’re golden. Choose the wrong one, and your stay just got that much more difficult.
Rowan Lomas, a job search adviser at Oxford Seminars, an organization which provides TESOL / TOEFL certification to aspiring teachers, emphasizes being cautious when applying to schools. “There are fraudulent teaching opportunities circulating through the Internet, which appear on job boards. We are able to detect a good portion of them, but some are well camouflaged and have drawn teachers in. We advise our graduates that if a contract is too good to be true, it probably is,” says Lomas.
Here are some quick tips about finding the right employer from Lomas:
- Research the country you’re applying to.
- Determine the typical contract benefits and teacher education requirements for the country in question by comparing posts on job boards.
- If something looks out of the ordinary—for instance, if a posting demands few qualifications for higher-than-normal pay—it’s likely a fraudulent employer.
- Never send money to schools.
Once you’re there however, how do you approach the curriculum? Do you want your school to provide you with resources, materials and lesson plans, or do you want to source them by your lonesome? Chances are, if you’re a teacher, you’ve either created your own curriculum and lesson plans—or you’re using a pre-established curriculum.
So which would suit you best when you go abroad? “It depends on the confidence the teacher has in their own abilities and experience. Most English schools abroad do have a curriculum in place, and teachers should be willing and able to follow the advice given by the school director or trainer, and teach the methodology of the school according to the school’s wishes,” says Lomas. This of course, depends on the country. If it doesn’t have a large industry for teaching English as a second language, the way Korea does, it won’t have a fully developed curriculum and is open to changes you want to make.
So what can you really gain from teaching abroad? “Its just such a great new experience to learn a new language or practice a language you’ve been studying in a different country, learn a new culture, eat different foods, see beautiful landscapes you may have never seen before,” says Rowan Lomas.
Those new experiences combined with your potential earnings can mean a completely different viewpoint of teaching. And hey, maybe this international experience will qualify you for teaching on a boat. Like this.