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Should I teach English abroad?

So, you’re thinking about teaching English abroad but you’re not sure if it’s for you… Well, you’ve come to the right place! We’re answering all your questions why teaching abroad may (or may not) be for you.

I’ve never been/lived abroad before – should I teach English abroad?

If you like the idea of living somewhere new and exploring a new country – don’t let a lack of international experience stop you from trying TEFL!

Lots of people who Teach English as a Foreign Language abroad have never lived in a foreign country before. It’s not unusual for candidates to accept a job in a country they’ve never visited. In fact, there are many TEFL teachers who had not travelled or had a passport before teaching abroad.

However, if you’re not sure whether you will enjoy travelling or moving to a foreign country, it might be an idea to do a test run somewhere. Perhaps you could arrange a solo trip somewhere near to your own home country or visit a few different countries before you decide where to teach. Alternatively, if a trip isn’t in the budget, it’s worth doing lots of research about teaching abroad and your country of choice. This might involve reading blogs, speaking to TEFL teachers on forums or watching travel videos.

It’s up to you whether you decide to take a leap of faith and teach somewhere you’ve never been before or visit somewhere before you take a job there. However, don’t let not having travelled or lived abroad stop you from applying for great opportunities around the world.

I’ve never taught before – should I teach English abroad?

The vast majority of TEFL jobs are entry level positions that require no experience. In terms of what employers are looking for, most will not be looking for candidates with prior experience. Instead, employers will be looking for enthusiasm, professionalism and dedication.

A good employer will provide some basic training on the job as well as some support. And even with minimal support, you can find support from other teachers on online forums as well as resources on sites like the Learning Hub.

I don’t know if I’ll like teaching – should I teach English abroad?

It’s difficult to decide whether you’re likely to enjoy a completely new career path without trying it out – especially when you might have to move to the other side of the world to give it a go.

It may help you to decide whether you’d be suited to teaching by thinking of what skills you have and what kind of job roles you have previously enjoyed. For example, to be a great teacher, you will need to be patient, adaptable, communicative, caring and organised – along with plenty of other skills! If this sounds like you, teaching could be a good fit for you. Alternatively, if you have enjoyed any roles that involved mentoring or leading a team of people, teaching could also suit you.

If you would like to give Teaching English as a Foreign Language a test drive before you accept a job offer abroad, you can always try a teaching internship or volunteer teaching. This can give you a taste of the career path with less of the risk.

I don’t speak English very well – should I teach English abroad?

No! The number one requirement for teaching English abroad is to speak English fluently. You must have a truly expert command of the English language to be able to teach others it.

Remember, you’ll be asked questions about pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, slang, phrases – everything! So, you need to know your infinitives from your gerunds and your idioms from your alliterations.

I don’t want to work with children – should I teach English abroad?

Despite popular belief, not all TEFL jobs are teaching children. As a TEFL teacher, you can teach adults as well, whether it be in universities, online or in the workplace. So, if you’re keen to teach abroad but you can’t bear the thought of working with tiny tots – fear not. You don’t have to work with children to Teach English as a Foreign Language.

That being said, there are definitely more TEFL jobs on the market working with children in most countries. For example, in countries like China and Vietnam, almost every TEFL position you find advertised online will be at a school or centre for young learners. So, you will have to look a little harder to find jobs working with adults. This may require reaching out to employers directly and asking if they have any opportunities with adults that they have not advertised online.

It is also worth considering the age of the children you may teach. Although you may dislike the idea of working with kindergarten students, you may enjoy working with teenagers – so don’t write off all positions working with children!

I don’t think EFL teaching will help me with my future career goals – should I teach English abroad?

EFL teaching – or any other kind of teaching for that matter – requires lots of skills that are useful in other industries. You may find that the experience and confidence you gain while teaching will come in handy for plenty of other positions, whether it be a receptionist, events manager or doctor. However, you will need to do your own research on your career goals and how teaching abroad could benefit them.

Still not sure where you should teach English abroad? Visit the LoveTEFL blog to read more about Teaching English as a Foreign Language and living in a foreign country.

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