So you’re thinking of moving abroad to teach English and wondering if it’s a good thing to do?
The short answer is yes, go for it! Here’s why…
Making the decision to move away to a new place and work in a different country can be a daunting one, especially if you have not lived there before and you don’t speak the native language at all. But here are some reasons why I think it is a great thing to do.
In many countries it seems that the demand for English teachers is very high, particularly in the larger towns and cities. This means that it wont be too difficult to find yourself a job teaching in a school, academy or even privately. If you can get a job abroad while still being in your home country then that is great and will certainly give you some piece of mind so start looking early for jobs in academies and schools. If you don’t find a job before you move, don’t let that hold you back. It seems risky but in my experience it is easier to get a job when you are already living in the place where you would like to work.
I think experience and qualification requirements depend on the country you plan on travelling to, but don’t overlook the assets you have. When I moved to Spain I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t have the qualifications or experience to be a teacher. I had worked with children a bit before but not much more than that. I was surprised to find that when I got my first job my most impressive asset, to my employer, was that I was a native English speaker. This is something I hadn’t really thought about but schools really value it, so you should too.
Being a teacher is a great way to earn money whilst experiencing a new place. As a valued profession in demand, it’s also a pretty well paid one. In my experience in Spain you can expect to get paid between 15€ and 20€ per hour for teaching English and in a school you will probably get a nice lunch included. The work can be more difficult, mentally, but the perks of the job balance this out. When you’re teaching, every day is different. Of course you can expect a few days to be tough but it is more likely that you are going to be having a lot of fun with some great kids and fellow teachers. It is a very rewarding job and if you put the effort in there is nothing better than being personally thanked by a parent or teacher, or seeing a struggling student improving.
Being an English teacher doesn’t have to consume all your time. In my current school I work from nine in the morning until two in the afternoon with some free periods where I can do some lesson planning. Now that spring is here that gives me a lot of time to enjoy and explore the place where I am living. Working hours can obviously vary a lot but just because you are getting a grown ups job don’t think it has to take up all your time.
Speaking the local language is definitely not essential as most English classes will be taught only in English, but if you do want to learn a bit of the language, working in a school teaching can be really helpful. Because you’re interacting with the children all day it is surprising how much vocabulary, and how many useful phrases, you pick up and learn from the kids you are teaching.
Finally, and I think most importantly, living and working in a country is a really great way to get an in-depth experience of a place. You will really get to immerse yourself in a new culture and get to see the less well visited spots, exploring things at your own pace. You will have time to meet some great people and build friendships with locals and parents who can help you get to know your new home and become part of a community.
I hope anyone thinking of teaching abroad has been sufficiently encouraged, leave a comment below if there is still anything you are unsure about. I’m going to write a post about how to maximise your chances of getting a job soon so follow my blog and look out for more!