How to Make the Most Out of Your TEFL Adventure
Article by i-to-i TEFL
So, you’ve had your leaving do, your rucksack’s packed, you’ve checked your passport about 5billion times. You are officially, absolutely, readyÂ… ready for new adventures, ready for new challenges, ready to teach English abroad!
To make sure you have the best time possible once you arrive in-country, check out these tips for making the most of your TEFL adventureÂ… take a look and make sure you keep us posted with how you get on!
1) Keep an open mind It’s easy to think that the whole world is now a homogenized chain of McDonalds and Starbucks from Beijing to Buenos Aires. It’s notÂ… foreign countries are just that: foreign! During my time in China I came across things that seemed strange (ballroom dancing in city squares), uncomfortable (total strangers approaching me to practice their English) and just plain wrong (chicken feet, eww). Unless you’re teaching in your home country, you will too.
So, to stop you going barmy and barricading yourself inside the nearest bastion of Western culture (usually a McDonalds), it’s important to keep an open mind. Remember that you’re there to experience an entirely new culture and way of doing things, not to impose your beliefs on your new home.
2) Do some TEFL training
Because of the insatiable demand for English teachers around the world, it’s absolutely possible to find a job teaching English abroad with no training whatsoever. I did this… and can safely say that it didn’t have a happy ending for me, or my students.
Just because you speak English, it doesn’t mean you can teach it. For example, do you know what the present perfect is? Would you know how to teach it? I didn’t! Even the most basic of TEFL courses will give you a decent understanding of essential things like classroom management, grammar and lesson planning – which will all make your time in the classroom infinitely more rewarding. Plus, more TEFL training usually equals more money and better working conditions. It’s a no-brainer!
3) Never turn down an invitation
You’re going to be the new, exotic, cool kid in townÂ… as such, you will probably be inundated with invitations for everything from karaoke to weddings. If you’re suffering from culture shock when you first arrive it’s tempting to shut yourself in your room and spend hours on end on Skype. Don’t do it! Get yourself out thereÂ… it can be absolutely terrifying (e.g. going to a party on your own in a city you don’t know), but I can assure you that people will go out of their way to make you feel welcome. And if it’s an absolute disaster you’ll at least have a funny story to tell!
4) Go with the flowÂ…
Teaching English abroad is one of the most rewarding jobs out there, but at times it can be a little stressful. Things can often change, whether that’s your contract, timetables or your expectations; it is possible and does happen sometimes. Some teachers have no problems at all, but it’s important to be able to just go with the flow and don’t get stressed about little things. But if things do get a little hard to cope with then read below:
5) Shout up!
Your school will be keen to do all they can to keep you happy for the duration of your contract. But if you don’t tell them that something is bothering you, then they can’t do anything to help you! If you’re unhappy with anything at all whether that’s your accommodation or your teaching hours then tell them!
If they cannot solve your problem and you’re still unhappy then remember there are plenty more job teaching English abroad on offer.
What do you think are the best ways to make the most of your TEFL adventure?
About the Author
Teaching English abroad is the perfect opportunity for any English speaker to explore the world. As long as you’re a fluent English speaker, a TEFL course is your ticket to the journey of your life.