If discovering new places and experiencing other cultures holds any appeal to you, then I bet you like travelling. In this day and age, following the advent of the Internet and low-cost travel, it is so easy to go online and book a 2 week holiday in Spain or a weekend break in Prague. However, as we all know, spending a few days or a week in a foreign place is often not enough to really immerse yourself in the local culture, customs and way of life. Most of us wish we travelled more often, but all too often work and other commitments get in the way. Also, travelling costs money, even if you do it on the cheap. But what if you had a chance to spend a year or two in a new country, do exciting, rewarding work and not only pay your way through this experience, but also be able to save some money along the way? If all of this sounds good to you, then teaching English abroad may be just the thing for you.
I have been mulling over the idea of becoming a language teacher for quite some time. Eventually I decided to pursue other career opportunities , but you never know, I may still do it one day. One thing is certain - I would definitely do extensive research before taking the plunge. I would want to talk to some people who have actually worked as English teachers overseas and to hear about their experience.
In this post my friend Pierre shares his experience of teaching English abroad that I hope those of you looking to do the same will find useful. Pierre is originally from France, but lived in the UK on and off for over a decade. He is a keen and well-seasoned traveller and a polyglot who decided to enrol on a TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) course upon his return to the UK a couple of years ago, following a long spell travelling around the globe. For Pierre this was a great opportunity to combine two of his great passions: languages and travelling. Here is his story.
Multilingual Thoughts: Why did you decide to pursue a career in language teaching?
Pierre: I first started teaching French privately in Milan in the early 1990s. It was a great way for me to get extra cash while I was working for the French Tourism Board. Then I moved to the UK and found a teaching position at a secondary school in Essex and then at a primary school and taught adults in the evenings.
I like teaching, helping someone getting through a new learning. I have a good affinity with people and I always try to make them feel more comfortable. It is a job where you can get very creative and you are encouraged to develop your creativity to keep your students interested throughout the course. Also, I have liked languages ever since I started learning English at school.
Multilingual Thoughts: What qualification did you obtain and where?
Pierre: I studied for the TESOL Trinity College London Cert at Truro College in Cornwall.
Multilingual Thoughts:What resources did you use to find a job teaching English after completing the course? Was it easy to get interviews?
Pierre: I was advised to go through www.tefl.com, but there are other websites around like for example http://www.eslcafe.com/ and also http://www.eslbase.com.
There are plenty of jobs advertised, but not many are open to candidates without a degree.
Multilingual Thoughts: What was your first teaching job abroad?
Pierre:My first teaching job abroad was with Inlingua in Quito, Ecuador. Inlingua is always looking for qualified and experienced teachers all around the world, and because of the great network of schools, it is possible to connect with another Inlingua school in another country afterwards.
Multilingual Thoughts: What aspect of this experience you found particularly enjoyable and what were the main challenges?
Pierre: What I enjoyed the most was working with the Ecuadorian students. Students in Ecuador are very friendly and keen to learn English. On the downside, wages in South America are not very high. For a teacher who is more interested in high wages, I would not recommend South America, but definitely Asia or the United Arab Emirates.
I have also found teaching adults to be much easier than teaching teenagers, as discipline could be a real challenge.
Multilingual Thoughts:What advice would you give to people wishing to become English teachers?
Pierre:I would advise them not to hesitate but to do it as soon as possible. It is a great opportunity to travel around the world while teaching English. You will see the world and meet amazing people. It is an amazing job and never a boring one.
A big thank you to Pierre for taking the time to answer my questions!
If you are interested in learning more about Pierre and his experience, here is a link to his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Pierrefrenchenglish.
Have you ever worked as an English teacher? Or have you ever taught Spanish, French or any other language in a foreign country? I'd love to hear about your experience, feel free to drop me a line via the Contact page!