Teaching overseas can seem like the perfect solution for someone who wants to travel. Your travel costs are often paid for, you earn a living, and can stay for an extended time in a given location. However, teaching overseas is a far more demanding job than many expect. Here are four things you should know before you decide to teach overseas.
Teaching and Lesson Planning is Easier Than You Think
Many people considering teaching abroad lack teaching experience. This makes them nervous about teaching or the logistics of lesson planning. Fortunately, there are many resources on how to create lesson plans, and that’s assuming you aren’t able to borrow an existing one and follow it. However, you may have to follow rules set by the local school system. You could beef up on this by learning about it in advance.
Patience Matters More than Anything Else
Whether you’re dealing with students with almost no English skills, a large and rowdy class or school administration, what matters most is having patience. Young children in particular are going to get bored when faced with a new subject, so find ways to make it fun and keep them engaged. Showing them videos is one option; singing songs and playing games is another. If you can find games or activities that teach them while getting them out of their seats, they’ll pay attention and start to look forward to your class.
Have Plans for When You Get Sick
Getting sick is no fun. Getting sick far from friends and family is even harder. And getting sick in a completely foreign health care system can seem impossible to survive at times. If you’re teaching in developing countries, food poisoning is something to expect that you may have to deal with, though it can hit you in developed countries, too. The best solution here is to have a plan on what to do if you get sick. Have a contact person at the school you will call if you need to go to the doctor or hospital. Work with someone fluent in English and the native language so that they can deal with the medical staff while you’re dealing with your injury or illness. Also, take the time to learn which medications you may want to take with you in bulk to maintain your health.
Truly Understand Your Contract
Teaching abroad is a job you take on contract. You must understand the contract before you accept a position. Read it, re-read it, and if necessary, seek legal consultation before you sign. Working with services like Point to Point Education where you can select the types of schools and positions and have easy to understand contracts in English is another option.
You will need to know what the rules are for things like having to leave early. Will they fly you in at their expense but demand full repayment if you leave too soon? If you fly in at your expense, will they compensate you? Understand the housing arrangements. Will they give you an apartment on campus? Does the living arrangement include utilities, or do you have to pay that out of your pay check? If you get a housing allowance, what help will you get finding an apartment? These are all things you’ll have to be aware of if you want to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Teaching abroad is a culturally enriching experience for everyone involved. Learn what you need to know before you go so that you get the most out of it.