Teaching English Abroad – What Exactly Are You Committing To?

By: Ti Ron Gibbs

Just because you love to travel doesn’t mean you’re cut out for teaching English abroad. In fact, getting (and succeeding at!) one of these teaching jobs requires a good deal of commitment on your part.

So, before you dive head-first into the process, remember that you need to be able to commit to:

1.A certification process

Even though you don’t need a college degree or a traditional teaching certificate in order to teach English overseas, you still need to get certified. As long as you have a high school diploma or GED, you can sign up to get certified. But in order to actually complete the process, you’ll need to make it through 150 hours of course work.

Most of those hours are done in the classroom (typically 130 of them), so you’ll have to start out by being a student first! After that, you’ll spend 20 hours doing hands-on student teaching. That way you’ll be prepared for whatever comes your way once you head out for your own classroom in a foreign country!

Luckily, once you’ve gotten certified you’ll never have to worry about that again. The teaching English abroad certification never expires, and there is no continuing education requirement that has to be met. These are 2 really big bonuses that the majority of professions do not have. Continuing education and recertification are mandatory for many professions today.

2.A job contract

Once you’ve gotten your certification out of the way, you’re officially ready to head out and teach!

The only catch?

Virtually every teaching job around the world is going to come with a contract. The length of the contract will depend on the specific job, but count on committing to at least six months for any position any where. Some contracts will require you to spend a year teaching. Read your contract. Know what you’re signing.

That means you’ll have to think long and hard before you pack up and leave. Can you leave your friends, family, and responsibilities behind for several months to a year? As exhilarating as the process is, you also need to be realistic.

3.Your students

Once you arrive in your new city you will have to get down to work immediately. Sure, teaching English abroad is an amazing experience – and there will be plenty of time for sightseeing – but never forget why you’re there in the first place. Remember that your students are counting on you to teach them English, and so is your new employer. They may be depending on your skills to help them advance their job prospects, or they may simply want to feel “connected” to the English-speaking world. Whatever the reason, you’ll be responsible for making a dramatic difference in their lives! Don’t let them down.

Your work history, your reputation, follows you and often precedes you when you apply for your next teaching position. As a professional, never leave anything “on the table” means give everything you have every time you’re in the classroom. Here is a good guideline…If your teaching day is 4 class-hours, then after teaching 4 hours of class in one day you should be physically, mentally, and emotionally drained. If your day is 8 class-hours, then you’re drained after 8 class hours. You must pace yourself. The students in your last class for day deserve the quality teacher as the students in your first class.

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Ti Ron Gibbs is CEO and President of TEFL Institute. Teaching English abroad is what he did in China, Argentina, and Mexico. In addition, he has taught both online and onsite TEFL Programs in Chicago, Shanghai, New Delhi, and more. To become certified to teach English overseas, contact TEFL certification Institute.

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