Unravelling the Myths of Teaching Abroad

Business woman over the background with a different world langua

I used to think teaching English abroad was relatively easy. But after talking to colleagues who had taught in Korea, China and Dubai to name a few, I realized this was not the case. I have been teaching English in Poland for six months now, and I can clearly say teaching abroad is no duck walk. You basically have to work as hard as if you were working in your home country. If you’re considering teaching abroad, you may want to read on and find out the truth about some of the myths you may or may not have heard about.

1. Teaching English Overseas Means having conversations in English with the students. Definitely not the case. You have to plan lessons, be able to teach grammar points and vocabulary as well as listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. You have to prepare dynamic and engaging lessons that cater to different learning styles. You may be having conversations some of the time, but this is assuming the students’ proficiency level is high enough to do so. In short, teaching is way more than just having conversations with students. Conversations simply won’t cut it.

2. You don’t work a lot of hours. This depends on the country you are working in, but generally you can expect to teach 20-24 hours a week, plus lesson planning and administration. This can add up to 40 hours easily, which is pretty much a typical working schedule at home. Be prepared to spend a lot of hours in the school. If this is not what you were expecting, you should definitely reconsider it before embarking on a teaching position overseas.

3. Teaching isn’t all that difficult. You may be a native English speaker but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can teach it. Are you prepared to teach the differences between John has been to London versus John has gone to London? You will need to be clued up on grammar points before walking into a class. If you have never taught before, I would definitely recommend investing in taking a CELTA or TEFL course. Both will give you the tools you need to be able to teach grammar, vocabulary and receptive skills.

4. I will be able to save money. This is not the case. In fact, it’s a good idea to go to your chosen country with money saved up for initial expenses. You will find that you will be breaking even most of the time. With me, I find that I am breaking even because I like to spend my money on travel during my time off.

5. I will be able to live like a tourist and travel all the time. Living like a tourist, not really. You will have to go to work, pay bills, get sick, buy groceries, clean your apartment, etc. Life is life wherever you go, only this time you will be dealing with culture shock, language barrier and adjusting to different rules. As for travelling, this depends on where you are. If you are working in a place where it is super easy to travel around, then you will be able to travel. I am in a city 100 kilometers from Warsaw, which is not easy to get travel to other parts of Poland. I need at least four days off if I want to go up to Gdansk. However, I have been able to travel to other parts of Europe during my holidays. Speaking of holidays, you can use these to travel. And you can expect to have lots of holidays, especially if you are teaching in Europe.
So hopefully, this has cleared the air into some of the common myths about teaching English abroad. I am not by any means trying to put you off. I just think you should know what you are getting into. If you have realistic expectations and understand what teaching is all about, I’m sure you will have a great experience. It has been one of the best experiences I have done, even though it has been very challenging at the same time. Do your homework, get certified as a teacher, and understand that you will not get rich by teaching abroad. Also understand that you will have to work hard as a teacher and commit to your students.

Categories: Life in Poland | Tags: , , , , ,

Weekend Writing Warriors – Heartbroken

 

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This is the weekly 8-10 sentence blog hop hosted by Weekend Writing Warriors. Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone and thanks for visiting my blog! I’m glad I’ve finally found a free Sunday to be with you all!

I’m sharing a snippet from my YA WIP, Love Conquers. Unfortunately, it’s not a holiday season read. Full blurb can be found by clicking the Love Conquers page on my blog.

This snippet takes place in a flashback where heroine, Melissa, recalls the day after her boyfriend dumped her. She has been in bed all day, heartbroken. Creative editing has been used to meet the sentence limit.

I’m sprawled out in the middle of my king size bed, the side of my face planted on my pillow as I stare at the picture of me and Mom. I haven’t taken my eyes off it for an hour. What I wouldn’t give to have her here right now so she can hold me. “What am I gonna do, Mom?” I whimper with hundreds of memory bubbles bursting at once in my head. They fuel the pain that’s been crushing my heart. Every passionate moment I spent with him over three years is gone. Just gone, and I can never get it back.
My blankets and sheets are twisted like I haven’t left my bed for days as I dig my fingers into the pillow case. Actually, I haven’t left this bed at all except for a couple of trips to the bathroom.

 

Normally, my snippets include dialogue, but I thought a little narrative description would be nice. I consider myself weak in this area, so your feedback will be very helpful!

Anyway, poor Melissa! Her breakup with her boyfriend is important to the story as it plunges her into a rough situation later in the story. More from this scene next week, I hope!

In other news, I have officially decided that I’m going to leave Poland after contract finishes. I like it here, but not enough to stay another year. I’m not sure where I will end up, but I would like some more adventure abroad. Living abroad, for me, the best experience anyone can get – if they are fortunate enough to have it of course!

Thanks for your comments!

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Weekend Writing Warriors – Watch Your Step!

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It’s the first edition of 2019 for the weekly 8-10 sentence blog hop hosted by Weekend Writing Warriors. Happy New Year everyone and thanks for visiting my blog!
I’m sharing a snippet from my YA WIP, Love Conquers. Unfortunately, it’s not a holiday season read. Full blurb can be found by clicking the Love Conquers page on my blog.
In this snippet, Melissa accidently steps on a thumbtack at home. Believing it to be a prank by her younger sister, Ashley, she takes it out on her when she comes to her aid. Creative editing has been used to meet the sentence limit.

       I take another step when something hard impales my foot. “Oww,” I grab my foot and hop around on the other, filling the air with every cuss word in the book.

       “Mel, are you okay?” Ashley’s voice sails from upstairs as I eventually lose my balance and collapse on the floor.

       Footsteps drum the staircase, and my eyes catch my sister, clad in a tank top and sky-blue pajama pants, racing toward me with a healthy mix of fright and concern in her aquamarine eyes.

       I spot a thumbtack lying on the floor, and then glare at her. “You little bitch,” I slam a balled fist into her foot, but she manages to jerk it out of her slipper just as my fist pounds the fuzzy black fabric.

       “Hey, what the fuck is your problem?” Ashley demands, sliding her foot back into her slipper.

        “Don’t play stupid with me, I’m gonna need a fuckin’ tetanus shot!”

 

Oh the agony of de-feet! Looks like Ashley is in trouble! What will Melissa do to her? More from this scene next time. Be sure to visit the blogs of other participating writers today.

On a personal note, my trip to Egypt was amazing! One of the best countries I’ve been to, despite the security situation there. I thought I would share a photo from the trip. Have a great weekend everyone!

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#8Sunday

Categories: Weekend Writing Warriors | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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