Posts Tagged With: work

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: , , , , ,

Why I Don’t Write Full-Time


It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything on my blog, so I thought I would share this. Actually, I had intended to post this earlier, but well…that just didn’t happen. Anyway, I love writing. It gives me a rush, a reason for living, and a sense of contributing something special to the rest of the world. But as much as I love it, I would never quit my day job and pursue it full time. Sure I probably would have written and published four books by now, but the sacrifices I would’ve had to make aren’t worth it. I’m not dissing full-time writers out there. I have so many writing friends that do it, so I take my sombrero off to them. I’m just saying that it ain’t for me. And here’s why:

  1. I love my job – I’m a grad student and a part-time teacher. Soon I will be a college professor. I love what I do and the people I work with. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
  2. Computer time – I simply can’t stare at a screen while I hit the keyboard for eight to nine hours a day, everyday. I need variety. I need to get out, get exercise, and enjoy this wonderful place we call Earth. After all, I won’t be here forever.
  3. Don’t want to give up everything else – I play soccer, volunteer, hike, ski, etc. If I became a full-time writer, I’d have to give up some, if not all of these precious things I love dearly. And that ain’t gonna happen consarn it!
  4. Relying on loyalties for income – Many writers make enough on these to live the same life they did when they were working full time. However, your income isn’t always certain. You can have good months and bad months in terms of sales, and sometimes you need some extra funds to offset those “cloudy days”. I just wouldn’t be comfortable having to deal with uncertain income. I had enough of that when I was a travel agent.
  5. I’m in no rush to become a bestseller – I may never even become one! But that’s OK. Even if it takes me another few years before I get my first book out there, I’m happy with the pace I’m following. It’s what works best for me, and I don’t want to change that.
Categories: Writing & Inspiration | Tags: , , , ,

6 Ways to Make Time

You’ve probably said this over and over: “I don’t have time for this!” There are times where we do not have the time to do a task, because we already have our hands full with other projects. But then there are times, we need to make time to get a job done. We can’t make the excuse that we simply don’t have time to do it, so we have to find the time to get it done.

I teach English at an academy, in addition I am one of the academic directors at the school. As a teacher, I teach my classes, prepare my lessons, and carry out weekly/monthly administration duties. As a director, I test new students so I can determine their level; I put together and conduct workshops for the other teachers; I travel to attend conferences. On top of all that, I’m trying to finish my first novel, which I do in my spare time. It is impossible for me to do this at school, even during my lunch break (I only get thirty minutes before I teach my afternoon classes). So I have to make time. I want to get my novel finished before the start of 2014, and I’ll do whatever I have to get it done. Just like money, time has to be earned. You must make up time to accomplish an important job, even if that means sacrificing your spare time.

How do you make time? Here are six ways of doing so.

  1. Wake up an hour earlier during the week, and use that time to get something done.
  2. If possible, sacrifice your lunch hour. Instead of eating out, bring your lunch to work and use that time to finish a task while you eat.
  3. Dedicate an hour in the evening to something that HAS to be finished immediately.
  4. Forgo some of your usual after work/after school activities: going to the gym, hanging out with friends, etc. That time you spend on those things could be used for that very important project you normally “don’t have time for”.
  5. When the tasks pile up, be prepared to say “NO” to those plans, which CAN WAIT. Your friend, significant other will understand if you have something else which needs to be done. Just as long as you explain it to them ahead of time.
  6. On weekends, choose a day which you will dedicate to working on a project, which is difficult to commit to during the week. If you have to work on weekends, then choose a day during the week instead.


Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , ,

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