Are you fed up in that dull office job and in need of some motivation in your life? Have you always wanted to travel the world and make some cash on the way? Perhaps you’ve heard of this thing called TEFL where you can travel round the world teaching English and hopefully make a living, but how do you know if it’s for you?
No one is saying that you have to make a career out of teaching English; I know plenty of people who have given it a go, had a great time, and now gone back home to settle down, but here are some of my reasons why I think you should try it.
When I was travelling through Vietnam I’d only planned on spending a day in Nah Trang. But there was a bar there called Why not?
“Do you fancy another drink?” the smiley Vietnamese barwoman used to say.
“Sure, why not?” was the standard response.
Thanks to the laid back atmosphere, and the happy hour that seemed to last all night, I managed to stay three days. So people I met there had stayed for three months.
What I’m trying to say is that if you don’t try TEFLing, then you’ll never know what you’re missing. What’s the worst that can happen? Okay, you get all the way out to South Korea and realize you hate teaching kids, then find a job teaching adults. You fly out to Mexico and can’t stand the hectic capital (over 20 million habitants), then get on a bus down to Oaxaca where it’s chilled. On the way to Australia you read in the travel guide there are almost 3,000 different species of spiders and you have arachnophobia, well, then you’re stuffed.
Give TEFLing a go. All you need is a passion for travelling (who doesn’t these days), and an interest in teaching your language (possibly more difficult), and you can see the world.
Life is not a rehearsal
It was while on my way back from a caravan holiday on the Isle of Wight with my parents that we stopped at a petrol garage for a cup of tea and slice of cake. While my parents quarreled with my sisters about whether or not they could have an extra chocolate muffin, I wandered off and spent my last holiday pocket money pound on a cheap metallic key ring with Life is not a rehearsal printed on it.
“What does that mean?” I asked my mum when we got back to the car.
“What, you bought it without knowing?” she replied, huffing; a row had broken out about the muffin.
“It means enjoy your life,” she said, slamming the door. Since then I’ve taken that advice.
That’s why I left my sales job, did a TEFL course, and travelled round the world teaching English. Life is certainly not a rehearsal, so what are you waiting for?
Meet world class nutters
The TEFL industry is one of a kind. If you don’t meet some crazy characters on your travels, then you’ll definitely get to know some fruit loops while teaching English. And I’m not talking about the students by the way; they are normally the sanest ones.
I’ve met a few funny ones on my travels: Daisy, a transvestite on a Greyhound Bus in America, Ted, a crazy Texan while I trekked up Machu Picchu, and Hotpants; a raunchy Babushka on the Trans-Mongolian Railway.
With regards to the TEFL industry I worked for Mr Kim, a serious South Korean chap who had a fetish for oranges, Miss Badminton, an over friendly Thai teacher who had an obsession with her keys to the flashcard cabinet, and The Witch, a nickname given by me, to a director in Salvador who accused me of not having done a TEFL course.
Where ever you go to teach, you’re bound to meet a few wackos.
Have a story to tell
How many times do you come back off holiday or a from long trip and got straight on the phone, or down the pub, or on Whassup, to tell your family and mates about how much fun you had? Well, imagine doing that on a long term basis. Life as a travelling TEFL teacher has it’s up and downs, but there is always a story to tell. I’ve had some tough times travelling alone, living on ends meet, and worried for my life in dangerous areas, but that’s all part of the fun; the story is always that much juicier if there’s conflict involved.
You might meet the person of your life
Yeah, I’m an old softy at heart. If I hadn’t decided to become a TEFL teacher and come to Seville, then I’d never have met my lovely wife. A lot of teachers meet their partners in the TEFL industry. I know several married couples who met while teaching in the same place, or even while teaching their students (adults of course). And if you’re not looking for that stable relationship, then there is plenty of fun to be had as well (nudge nudge, wink wink).
If you’re still not sure then just give it a try, do a TEFL course and get a move on. The world is waiting.
Baz is currently TEFLing out in sunny Seville in Spain, the lucky dude, but has previously taught English in Ecuador, Brazil, Australia and Thailand! You can either check out his personal blog here or you can also chat to Baz directly here!