There really is no good way to tell the ones you love that you’re heading off to teach English abroad on the other side of the world for the foreseeable future. But if you follow these five simple steps you should be able to keep your parents relatively happy …
One: Accentuate The Positive
Make sure your parents understand that completing a respected TEFL course and then heading off to teach English abroad is a great way to improve your CV, gain confidence and see a bit of the world. It also has an uncanny way of opening up opportunities all over the world. Many people take a TEFL Internship and end up falling in love with the lifestyle, getting better-paid jobs and building globetrotting teaching careers. Even more people get a TEFL certificate, teach overseas for a year or two then return home with a better CV and better job prospects.
Two: Get Your Information Together
Nothing breeds fear of the unknown like uncertainty, so before you tell your parents your plans, make sure you actually have a plan in place and some interesting, inspirational and in-depth information to show them – this counts double if you’re going to be asking them for some cash! If you’re thinking of teaching English in China, find a few good TEFL job vacancies, show them what the salaries are, explain about the free accommodation, show them a few Chalkboard posts of people who are out teaching in China and then sit down over a drink or two and have a look through the Lonely Planet’s China guidebook. Basically, if you can get them excited about your proposed trip, they’re much more likely to get onside and be supportive.
Three: Invite Them Over For a Visit
Pretty much anywhere that you could be teaching English abroad will be serviced by regular flights from the UK, so invite your parents over for a visit. It’s probably best to get them over once you’ve settled in to your new life and have a few days holiday lined up: you’ll be able to show them how well you’ve acclimatised, take them for a tour around your new home town, head out for dinner at your favourite restaurant and introduce them to your new friends. You could even take them into your school as part of an English lesson!
Four: Make sure they know about Skype!
Staying in touch while you’re overseas has become a lot easer in recent years, and Skype is a real parent-pleaser. If you can find a reliable WiFi connection, you’ll be in business and your parents will be much happier with your decision to teach overseas. You can also set up a free blog on TEFL Chalkboard and keep in touch with friends and family on there.
Five: Explain That It’s Not For Ever
Even if you’re planning on teaching English overseas for the next 20 years, don’t tell your parents that! Tell them you’ll be away for a year or two maximum, then you’ll head home with a lifetime of amazing stories, an address book of friends from around the world and a CV that’ll help you stand out from the crowd.
First picture by Judy van der Velden: http://www.flickr.com/photos/judy-van-der-velden/with/6700513557/
Second Picture by: Oskenund: http://www.flickr.com/photos/equisde/