There are quite a few scary things in life; the prospect of monsters under the bed, the fat content of a Big Mac, my eye make up the morning after a big night, Gerard Butler’s Irish accent in ‘P.S. I Love You’… but teaching English doesn’t have to be scary...
I’ll tell you one thing though: it’s not a walk in the proverbial park. There’s more to it than meets the eye, so it’s not necessarily always one big holiday, but it’s pretty close most of the time!
Firstly. There is effort and motivation involved in actually getting to the classroom, it’s not scary but it does require focus:
1. The TEFL course bit. You’ve got your TEFL course to complete first, and this is the first hurdle for some. It DOES require concentration, it does require time and patience and you need to make sure you’re taking it all in or you won’t understand the submissions you’re required to do. You can’t cut corners on this, it won’t help you or your students when you get in tour classroom.
2. The leaving home bit. You’ve got to pack up your little world and move it somewhere else. You have to tie up all your loose ends and find somewhere to store your ‘crap’. You’ve got to get injections, go through job interviews and book flights and sort out travel insurance and plenty more. Don’t lose sight of the goal here, it’ll all be worth it when you arrive and settle in.
Secondly. The classroom is your domain, it’s your job to educate the students in this room – but don’t freak out:
The wonderful thing about teaching overseas is the students. As a general rule, they WANT to learn and they are a pleasure to teach. Half the battle is won already because you don’t have to fight for their attention. Of course there will be the select cheeky few who try your patience, but that’s the same everywhere I’m afraid. Work with them. Anyone out there have any other advice?
With every new job that I’ve started, there’s always been that awkward part at the start where you have no idea what’s going on and what the heck you’re supposed to be doing. Then all at once it clicks, and you think ‘OK I get this, I can do this!. Just take it slow and don't pile the pressure on yourself.
With every student who improves in your lesson, you grow more confident as a TEFL teacher. Focus on the small stuff to start with. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and try to ask for feedback where you can.
I’ve covered quite a lot of ground there, but just focus on goals and you’ll be just fine. Don't be scared!