Going overseas to another country to teach English overseas is an incredibly rewarding experience that lots of people miss out on because of misconceptions or myths they have learned about teaching English overseas.
You need to learn how to speak the local language.
- This is one of the most believed myths about teaching English overseas, and it couldn’t be farther from the truth! Nearly all colleges hiring TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) teachers do not expect that they will speak the local language.
- These schools are more concerned that their teachers are native or native-level English speakers, and that they have been thoroughly trained in TESOL methodology (also called TEFL certification). This permits teachers to thoroughly commit to the immersion approach to teaching English abroad, in which only English is spoken in the classroom.
- Many schools worry that if a teacher is also fluent in the local language, they will use that common language to communicate during class, and students may not feel the same motivation to really learn English. If you do know the local language where you’ll be teaching, that is fine, but you could be asked to only speak English with your students.
If you are worried about not knowing the local language, most schools provide local acculturation and language training classes once you have arrived at the location where you’ll be teaching. These courses help to familiarize yourself to the locale as well as learn your way around the region. Read more, If you need advice for Teaching English in Abroad.
It is dangerous to teach English overseas.
Most schools offering the chance to teach English overseas are located in or close primary and secondary cities in assignment countries. Learning facilities and teachers’ lodging are in safe areas, and most programs will work only with select schools which operate in similarly appealing secure locations.
While all schools do need excellent English speaking skills, many places do not need a college degree – and even where they do, your degree doesn’t have to be in English, Education, or a related discipline. Schools are generally more interested in applicants that will easily adapt to and thrive in the fresh environment.
Once accepted to a program you will most likely undergo intensive classroom training and hours of practice teaching before earning a TESOL Certificate. TESOL certification is widely considered a rigorous standard for teachers and requires prescribed a program and a minimum six hours of supervised practice teaching in an actual student-classroom atmosphere.
It’s a big decision to live and work abroad for a protracted period of time – and you need to be sure that you’re truly prepared for it before you end up far away from home, and miserable to be there! However, the above myths shouldn’t factor into your decision.
If you have already spent some time in a country and culture other than their own and are anxious to do it again or are genuinely interested in interacting with new people, and living in and learning about new cultures, you’re a superb candidate for teaching English overseas.