Teaching is quite often a career people fall into rather than a first choice, that’s exactly what happened to me; the desire to travel led me to teaching and I’ve never looked back since. There are fewer rewarding occupations and fewer that provide such a variety of opportunities, anyone who complains about teaching being a boring job has clearly not taken advantage of the numerous options available. To learn more about starting a career as a teacher click here.
My own teaching journey began with a tefl course in London; following university the desire to travel and explore the world had got to the point where it was now or never, but due to an inherent failure in saving money I needed an alternative means to fund my trip. After a brief look into various visa options in particular countries a friend of mine recommended teaching English abroad and my research into tefl began. Tefl courses are not overly strenuous, provide the basis for your teaching methodologies and how to cope in a foreign environment, give an opportunity to meet likeminded people beginning the same adventure, and are essentially a ticket to anywhere in the world. Whilst there are some countries where a university degree is enough to be able to teach, many have tefl certification as a strict requirement and it also gives a greater chance to land the better paid positions.
I had a list of destinations that I wanted to see on my travels, and almost all were recruiting for English teachers following completion of my course. English is in great demand throughout the world due to its importance in so many aspects of global life. Initially I arranged a 6 month placement in Thailand and was lucky enough to receive a relatively high salary and have accommodation costs covered too, and this ideal location meant I could explore almost all of South East Asia. As a teacher I was embraced by the locals and soon slipped into the Thai way of life, but most of all it was seeing the progress of young children speaking English that I enjoyed most. And all of this meant that I found it impossible to head home and it was on to China which turned into an 18 month stay! I managed to progress into teaching English to university students and suddenly I began to realise that the urge to travel was leading into a profession from which I could never see myself leaving.
On my return to the UK I was nervous that I would find it difficult to secure a job in a school, after all in my eyes I had spent the last 2 years on holiday really. However to my surprise, after completing my PGCE, the experience I had abroad was held in pretty high regard, and I had a number of interviews almost instantly. And after almost 3 years enjoying my position in the History department of a wonderful school in Kent, my itchy travelling feet have got the best of me again and I am heading to Chile to be part of a teacher training programme, something which I am really excited about, and a part of the world I cannot wait to see.
I can’t imagine there are many careers which provide so many exciting, interesting and exotic opportunities, and even if you are not interested in teaching for the long haul, I whole heartedly recommend teaching English abroad.