Should I teach ESL?
Sometimes I think to myself “I can’t believe I’m teaching ESL to children for a living”. Growing up, never one did I ever consider becoming a teacher. Yet here I am. Last year at this time, during my first year as an ESL teacher in South Korea there’s also no chance I ever imagined I would now be teaching ESL in China.
Yet, here I am.
Truth be told, I love it. Even early this year I didn’t once consider it to be a longer term play, but now it might be. I’m the kind of person who thinks about my future and looks forward 10-20 years often. I keep trying to think where I might be able to find another job that gives me the time freedom, ability to travel and see the world, capability to save massively, and have somewhat stimulating work days.
As I ponder these thoughts, I continuously have a hard time coming up with a better option. Below are 5 reason I love being an ESL teacher. Hopefully they inspire some others to take advantage of this amazing opportunity.
1.Teaching English abroad gives you so much free time.
I have to chuckle to myself as I write this. Currently I work between 60-70 hours a week between the various jobs and projects I have on the go. But the truth of the matter is, I wouldn’t have to work more than 15 hours a week if I didn’t want to. And I would still be able to save 4 figures a month.
I’ve got some personal goals for myself, so I work as much as I possibly can. That includes evenings and weekends. I am able to do this and still manage to work on my side projects which include this blog and some other websites. I am able to do that because I have so much free time during the day. Working in public schools in China you only work a few classes per day on average. Leaving you lots of time to relax or work on side hustles.
There are jobs that you work more than 15 hours a week, but you are also paid considerably more. Even then, you’re looking at a max of 30 hours a week of teaching and likely double the salary that I have, which allows me to save 4 figures a month.
Also, do you remember summer and winter holidays as a child? Yeah, as a teacher you get those too. I have over 2 months of semi paid vacation while teaching in China. Which segues nicely into another one of my favorite parts of teaching ESL.
Teaching ESL in a foreign country allows you to travel the world
I have been to over 4 new countries alone in the last 2 years that I would probably not have been able to, or ever gone to if it was not for teaching ESL. Heck I probably wouldn’t have spent the beginning of the year in Southeast Asia if it wasn’t for doing another year of teaching English abroad.
Not only do you have so much time off, you are so close to so many other countries that while living in north america seem like trips of a lifetime. Jet over to japan to the weekend? Why not, it’s $200 roundtrip. Visit the Great Wall of China one afternoon? Shit, I just might. Take a week in Spain? It’s only a 6 hour flight!
Another travel related benefit to teaching English in a foreign country, is that you actually get to live in the place you are traveling to. It’s one thing to spend a month traveling throughout China, it’s a completely other thing to live here for a year. You get to really understanding and appreciate the culture of the country you are residing in. There’s no way I would have the understanding of Koreans that I do if I hadn’t lived there for a year. Honestly, I probably never would have visited South Korea if it wasn’t for teaching there.
The thought of not having the experience of that beautiful and interesting country is horrifying to me.
You can save so much money teaching English abroad.
I remember one of my first articles on this website was about saving $20,000 while teaching for a year in South Korea. I have to laugh at that now, as in China, saving $50,000-$60,000 per year is very feasible.
Yes, I said I can SAVE $60,000 in a year from teaching English. Not make, save. Save after bills, expenses, living and travel costs.Take a moment to let that sink it. You can save what many professionals make as a starting salary after years of university and certification.
Obviously saving that amount requires multiple jobs and teaching 7 days a week. But if you want it, its very much within anyone’s grasp.
Teaching ESL is a fun and stimulating job
Kids are absolutely bonkers. Don’t get me wrong. But once you understand how to interact with them, some classroom management and have a positive attitude about the job. It becomes great and even fun work.
In my lessons I am jumping around and dancing. Singing and making silly sounds. Conducting and controlling over 50 kids at once. I am not sitting down reading endless files at a desk. Most of the time I’m not dealing with unhappy adults who hate their lives and jobs. I’m playing with smiling and laughing kids.
Honestly this job is what you make it. I struggled with it in South Korea for various reasons. Some my fault, others out of my hands. There’s the odd day where I dread going into class, but usually 5 minutes in I am all smiles and the classes fly by. I’ve felt depressed about many jobs I’ve held, I no longer feel depressed from teaching English abroad.
Teaching English in a foreign country can open many doors
If you take advantage of being in a foreign country, you can open yourself up to many opportunities that are unrelated to teaching. I’m focusing on learning Chinese, and I’ve met a few different business owners that may become powerful contacts should I move to a different industry in the future.
Also, almost everything is made in China. Finding the original manufacturer of products could be a competitive advantage if I wanted to start a business down the road.
Finally, Asians are very interested in foreigners. They tend to favor them and offer all kinds of interesting opportunities to them. You never know who you are going to meet out on the street, who one of your favorite students parents might be, or the type of people who may hear of your good work.
A little unrelated, but they say Asian women love foreign men. All I will say, is it’s a theory worth exploring.
Should I teach English abroad? Should I teach ESL in a foreign country?
Short answer, yes. I certainly think so. It doesn’t even have to be forever, but it’s an amazing experience in my opinion. I can hands down say it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I am able to travel and see the world, I have time to work on my side hustles, I can save a massive amount of money, and I don’t hate my life.
If you are interested in teaching ESL in any country, please reach out to me. I work closely with many schools and recruiters. We are always hiring. Fire me a message in the contact page.
Have you taught English abroad? What was your experience, I would love to hear about it in the comments. If you liked this article, please share it with a friend who might be interested in teaching ESL in a foreign country.
Thanks for reading!