Teaching English as a foreign language in Asia
Between 2016 and 2017 I spent a year teaching English in South Korea. I had considered teaching ESL for years. Despite a clear lack of training and experience, as is probably shared by 90% of all ESL teachers. After South Korea I was almost positive I would never teach again.
As amazing and truly life changing of an experience as it was, I had pretty much concluded teaching wasn’t for me. Ironically as I write this I’m standing on a metro train in Shenzhen, China.
And yes, I’m here teaching English.. Again.
Build bank, earn money and travel simultaneously.
I remember looking out the window of my office during my first job out of university. It was a brief moment between the whip of management being cracked to pick the phone back up. I was wearing an uncomfortable suit, barely making bank and just thinking..
FUCK THIS. I’m moving to Thailand to become a dive instructor. I want to earn money and travel simultaneously.
That fantasy seemed nice and all until i researched how much dive instructors make. You better love it, because it’s probably last on wealth building profession list.
I moved through a few other jobs over the years, still dreaming of jetsetting and island life. Finally, about a year and a half ago I did something about it.
TEFL – a day in the life
I was teaching English to a few 13 year old’s the other day. It was the last class of the day, around 6pm and these kids have probably been learning since 8 or 9am. Motivation was running a little low, to say the least.
I was trying to communicate to them why it was so important for them to focus and learn English. I took the angle of drawing out a pie chart. Showing more than half the world speaking English – the language they were learning, and a small chunk speaking Korean – their native tongue.
I explained, if they wanted to travel or work internationally or even in higher positions in Korea, they’d need to understand some English.
Teaching English as a second language..
If you are a native English speaker, you’ve already won a lottery you may not know of. The opportunity to travel around the world and teach English abroad. It pays great, and it’s an extraordinary experience.
I want to travel.
That statement above seems to be the voice of this current generation called millennials. I think travel has always been in style, it’s just more accessible than it’s ever been and with social media and the internet, you can literally talk to your friends and family daily yet be on the other side of the world.
So most people want to travel. But there seems to be this underlying stigma that you need to be a trustfund baby to travel. So the questions is ‘do you need money to travel? Can you travel without money?’
A lifestyle hack..
“So, you’re telling me they pay for your flights there, and back. They give you an apartment, pay you handsomely.. All for playing with some kids?”
Years ago when I was first introduced to the idea of teaching English As a Second Language [ESL], I saw it as a bit of a life hack to be honest. Live abroad, get taken care of financially, all for some minor work. It seemed too good to be true. Thinking back on this, I can’t believe it took so long for me to finally take the plunge.
I also remember thinking, despite hearing that it’s not an intensive job, I’m not a teacher. By any stretch of the imagination.
Yet years later, and no further formal education training.. Here I am.