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How to Prepare to Teach English Abroad


The demand for English has never been higher. Today, the language is spoken by 2 billion individuals. Non-native speakers far exceed the number of native speakers. The demand is high for foreign native English-speaking teachers. Perhaps it won’t surprise you to learn that there are over 100,000 native English teachers in China alone. You may even know someone who has taken the leap to teach abroad. Now you’re may be wondering if it’s time for you to do the same.


You may have considered the opportunity to teach English in China. Teaching English overseas is an incredibly rewarding experience. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy, especially when first starting out.


It can seem overwhelming with so many possible paths to follow. Fear not, we’ve prepared this short guide to prepare you for what lies ahead. Armed with the following information, you could find yourself making a genuine impact on many children’s lives.


Interested? Let’s get you ready to get started!


Prepare by Practicing Here First

Many interested in choosing this career path are unaware that there’s an option to “try before you buy” so to speak. By giving online lessons based in your home country, you can get a taste of what to expect if you decide to pursue teaching abroad.


Online tutoring has never been more popular. By teaching English to international students from home, you can also earn a decent income while gaining crucial experience and insight into what skills you’ll need when doing the real thing.


But there’s no need to limit yourself to online learning. We believe one of the best ways to ingratiate yourself with teaching English abroad is by helping out at a local inner-city school or refugee center.


It’s the only way you’re going to be able to put yourself in front of a classroom full of children who don’t yet speak your language. What is the best part? You’re doing a good deed and giving back to your local community. With that in mind, we recommend doing a quick online search to find organizations in your area that offer volunteer ESL tutoring hours.


Relearn English and Become Certified

What do we mean when we say “Relearn English”? It’s pretty simple, really. When was the last time you considered the language rules governing the present perfect tense? We’re guessing it was over a decade ago at best or perhaps never!


Being able to understand English from the perspective of those you’ll be teaching is a vital skill for which you’ll have to go back and look at your native language. In a way you probably never have before. You won’t be able to get away with giving an explanation along the lines of “because that’s just the way it works” when teaching grammar and verb tenses.


Gaining a certification can help with this objective. Not only will it help you to see English through a new lens, but it will also help you with crucial classroom aspects you’ll need to teach abroad, such as lesson planning and management techniques.


We recommend taking a TEFL (TESOL) certification, which will stand you in good stead. Not only will you gain a well-rounded understanding of what required as a foreign teacher, but you’ll also stand out in the applicant pile and likely earn a higher starting salary.


Reach Out to Those Who’ve Gone Before You

There’s no better wisdom to be gained than straight from the horse’s mouth. Thus, it makes sense to reach out to those teachers who are either in situ teaching English in a foreign country, or who’ve completed their placement.


There are plenty of online forums to seek out the advice of these individuals. With the anonymity provided by the internet, you’ll receive honest accounts of what it’s like to be an English teacher overseas. Undertaking this activity is crucial because, otherwise, you could be in for some nasty cultural shocks upon arrival and struggle with homesickness.


Just as with any significant life decision, you should know all of the facts so that you can make an informed choice. In that regard, those who’ve been there and done it before are the best placed to help you.


Research Your Preferred Destination

Just because you heard your friend continually harp on about how amazing her experience teaching English in China was, doesn’t mean it would be the right fit for you. Everyone has different motivations, and it’s imperative that you go into this chapter of your life knowing precisely what you want to get out of it.


For some people, the goal is the make a lucrative income from a rewarding role. For others, it’s the chance to secure a new base from which to travel the world. Nail down in your mind what you’re looking for and then research possible destinations for their potential to deliver on those goals.


So there you have it, we’ve covered all of the necessary bases when it comes to preparing yourself to teach english abroad. These steps are all as significant as each other. So don’t skip anything in your giddiness to get started on your journey.


All you have to do now is carry them out!

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