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Travel Abroad Teaching English

If you are looking for a career that takes you to places all over the world, you might want to start with the skills you already have ? your language. Teaching English As A Second Language or ESL can help you visit the countries you always wish you could see.

What does it take? First of all, read up on the profession. Understand what kinds of opportunities are available. Make sure you know the qualifications for specific jobs. There are classes you can take to become better qualified. And if you are worried about paying for those classes, dont worry about that as there are student loans and grants out there to help you out.

Second, become an active member of TESOL (Teaches of English to Speakers of Other Languages) and your local affiliate. Volunteer. Attend a conference. Give a presentation on any teaching idea you have.

Third, find out what jobs are available where you want to go. Talk to people. Ask questions. Consider all possibilities. A number of web sites carry information about jobs overseas, but try to talk personally with people who have spent time in the field. Remember that each persons experience will be colored by their own expectations, perceptions of the world, and their working situations.

Fourth, ask yourself if you are you mentally prepared for teaching overseas? Too often, teachers who go to another country soon return home disenchanted because things did not turn out the way they expected. While the employer bears some of the responsibility for preparing the new recruit, this does not exempt the employee from gathering as much information as possible about the host country and the place where they will work. Study up and consider the following:

Fifth, go with a purpose in mind. Teachers who have clear professional goals and can sustain themselves by nurturing their professionalism through outside activities and (and dont blame the foreign culture for personal misfortunes) have the best chance of a successful teaching experience.

Sixth, study the language and culture of the host country. Although many training programs focus on the linguistic elements of the profession, an equally compelling reason should lead us to focus attention on diversity training to help teachers in the acculturation process they will need to undergo in a foreign land. Teachers themselves should make an earnest attempt to learn something about cultural adjustment and training that will lead to successful experiences abroad. Learning the language is a key step to adjustment, so you are able to become an active participant in everyday life. Tapping into what is "hot" and "what's not" with our students shows them we are not removed spectators.

In addition to looking at the country you want to move to, look also at the school you will be working for. Ask for the email addresses and phone numbers of three of their current teachers? (The more the better, as it gives you a more honest picture of the school.) You can also check up on a school by checking blacklists and grey lists. There are web boards that list disreputable schools in various countries. Korea, in particular, has a large number of dedicated blacklists. So many, in fact, that the best advice may be to avoid working in Korea completely. Search the lists for schools you are considering. Post a question to the board... ask if anyone has had problems with the school you are considering. While this may yield results, blacklists are notoriously unreliable. Just because a school is not on the list does not mean it is a good one. Most bad schools, in fact, will not be found on any of the blacklists.

Last, enjoy the process and see where your new career can take you.

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