Things To Know Before Teaching ESL

1. Why You Should Start Teaching ESL

Many travellers start off their adventures as an English teacher because it ticks all the boxes: start travelling the world (both in the country you're teaching in and possibly their neighbours); truly integrate into the culture; make some money; learn a new language (well hopefully); make new friends and so much more. It's also a great set-up for starting your blog - you're in a stable enough situation to put the work into the blog (i.e. set hours, guaranteed pay etc); but you're also inspired enough by your newfound surroundings to want to write your travel blog.

Many bloggers teach English as a foreign language for a year and use that year to build the foundations of their blog - i.e. start a social media following, learn SEO, buy a domain name and more; meanwhile they can work and save (don't forget lots of teachers get accommodation included). By the end of the year, their blog is good to go, they've saved up money and boom they can finally start travelling and earning at the same time. And that year teaching ESL is filled with fun, laughter and unforgettable experiences. Ostensibly, this all sounds great, but like most things in life, you don't know what it's like until you've actually done in, so here are some things we wished we'd known before:

#1. It Can Be Lonely Work

Does moving to another country sound like a massive adventure and a dream come true? Well it can be, okay it probably will be. But first you have to get through 'the lonely stage'. Lots of people who move abroad to teach ESL find it very lonely work in the beginning, because let's face it, it can be hard to make friends as an adult!

That doesn't necessarily mean that you should take a buddy with you - we have a couple of friends who set off on their teaching adventure together, and by the end of it never spoke to each other again. They only knew each other, and it put a lot of strain on their relationship, they didn't have too much in common, other than only knowing each other, and were unhappy trying out each other's hobbies.

But that doesn't mean you definitely shouldn't go with a friend. We also have friends that went together who are now closer than ever! The secret? Knowing yourself, and more importantly your friend. Don't go with a casual acquaintance, go with someone you know really well - preferably someone you've worked with or even lived with. Someone you've already been through highs and lows with and come out the other end smiling.

#2. No One Knows You're Nervous

Two things that shocks all ESL teachers on their first day: firstly how nervous you can be - I don't think I've ever been so nervous!! Meeting parents for the first time, important dissertation presentations, job interviews nothing compares to teaching English on your first day. Okay, maybe you're expecting that. But you know what you won't be expecting, the second thing that will shock you: no one will realise that you're nervous! Seriously!! Most students on their first day are thinking about one thing and one thing only: themselves. More likely than not, they're nervous too and praying you won't call on them to speak in front of the class.

Now back to you, whose actually speaking in front of the class - trust me, no one knows that you're nervous! No really! Maybe you're a shaker like me when you're nervous. I have two bits of (contradicting) advice for you: number 1) try walking around at the front of the class, this should expel some of that pent-up adrenaline which should get rid of the shaking. At the very least it will give off an air of confidence, (body language - a good stride implies power, don't overthink it too much but it should be more of a boss-walk than a trapped tiger). If this hasn't worked try number 2) sitting down with your hands behind the desk, and if it's really bad sit on your hands. But trust me no one has noticed!

#3. You're Going to Love It

Last but not least, you're going to love teaching English abroad. I really think there's a power in learning a new language, it creates such a bond between people and you'll never forget your teaching days! There are plenty of teaching jobs abroad so our advice is just to go for it, pick your dream destination, book a one way ticket and never look back!

Wrap Up: Things To Know Before Teaching ESL

So there you have it, these are the things we think you should know before teaching ESL. We hope you enjoy your adventure - let us know in the comments below if you have any questions and we'll get back to you as soon as possible!

P.S.: If you're interested in a way of travelling and getting accommodation cheaply, you might wanna check out our posts on housesitting. was kind enough to provide us and our readers with a 10% discount, (click to use discount :)

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Travelling through the kyriarchy and weaselling our way out of the rat race - a female travel blogger writing about socially and politically conscious travelling.


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