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Is TEFL right for me? Where can I teach/suits me? What do I do at weekends?

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  • Wannabeteacher
    Participant
    17 July, 2019 at 8:53
    • Total posts: 1

    Long post – sorry. I’ve given background which’ll help answer my Q’s at the bottom.

    I’m a 25 year old guy living in the uk working in marketing. I graduated university with a sports based degree in 2016 and for the last 3 years I’ve been living with my parents.

    I was saving up to buy my own place in a new city (currently in the south of England but wanted to buy in the north). This would mean a new job. I started making changes to my CV/Resume which is when I realised I’m not sure if I want to do marketing.

    Financially if I moved out to up north it’ll also mean I won’t be able to save as much. I currently earn £26k a year (£1.6k-1.7k a month) and save £1k a month. If I moved out I’ll probably earn £25k (the north pays worse despite me progressing a little in my career) and I reckon I’d save about £500 a month but obviously will be paying a mortgage which is good.

    TEFL should allow me to save approx £1k a month depending where I teach.

    I’ve done quite a bit of travelling.

    Trip 1…… 4 and a half months in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and a weekend in Kuala Lumpur. This trip included just over 3 months voluntarily teaching English and PE (sport) at a Thai primary school in a rural village (a behind the times school with old equipment and a few students from fairly poor backgrounds). This was unpaid and about 7 years ago (did it when I was 18 and now 25).

    Trip 2…… 2 months in northern Thailand and Laos.

    Trip 3….. 3 weeks in the Philippines

    Trip 4…… 3 weeks in Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia.

    Overall I love travelling.

    My ideal TEFL job is below. I realise there may not be this perfect job so I may need to compromise on a few things:

    I’d like a TEFL job that’ll still allow me to travel eg on weekends, school/national holidays etc. I loved making friends during my travels and would like a similar experience but obviously taking my teaching role seriously when I’m working. So my ideal TEFL role would allow me to meet cool people and maybe have good working hours with plenty of time off (whether that’s short working days or plenty of holidays or both). I’m single too so potentially would like to date but this isn’t a priority and I’m not the sleazy traveller type (more of an after thought during writing this!).

    I’d like to continue to save plenty of money. So pay, living costs (i’m pretty frugal), accommodation/flights included all would be considered.

    I have a BSc degree but no teaching qualifications. The only experience I have is from voluntary teaching English in Thailand but this was about 7 years ago. I also coached sports to children about 7-8 years ago. I realise this is ‘pushing the boat’ and a bit outdated anyway. I’m prepared to do a TEFL course.

    I take my health and fitness seriously. This means eating well/clean and going to the gym to lift weights (a proper gym rather than a little hotel type gym with limited equipment).

    I noticed the children were quite cheeky during my previous teaching experience in Thailand. I guess this was because they were young and the school had many previous foreign teachers at the school who probably played with the children as they’re a lot of fun. Because of this, the children probably thought foreign teachers are less strict and more fun and therefore it was hard to control a class. They were also very young. Admittedly I probably wasn’t a great teacher too and the kids could barely speak any English whatsoever which made teaching challenging when I didn’t speak Thai.

    Somewhere with a reasonable climate.

    Where’d you think would suit me as well as being somewhere I could get work based on my background? I’m leaning towards either Asia or the Middle East but not ruling out some parts of Europe. Vietnam appeals most in Asia while in the Middle East its Bahrain, Oman and Dubai. In Europe its Spain/Portugal/Ukraine/Serbia/Poland.

    If I did this for a year, what happens at the end of the year? Hypothetically speaking, If I liked it, would the school keep me on under the same conditions? If they didn’t keep me on will it be easy to find something else with little-to-no period of unemployment in between leaving that role and starting the new teaching position? If I chose to stop TEFL after a year, would this year doing something different affect my career in marketing (assuming I choose to go back into marketing)?

    How do you spend your evenings/weekends? Do you have time to travel?

    Any tips/advice to assess if TEFL is something I want to do? I’d hate to start teaching then realise it’s not for me and have to go through the motions for the year… counting down the days for it to come to an end. What can I do now to work out if it’s the perfect job for me?

    dan
    Moderator
    6 August, 2019 at 19:42
    • Total posts: 768

    Hi

    Thanks for the questions – I’ll take some of your points individually and try to answer them:

    TEFL should allow me to save approx £1k a month depending where I teach.

    Yes, depending on where you teach. If you’re in Spain, for example, your salary will be about that, so saving all of it is not realistic, unless you work every hour under the sun with private students. In Poland, the salary might be £500, so again, saving that much isn’t possible. In some Middle Eastern countries, the salary is lot higher, and saving that much is certainly possible. To secure these kinds of jobs though you normally need a higher level TEFL qualification and/or several years of experience. In Vietnam, with the right job, you might make as much as £1500, so by living frugally, you could save a fair amount. Generally though, TEFL is not a profession to get into if you want to make a lot of money. I don’t want to put you off, just to give you the facts.

    I’d like a TEFL job that’ll still allow me to travel eg on weekends, school/national holidays etc. I loved making friends during my travels and would like a similar experience but obviously taking my teaching role seriously when I’m working.

    Most TEFL jobs are perfect for this, although some include weekend teaching – check with each employer…

    So my ideal TEFL role would allow me to meet cool people and maybe have good working hours with plenty of time off (whether that’s short working days or plenty of holidays or both).

    Working hours vary. You might have a job where you’re teaching 3pm to 9pm, for example, or you might have more of a split shift, working a few hours in the morning, a long break in the middle of the day, and then a few hours in the evening.

    I’m single too so potentially would like to date but this isn’t a priority and I’m not the sleazy traveller type (more of an after thought during writing this!).

    No problem there – dating is possible wherever in the world you are (although with different cultural and societal norms and expectations of course).

    I’m prepared to do a TEFL course.

    Good – you’ll need one if you’re serious about this, which I can see that you are!

    Where’d you think would suit me as well as being somewhere I could get work based on my background? I’m leaning towards either Asia or the Middle East but not ruling out some parts of Europe. Vietnam appeals most in Asia while in the Middle East its Bahrain, Oman and Dubai. In Europe its Spain/Portugal/Ukraine/Serbia/Poland.

    As I mentioned above, if saving is a priority, this might determine which countries you go for. You might be limited in the Middle East by being newly qualified (although there are still a few possibilities). From everything you’ve said, Vietnam sounds like a good option for you.

    If I did this for a year, what happens at the end of the year? Hypothetically speaking, If I liked it, would the school keep me on under the same conditions?

    Hypothetically, yes, absolutely, maybe even with a slight pay increase.

    If they didn’t keep me on will it be easy to find something else with little-to-no period of unemployment in between leaving that role and starting the new teaching position?

    Yes.

    If I chose to stop TEFL after a year, would this year doing something different affect my career in marketing (assuming I choose to go back into marketing)?

    Probably not – a year or two would probably be seen as a good thing (broadening horizons, life experience, etc). If you start to get into 4, 5 years, you might find it more difficult. But maybe you’ll love it and the thought of going back to marketing won’t appeal :-)

    How do you spend your evenings/weekends? Do you have time to travel?

    Depends on where you are. Your social life might revolve quite heavily around the other teachers at your school (expats “sticking together” is common). If you know (or decide to learn) the language of the country where you are, that obviously opens up new social possibilities. Weekends could be spent travelling within the country, or just doing normal weekend things too!

    Any tips/advice to assess if TEFL is something I want to do? I’d hate to start teaching then realise it’s not for me and have to go through the motions for the year… counting down the days for it to come to an end. What can I do now to work out if it’s the perfect job for me?

    You could see if there are any voluntary teaching positions around where you are, to give you a taste of teaching. It’s difficult of course to get a taste of living in another country until you actually do it. Even if you started and didn’t like the teaching, you’d still be living in another country and experiencing all that it had to offer, so there would be a lot to be positive about. You tend to get out of the whole TEFL experience what you put into it. Immerse yourself fully – in the country, the culture, your relationships with your colleagues and students, and so on, and it’s hard (in my opinion!) to end up just going through the motions.

    Hope that helps!

    Dan

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