Deciding whether to teach English in a small town versus a big city involves weighing various factors. While national recruitment programs like EPIK in South Korea or TAPIF in France may assign locations with limited input from teachers, choosing individual jobs offers more control over your destination. Teaching in a small town has several advantages:
- Community Integration: Smaller towns often provide a closer connection to the local community, allowing for a more immersive cultural experience.
- Lower Cost of Living: Generally, small towns have a lower cost of living compared to big cities, which can make it easier to save money.
- Less Competition for Jobs: There might be fewer job opportunities, but also less competition, increasing the likelihood of securing a position.
- Unique Cultural Insights: Small towns offer a unique perspective on local culture and traditions, often missed in larger urban settings.
While big cities offer more job choices and leisure activities, small towns can provide a more authentic and potentially rewarding teaching experience. It is important to consider personal preferences and lifestyle expectations when making this decision.
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Air pollution has become a major problem in many cities around the world, including some of the most popular destinations for teaching ESL. Trudging to work everyday and breathing in toxic air is the reality for millions of people the world over, including thousands of ESL teachers. Wouldn't you prefer to enjoy clean, fresh air and bright blue skies on your commute?
The backdrop to city living also includes an awful lot of noise, from car horns and sirens, to construction work and endless traffic. Just imagine life without the constant rumble of noise, apart from the odd bird or farm animal that is! Teachers in more rural areas get to teach with their windows wide open without fear of pollution or noise distractions spoiling the lesson.
Anyone who has lived in a big city will know all about the problems caused by too much traffic on the roads. Apart from the pollution and noise mentioned above, city traffic can play havoc with your journey to and from work. Who wants to spend a large proportion of their day crowded into a hot crowded bus that takes forever to get anywhere when you could be walking or cycling along quiet streets? Not only will your working day start off in a more pleasant fashion, but you are also unlikely to have to worry about being late due to traffic jams or overcrowded public transport.
Another difference between living and working in a small town or rural area and a big city is that you are more likely to run into your students outside of the classroom. Although some teachers might feel awkward about seeing their students outside of school, it does offer a great opportunity to get to know them on a much deeper level. Young learners are often keen to interact with their teachers whenever they see them and their parents will love nothing better than a full report on their child's progress in the bread aisle of the local supermarket. If you stay in the job for a while you will also get to enjoy the unique pleasure of seeing your students grow up, both in and out of the classroom.
In many countries city-based schools are all much the same, with very little in the way of character. In contrast, small-town schools often have their own unique traditions that you will find nowhere else. These one-off events can be a great opportunity to get involved in the local community and to create bonds with students and colleagues that can last a lifetime. The wider community is typically more involved in the life of a small-town school than you might find in the big city, which can often make them a more pleasant place to work on a day-to-day basis.
Finally, teachers who work in smaller towns will often find it easier to get involved with the local people and the community as a whole. Many teachers find they feel more at home in a small community and suffer less from homesickness than those who live and work in a big city. By getting involved in the local area you are sure to enjoy a more rounded and rewarding experience that money simply cannot buy!