Entering the field of teaching English requires a sound command of the language, a TESOL certification, and an unwavering motivation to turn other people's aspirations into reality. This career path, although rewarding, does also pose potential challenges that you might need to face. Let's explore some of the key advantages and disadvantages of a TESOL career.
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Upon obtaining your TESOL certification, a world of teaching opportunities opens up for you. Whether your dream is to teach English by a tropical beach or in a bustling metropolis like Tokyo, Milan, or Rio, the choice is yours. The flexibility offered when teaching English allows you to shift destinations whenever you feel like a new challenge or a change of scenery.
While TESOL allows you to design your lifestyle, it can also be a financially rewarding profession. Certain countries offer attractive salaries that enable you to save significantly. Additional perks like free accommodation, reimbursed airfares, and cash bonuses are commonplace. Some countries even offer tax-free living, which will further increase your savings. Regardless of where you choose to teach, you can expect a comfortable lifestyle with sufficient funds to fully explore your new environment.
Also read: How much can I earn teaching English abroad?
Teaching English abroad promises a wealth of unforgettable experiences. You will engage with diverse groups of people in and outside the classroom, navigating different challenges that foster personal and professional growth. Living in a new country will present daily adventures and extraordinary opportunities that will make your TESOL journey anything but monotonous.
The TESOL journey provides a unique platform to form lasting friendships. You will collaborate with other international teachers and local staff, fostering a sense of camaraderie. This sense of community can help you adapt and truly thrive in your new environment.
However, despite these numerous benefits, there are a few potential drawbacks to consider.
Leaving behind your familiar surroundings, family, and friends can be tough, especially when settling in a foreign country where the language and customs are unfamiliar. The initial few weeks may bring feelings of loneliness as you adjust to your new life and work routine. However, with time, you should become more comfortable with the local language, cultivate new friendships, and start reaping the benefits of your overseas adventure.
Relocating and starting a new job often entails dealing with a significant amount of paperwork, which can be overwhelming. Securing visas and work permits typically involve interacting with immigration departments, which can be exhaustive. However, many employers help streamline this process by either handling the paperwork themselves or providing assistance.
Unfortunately, discrimination may be a reality in certain parts of the world. Teachers from certain ethnicities may be favored over others, non-native English speakers may face biases, older teachers may find obtaining a work permit challenging, and landlords may exploit foreign tenants. However, overcoming these hurdles can strengthen your resilience and fortitude, enabling you to confidently face future challenges.
While teaching English abroad can be a fulfilling experience, it is by no means an easy task. Teaching demands immense patience, effective classroom management skills, and a knack for multitasking. Besides teaching, you will be expected to prepare lesson plans, assign and grade homework, and undertake additional responsibilities. Managing energetic children, emotionally volatile teenagers, or tired adults studying after work can be challenging and stressful.
However, these potential downsides should not deter you. Teaching English abroad offers extraordinary opportunities that typically outweigh any challenges you may encounter. After an initial settling-in period, you are likely to discover that this new chapter in your life is as fulfilling and exciting as you imagined, if not more.