Is teaching ESL abroad worth the ESL?
October 23, 2011 1:29 PM Subscribe
Looking for input from anyone with teaching abroad experience and (ideally) an interest in teaching English lit on their experiences with the differences. Mainly concerned with the perceived difference in general teaching environment between teaching adults in language schools abroad vs. teenagers in regular schools. Given that you're interested in literature and writing rather than the nuts-and-bolts of grammar and speech, is it possible to be happy teaching abroad as a recent college grad with only tutoring experience?
posted by reenka to Education (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm think I want to teach English at the HS level (with some ifs, ands and buts), and my ultimate plan is to get an English MA or MAT degree or certification and go from there. I'm a college senior right now, and I'm thinking of taking a year or two off to teach English abroad-- I feel a bit overwhelmed with 3 consecutive years of school and unsure which grad school program feels right. I was considering getting a job or internship at an independent school somewhere in the US, but would prefer to spend my 'gap year(s)' abroad if possible.
Note: I went to grammar school in Moscow, so I'm somewhat familiar and comfortable with traditional European schooling. However, I am wondering if the difference between teaching ESL and teaching literature is going to be a problem for me, interest-wise (and thus motivation-wise). I am also concerned that to teach English literature abroad, I would need teaching experience (which I don't have) and ESL certification, which I would also need to get.
Since my interest in teaching lies in facilitating discussion and literary analysis (as well fostering the students' writing skills to a more advanced level), teaching basic skills and conversational English has little innate appeal as an idea. However, I'm not sure if this is a serious stumbling block or not. I am sure to really enjoy the atmosphere in both Central/Eastern Europe and Japan (if that's where I end up), as I am familiar with both cultures. I like teaching writing as such even at a lower level (though I'm still not interested in conversation tutoring, I'm hoping I can get a different focus in my potential job).
Basically, I'd really rather not teach adults over college age or elementary-aged children, and though I'm open to a language school setting, I'd prefer a regular school. I'm not sure whether paying $1,500+ to get a sponsored teaching abroad program where they refer student-teachers to a placement is worthwhile. There's even an option of apprentice-teaching English lit in Ireland as a paid academic program, for instance. Basically, I am concerned that the type of teaching I really want to do abroad is unreachable for me at this time if I want to earn rather than spend money especially.