Teach English in AgulA Zhen - Tongliao Shi

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Opportunities to work abroad, teach English abroad to non native speakers and make a career out of this have become more popular. Some of my teachers back in High School were doing it and even some of my friends now have done it themselves. But it was one of my sister’s best friends who actually convinced me of trying it out, he had been living in Vietnam for almost a year teaching English when he told me about his experience. It has always been easy for me to want to throw myself into a new experience or adventure, but I was unsure of whether it was a good idea or not. I have never taught anything to anyone and I did not want to sign up for something that, halfway through, I might decide to quit on. This is where he told me that he had the same concern before and that this was the reason why he signed up to be a volunteer teacher in Cambodia for a couple of months first. The idea, then, to start off as a volunteer teacher started making much more sense, not only as a way of testing for a short period if I have the skills and competencies to grow in this career, but also to actually learn the true purpose and power that teaching has, be it abroad or not. Through this course I had this idea in my head, the one about getting my first experience through volunteer work. With this in mind, I started realizing all that it meant or could mean to teach kids, teenagers and adults, all those who maybe would not have had the opportunity to gain this knowledge any other way and whose life could actually improve because of it. At this point I was looking at teaching with new eyes. No longer was it just a way of working abroad to finance my travels and set ground for some time in each country. I was thinking about the impact, the consequences and results of teaching. Of course, these are different if we compare volunteer jobs, in which you might be teaching people that wouldn’t have the money or the opportunity to learn English if it was not thanks to an NGO in their community for example. Than if you are working at a university or school, in which you know that every student probably has the opportunity and the resources to pay to be in your classroom. Then in these two scenarios the impact you would have would be very different, you would probably be making more of a difference with the volunteer job than the paid one, however all of your students, in both scenarios, would be directly affected by your teaching. After taking this into account it became clear to me that if after such an experience I do not feel that I made an impact, or that I am proud of what I did and cannot wait to do it again, not for the money or for the opportunity of working abroad, but entirely for the effect that my teaching would have had to those I taught, then I would know that this is not a career made for me. Having analysed and thought through all of these points and ideas, I strongly believe that starting as a volunteer teacher will show me the reality of what it is to be a teacher, the actual reasons that one should have for becoming a teacher, and to understand what it is to dedicate oneself to their students and their learning. All of this before I can make an honest decision about why do I want to teach English to non native speakers and realize if this is really a career I can grow in and be happy with.