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While teaching in South Korea, my husband and I were lucky enough to enjoy some amazing vacations to other nearby countries during our three-year stay abroad. We had two weeks off of teaching one summer, and with our July anniversary approaching, decided to celebrate by leaving Korea and exploring another country.

I love making plans but I hate having commitments. But commitment grounds us and makes us become something better than we can be without it I think. Commitment can make us responsible and dependable people. Commitment can protect us from a lifetime of shallow, fleeting relationships, and impulsive, potentially self-destructive behaviours and frequent bad decisions.

Expectations. This is a big word with a whole lot of emotion attached to it. For me, expectations are a drug affecting every part of my life. They are present in situations without my knowing sometimes. They offer me hope and keep me high with anticipation for blissful, rewarding outcomes. They also make me crash and burn with disappointment when they are not met. Such is life right?

“Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.” – Jonathan Safran Foer.

I’ve been touched and then I’ve been made mincemeat out of; both are equally pleasurable.

When I hear the word contract I cringe a little… it sounds a bit like commitment and I’m not very good at that. But if we consider that there are two basic fundamental emotional needs in life – security (yawn) and adventure (yes please!) – “contract” definitely covers one of those, especially if “long-term” is a predicate to it.

So, you have followed my advice from previous blog posts – you wrote a great resume and found an awesome job. You got your visa and are getting ready to embark on the experience of a lifetime. Here are some tips from someone who has both taught abroad and vicariously experienced the successes and occasional failure of many other teachers through my job as a recruiter.

My husband moved to Korea to teach English about 10 years ago. His boss picked him up from the bus station and promptly brought him to the school where Stephen would be teaching all the little darlings. First day off the plane ended up being his first day of work. If you have worked in Korea before, you know this is not out of the ordinary.

I used to teach English abroad. During my time teaching overseas I met some strange people. While most ESL teachers are hardworking folks trying to see the world, start a career and pay down some debts, there are those that are, let’s be honest - station wagons in the Indy 500 of life.

I would be a big, fat liar if I said that TESOLers who blow their money drive me bonkers. In reality, I know how exhilarating it can be to spend all that shiny, new cash we make from teaching on clothes, dining out, drinks, and whatever else suits our fancies. Spending money is fun, but what I've come to realize, is that saving money is oh-so-much-more gratifying.

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