Why you Should Teach English to see the World

Izabel Antle's picture

Ever since I was little, I knew that I wanted a job that would help people… I just didn’t know what. Up until six months ago, I was a regular high school student. I was on track for going to college, and then working a 9-5 desk job that would probably not help anyone. But then my family started full time traveling, and I discovered a world full of opportunities that were new to me. Through travel, I learned about jobs in ecotourism, ESL teaching, conservation, and translating. 

Why you Should Teach English to see the World

A few weeks ago, I had my first experience working abroad at a small school in Thailand. For two weeks, I taught 5-7 year olds English, created lesson plans, and talked with other English teachers and travelers. One very memorable day was when my family met a local teacher in a cafe and she invited us to come talk to her students at another school. Her school was different than ours, however. The school was public, and could not afford or find good English speakers to teach the students. Instead, they learned English from Thai teachers who knew very little English themselves. For this reason, when Thai kids take an English exam at the end of middle school, only five percent pass with higher than a 50% score. Not only does this discourage students from continuing to learn English, but it limits their opportunities tremendously.

We came to the school a few days later. No more than five minutes after we got out of the car, a crowd of middle-schoolers formed around us. They were so excited to learn that we were from United States, because most of them had never seen a foreigner before. They asked many questions, and listened intently to our answers. We were only at the school for a few hours- not enough time to teach any English. However, they were able to practice speaking to us, which boosted their confidence in their speaking skills. Hopefully, we inspired them that learning English is important. 

There are hundreds of schools like this one in Thailand and in other countries, and while I know I could never teach at all of them, I definitely want to teach at some of them in the future. Teaching is a challenging but rewarding career. Interacting with the students is only a part of a teacher's busy day. Many hours are spent out of the classroom creating lesson plans and working with other teachers. 


The benefits of teaching English include possible accommodations, high salaries for native English speakers, schedule flexibility, and no work on holidays, summer, and weekends. 


Prior experience abroad is not necessary, but it really helps you feel comfortable in a new place. The same goes for TESL or other ESL teaching certifications. For many jobs, speaking English is enough to be hired, but others require qualifications;these tend to be the higher paying jobs. Having a certification can also make it easier to create lesson plans and engage the students.

Other aspects of teaching English overseas 

You have to be a part of a completely new culture and community. There are language barriers, people stare at you, customs are different, there may not be many foreigners around, etc. It takes a little bit of time, but soon you will get used to the new culture, customs, and location. 

Regardless of how much international experience you have, teaching English is a great way to explore the world. You will gain experience traveling, learn how to handle uncomfortable situations, and adapt more easily to new environments. You will meet amazing people, be welcomed into a new community, eat delicious food, learn a new language, and become more confident and independent.



Izabel Antle is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program. She's traveling the world with her family - follow her adventures at https://wheremycarryontakesme.wordpress.com/


Photo courtesy and copyright Izabel Antle