Being an introvert i'm sure I surprised people when I announced that I was going to move halfway across the world to teach English alone. I am a quiet person and not bubbly in any way, shape or form which most people think you need to be if you want to be a teacher, especially for younger kids. Sometimes I wondered, is teaching really for me? At first I struggled trying to find a happy medium between being extra bubbly and being myself. After awhile I started teaching I realized I don't have have a bubbly personality to have a good relationship with the kids, I just needed to be able to relate with them. For those of you who are considering teaching but are not sure if it is right for you, here are some things to help you make your decision.
There are many people who work in jobs with children and don't even like children. I have met a few teachers, both foreign and Korean, who have said they didn't like kids. This made me wonder `why the hell would you want to be a teacher if you don't like kids?` After working with them for awhile they have slowly started to like them and build great relationships with them. But I don't think you need to love everything about a job to be able to do a job well. Liking kids will definitely make you job easier and more fun but time can change you mind. You will have kids who instantly warm up to you and want to be with you every minute and hold your hand. Then there are the ones who don't really care. Tell jokes, ask them questions about themselves, tell them about you-- these are ways to get the kids to open up more with you and build a better relationship.
Introvert and extrovert-- those are the two personalities most people fit into. Like I mentioned before I am an introvert. But I can also be extroverted depending on how I feel or around certain people. Most of the teachers I have met are extroverts but there are also lots of introverts. In my experience the extroverted teachers I have met tend to be those loud, corny, slightly annoying people. They try extra hard to get the students to laugh. While their efforts pay off, it seems a little tiring and unnatural. Then again, the introverts tend to be those mousy, nervous, shy teachers. They are very self conscious and unsociable and the kids pick up on that. That is why I consider myself both. I can now be very corny with my students but not seem unnatural and I can also be quiet and just be alone. Both of them work for me, it's really about finding balance within yourself. If you can't learn to have a little of both you may struggle a bit with getting the kids to respond well to you.
Take a breather! Teaching English is not easy, especially in a foreign country. Kids love to push your buttons. Especially Korean students! They are known for their blunt behaviour and rude comments, so one needs patience in dealing with them. In this field you need to learn to let things go. I have heard heard stories of students calling teachers ugly, fat and other things. Just make sure to address what they say to you and explain why it was rude and most likely they will never say it again. You will have some students with issues bigger than you and you can't get stressed about every little thing they say to try and make you feel bad or else you'll get white hair like some of my middle schoolers. When my students say something to annoy me I ignore it and then they let it go because they see I don't care. Working with children you need to learn how to be patient with them.
Fulfilling your contract
Remember, if you are teaching overseas most likely you will have a one year contract. If you sign the paper and promise to stay for one year then that is what you should do. Too many times people end their contracts early because they have home sickness or they don't like their job. There were definitely times where i said I wanted to go home early but I talked myself out of it because I hate not being able to commit. So make sure teaching in a foreign country is really something you want to do otherwise don't bother. To make yourself feel comfortable make sure to bring home comforts and stay in touch with loved ones all the time. These can help make your transition easier.
Obviously things don't always go the way you planned. Do not panic! just go with the flow, if something goes wrong find another way to handle the situation. There has been many time where I've forgotten to print off a vocabulary test or worksheets. I think the first time it happened I panicked because it was my first day and I was a little overwhelmed with all the information I was bombarded with. All I did was print it off at the next break time for the kids to do and it got done. If you look frazzled you will make your students feel the same way or think you don't know what you're doing. You don't want that!
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I’m Hilda, the writer behind Herxtravels. Here you can find travel guides, reviews and tips whilst reading about my adventures abroad.
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