The point of this post is the last paragraph. But if you want to get a sense of my entire train of thought, it’s best to read the whole thing.
And now for the kicker: I think I might like to teach English in a foreign country. It’s a bit ironic, I know, considering this post. What can I say? It sounds pretty cool. It would afford me tons of opportunity to write (and to live an awesome life so that I have things to write about), a living is much easier to get there than here (especially with a Creative Writing degree), and I have a great talent for teaching and language in general, not just English and writing. So what do you think? Is this something I should pursue, or should I avoid a profession that doesn’t seem to be very good at practicing what they teach?
A high school friend of mine joined one of these programs and taught kindergarten in Korea for a stint. She also, I think, got a job teaching in Mauritius as well and got married there. Or maybe she only married there. Either way, she would say that it was absolutely worth it if you want to do something adventurous. She had the English skills of that commenter and it didn’t seem to have an effect on her ability to teach English in Korea. Granted: Kindergarten. Still. I think she did get another English-teaching job at a higher level later.
Another college friend of mine tried to go to Japan and teach English as well, though there’s a lot more involved in trying to go there as opposed to Brazil, apparently. She had a lot rougher time than my HS friend and, ultimately, did not get out to Japan.
The programs usually provide basic curriculum (if I recall correctly) and you are the warm-body English Speaker that will enhance the program simply by being present. I’ve found that even poor writers still have an ear for English-as-a-communication-medium and can help new learners respectably. The important thing is to get learners access and opportunity. English is baffling at the best of times, even for very intelligent learners, so patience and a sense of humor are probably the top requirements, rather than a grasp of grammar.
I’ve experienced the non-fluent language teacher: My HS had a German teacher for a year or two who was not fluent. The substitute teachers would have more productive days than she would. Speaking fluently, even without mastery of the written side of things, is nothing to be sneezed at.
There’s a really funny blog… Wait wait. Pause for Google! Okay, there we go, I found a mirror of it: http://classic.dryang.org/japanese/ There WAS a really funny blog called ‘I am a Japanese School Teacher’ that apparently isn’t on the internet anymore. It humorously chronicles the experiences of, well, a Japanese schoolteacher teaching English through a program like the one you’re looking into.
So, yes - apparently it’s awesome and would knock you for a loop. The only thing that I would really make sure about is the program itself. Regardless of their typos and grammar, the most important thing is to find out how they support their teachers out in the field. Some of the programs are more competent at organization and assistance than others, I’ve heard. (Again, no personal experience, sorry. :/) Just make sure you kind of know what to expect. Like if you’re likely to show up before they find you a place to live, or you show up expecting a place to live and they forgot to mention you have to find one yourself. That sort of thing.
Anyways - I think I would look into it if I were you, even as just a temporary sort of thing. You’ll have to let me know if you attempt it! :D
Wow thanks so much for the thorough reply! I didn’t really expect anyone to read the whole thing, let alone give me a detailed response. Very cool. I’m not totally put off by the grammar mistakes (and some of the ones on the website, like I said, were probably simple typos). It was mostly for the irony’s sake. Plus - as you said - these people aren’t teaching high-level English to 25-year-old native speakers, they’re essentially teaching it to the linguistic equivalent of children (or even literal kindergartners).
You also presented another good point. Right now I’m torn between a “developed” nation that requires more credentials and more effort vs. a less-popular choice of location that might be easier to jump into (not to mention more of an adventure). Europe would be SUPER cool, but the hoops you have to jump through are insane, and someplace like Korea or Brazil would be easier but scarier, because there is a lot less of that support system of English-speaking natives, American-friendly “tourist culture,” and, you know, sewage and stuff. And of course these pro/con balances are different for every location, so the final decision of where I want to go (assuming I go anywhere) is a LONG ways off.
But I definitely will be looking into it, because as a career choice it seems to fit me and my abilities/passions really well. All playful ribbing aside, the people who do this sort of thing are great people, and as I look more and more into it, I hear more and more how it’s basically one of the best things that will ever happen to you. If it goes anywhere, I’ll definitely be posting the results on this blog, because good or bad, it seems like one of those experiences that are truly unforgettable.