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TEFL Professionals: the one thing you wish you knew?
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bograt



Joined: 12 Nov 2014
Posts: 297

PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:00 pm    Post subject: Re: TEFL Professionals: the one thing you wish you knew? Reply with quote

MsHoffman wrote:
Greetings TEFL Professionals,

I'm about to start applying to my first TEFL position, and I have a question for you all:

What's the one thing you wish you knew before your first overseas teaching job? I've been teaching English to adult learners for 11 years in the U.S. but I know that doesn't prepare me for living overseas. So what do you wish you knew prior to your departure?

I realize this could be a country-specific question but I haven't settled on which country I'm focusing on quite yet. So I suppose it's more of a general "knowledge and attitude for working abroad" kind of thing.

Thanks for reading,
MsHoffman


Looking back I don't think I would change anything. I was a lot more clueless and naive back then and probably a worse teacher, but in many ways a much nicer person. You can't have one without the other.
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Sudz



Joined: 09 Aug 2004
Posts: 431

PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wish I had discovered the enjoyment of studying a second language earlier - spent 8 years in HCMC, and learned only a minimal amount of Vietnamese.

Also, I wish I had known earlier that upgrading my qualifications while continuing to teach overseas wouldn't be as difficult as I had imagined.

Oh, and I wish I had been a little more assertive with regards to improving the quality of my teaching earlier on (in my 20s). I pretty much got to a certain level, then more or less coasted. Now that I am teaching an intensive IELTS course to students wishing to study overseas, I feel I still have much to learn.
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In the heat of the moment



Joined: 22 May 2015
Posts: 251
Location: SAUDI ARABIA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Non, je ne regrette rien.

Having gone through what I have, has made me the person I am. Also knowing very little at the start makes for an interesting experience throughout. Obviously there's an argument for getting good qualifications and starting out in a decent international school, but there's also an argument for starting out in some backwater in SE Asia and honing your chops on the job. I think it depends on whether you view life as a competition, a marathon, a series of sprints, an experience or something else.

YMMV.
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SammytheSlug



Joined: 23 Nov 2016
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking back to the beginning, I wish I'd known to just relax and enjoy it all. Too many new teachers spend too much time stressed out. It's a fun job, enjoy it.

I'm much better in that regard now.

Also, don't listen too much to people who are unhappy with how their lives have turned out. I'm a decade in now and still very much enjoying my tefl.
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Kowloon



Joined: 11 Jan 2016
Posts: 119

PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You've had a lot of great suggestions already. I will chime in with a couple of boring ones!

I wish I had gotten my CELTA before I started my first job and I wish I had held out for something a bit more respectable after I did eventually get it!
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getbehindthemule



Joined: 15 Oct 2015
Posts: 437
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SammytheSlug wrote:
Looking back to the beginning, I wish I'd known to just relax and enjoy it all. Too many new teachers spend too much time stressed out. It's a fun job, enjoy it.

I'm much better in that regard now.

Also, don't listen too much to people who are unhappy with how their lives have turned out. I'm a decade in now and still very much enjoying my tefl.


This!

Looking back, in my first year or two I was constantly stressing over all sorts of little issues. I still take it as serious and prepare the same as I did, but I've since learned to relax more and enjoy it and have become a much better teacher because of this.
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