This year I am celebrating my 20th year as an ESL (English as a Second Language) Instructor or what I consider the best job in the world. For seven of those years, I had the privilege of teaching in Hong Kong, SAR, China. Being a native speaker meant that there were unlimited opportunities for me to grow as a teaching professional. During the day, I taught English at a college, but I also taught listening and speaking at a university, developed an English course for financial professionals, and taught presentation skills to business people. All of these opportunities helped me immensely when I returned to Canada.
Living in Asia is also the perfect place for someone with wanderlust. The numbers of holidays per year exceeded what I was used to in North America so I took advantage of this. Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Myanmar, Macau…just to name a few incredible places that I was able to visit. I also attended and presented at several TESL/TEFL conferences in the region. Penang, Malaysia was certainly a highlight and this opportunity gave me the confidence to present at TESL conferences in Canada.
Living and working in another country and experiencing another culture will change you in a positive way. I realized quickly, with the help of my considerate colleagues, that a Westerner acting like a Westerner just wasn’t going to work well in an Asian culture. Because of this experience, I feel that I am better equipped to understand cultural norms and behaviors and to better understand my students’ experience with culture shock.
In my role as a TESL trainer, I always tell ESL teacher-trainees to teach abroad if they can. It is an incredible way to gain teaching experience and develop as a teaching professional. Being an ESL teacher is really the “golden ticket” to teach anywhere in the world.
I am now assisting a former colleague to recruit ESL teachers for China. If you are a native English Speaker with a university degree, and interested in the unlimited opportunities and professional development available to you from working abroad, please get in touch with me so you can also experience the “best job in the world”.
Article Written by Patrice Palmer, M.Ed., M.A. TESL has 20 years’ experience as an ESL Teacher, TESL Trainer, and Curriculum Writer. Patrice now works as a teacherpreneur doing the things that she loves such as writing courses, sharing teaching materials at Her Website, instructional coaching and traveling at any time of the year to conduct short-term training around the world.
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