Making The Most Of Your Summer Vacation

summer-session-picture.jpgWith summer just around the corner, I asked Tedkarma to share his thoughts on relevant-to-TEFL summer vacations.

Most of us in the overseas TEFL world started out with a great excitement that we would be able to get out and experience a much larger world than we had previously. That by working in foreign countries we would be able to experience cultures and people at much deeper level than we would by just passing through on vacation. And so we do!

Another benefit of our jobs is that we often work next to or near great destinations where we are able to enjoy the fruits of our labor – often on extended vacations.

After working in five “foreign” counties – I would like to recommend that you spread your wings a bit and explore the opportunity to experience living and working in more than just one country. Each country adds a new wrinkle to your understanding of the world and the students in every country have different needs and requirements that will stretch your skills and make you a better teacher.

I like to think that in Botswana I learned patience. Korea helped me learn how to teach large groups of students. Taiwan made me pay more attention to grammar. Saudi Arabia forced me to be more assertive in the classroom and I learned how to discipline students with a smile on my face. Thailand taught me the importance of humor in the classroom – and how to better to teach pronunciation. And, from all those countries I leaned much more about languages, culture and history than I would ever have learned at home – all while earning a good wage.

What’s the best way to research your next teaching destination? Go there on vacation. And why not teach in a great location? Try a tropical island, an environmental wonderland, an ancient historic city. Really – the world is your oyster.

If you are interested in a location enough to visit it – you might well enjoy working and living there. While on vacation visit a few schools and talk to the teachers. Ask about wages and working conditions and what the students are like. Check the local newspapers and see what jobs are on offer and the requirements.
We all know the standard websites for jobs and day-dream a bit cruising through them – but actually visiting a location will give you a much better feel about the realities of living and working there. Talking to schools and teachers in person will give you a far more accurate impression than glossy photos on a webpage.

Enjoy your vacation and put it to work for you.

For more Tedkarma, also check out his free online TEFL training site, and why not have a look at his past contributions to the TEFL Logue too.