Asking For Help

The willingness to ask for help has to be one of the most important abilities for anyone interested in teaching and just generally living abroad.

In the classroom, I think it’s important to know where to start finding your own answers because you can’t be totally reliant on others for information that’s easily available elsewhere and more or less straightforward. That said, there are times when its highly useful to get the insight of an experienced teacher, or even just another perspective from a teacher with the same level of experience as you – or less. You don’t need to ask them for all there is to know about defining and non-defining relative clauses – you need to educate yourself, form your own idea about what to present or which examples to use, and then see if they agree or can add any other ideas.

In general, it’s better to ask if you don’t know than to wing it, especially as a new teacher – and this applies to admin issues as well. As you gain more experience, you’ll also gain skill at dealing with questions you don’t really know the answer to or coming back to something you made a mistake on.

And teaching is hardly the only area where asking for help can improve your life. As I admitted here, I’m rather clueless with directions. Asking (lots of) people for help along the way makes me very effective – on occasion even more effective than people who have all their directional facilities. Generally I combine this method with checking on a map first and/or forming a mental image of where I think something is…but confirming or fine tuning it with others is great.

Self-sufficiency is great, and knowing you can manage on your own if you have to is priceless. But there are plenty of times when asking for help is the logical and even the “right” thing to do; do it, and in exchange be prepared to offer your help when it’s needed.