Thursday, September 8, 2011

Teaching Abroad? 11 Tips to Survive for First Year Teaching Abroad

Classroom Canada works with Canadian & American teachers in London, England, but "survival tips" for surviving your first year could be applied to any teacher working abroad.

I asked our teachers on facebook what advice they can offer a first year teacher to survive the year abroad and they replied:
Krystal: Be open to teaching opportunities outside of your normal 'comfort zone'- you may stumble upon your niche like I did :)
Kaari: Something that I did a lot of (and still sometimes do) not compare teaching in the UK to teaching in Canada....they are totally different!!! I STILL catch myself saying it wouldnt be like this back home....or this would never happen back home...
Taylor: ‎"Keep calm and carry on"... "Pick and choose your battles" and definitely what Krystal said - try everything...
Dawn: Go to the pub.
Lindsay: Make light of any situation, because well, I won't lie, it's tough sometimes. Don't foget to laugh!
I'm going to add a few more here, although I do love the ones above (especially Dawn's very honest answer!):
  • Don't forget what you love. If you love knitting, knit. If you love going to the gym, then find one & join it.  If you love dancing, dance! It's simple, but it's something that new teachers abroad often forget. Don't forget what you love & do it.
  • Plan your travels.  You will have a lot more holidays and opportunities to travel so live it up! Go to as many new places as you can, and get off the beaten track.  Your teaching will be better for it, plus you'll have more funny stories to share.
  • Get a skype account.  Or oovoo. Or Google+. I'm always surprised when teachers don't have skype accounts, and most of the teachers we interview don't have them already.  When you move to teach overseas, you will want to connect with your friends & family. Skype, oovoo, google+, whatever site you prefer.  Figure it out & spread the word to your friends & family so they can connect with you.
  • Start a blog.  Loads of teachers start blogs when they move abroad but don't keep them up.  A blog is a lot like a journal or diary, and you can choose to keep it private, open it up to a few of your friends, or just have it be wide open like this one.  It's best to commit to blogging and  book time to update it, otherwise it's easy to forget and will quickly become a task rather than a pleasure.  Having a record of your adventures, a place to post your photos & videos, and a place for your friends to comment is pretty cool. Yes, facebook can do this too - but a blog allows you to write or vlog about your experience too!  And you can even publish your blog as a book when you're all done. 
  • Don't forget that you're a person first, a teacher second.  Teach, teach hard, teach better - but remember to take time out for you.
Any others?  What advice would you tell a teacher who is moving overseas for the first time? Or, what advice would you give a new teacher no matter where they are?

Resources for Teaching in London

Classroom Canada website
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians ebook
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