I have always seen posts online about teaching English in far-flung non-English speaking countries like China and Thailand. The experience is often romanticised and sold off , for example, as ‘a life changing summer abroad’. I got a chance to teach English to kids at a summer school in Turkey, where I study.
Here are a few lessons I picked out from my experience:
1. You Need To Learn The Language
This is was a reality check for me. I realized that when these teaching opportunities are advertised they never tell you that you need some knowledge of the local language. It is because while teaching children and adults , they are most likely not going to be responsive to being thrown into the deep end of a foreign langauge. At least for the first few lessons, you are going to need to explain concepts further in the local language.
2. Teaching Is Difficult
I was a difficult student throughout primary and high school. Now I feel like karma is getting back at me for all the trouble I caused. I have only been teaching for five months but I feel like sending all my teachers branded mugs as an apology for all the stress I caused them. It is sad that I had to experience this to appreciate the work that teachers do. I also had to learn how to be versatile and creative as I often had to switch up my teaching methods when I found that the kids were not responsive to what I had prepared for the day.
During a teaching abroad experience, you are most likely going to teach from scratch. This is especially difficult, if like me, your grasp of the local language is not good enough. Through my experience, I have learnt to be patient, especially when dealing with young children.
4. Progress Brings Fulfillment
My most fulfilling moment in my five weeks of teaching was listening to the kids sing and recite English nursery rhymes. Boy did my heart swell! All the frustration finally paid off.
This article was written by Capital Campus Correspondent Garnet Achieng’.