What to expect during your first month Teaching Abroad

Lucy-Louise in a boat in Thailand

Greenheart Travel recently heard from Lucy-Louise, a teacher abroad in Thailand. She writes with some good advice for what to expect during your first few weeks in a new country teaching English.  

What to Expect during your First Month Teaching Abroad

After weeks, months, or even years planning your Teach Abroad trip, most of us English as a Second Language teachers will go to our host countries with various expectations. Whether that’s the progress your students will make under your tutelage, the friends you will make whilst away, the language you will learn, or the trips you will go on while you are away! Regardless of what your expectations are, your time as a teacher abroad will be much more than you anticipated.

Greenheart Travel Teach abroad day in the life

Greenheart Travel Teach abroad “day in the life”

With that in mind, here are four things that you may not have considered but should expect from those memorable first four weeks:

  1. You will have adjustments to make! Starting a new job, moving to a new place, and being immersed in an entirely new culture are exciting novelties. But they do not come without a few challenges. However, don’t let this put you off!  Make some adjustments and the rewards will make the challenges all the more worthwhile. One of the most immediate of these challenges is, of course, the language barrier, but others may be the hours you’ll be working (most teachers start around 7:30 a.m.!), or adjusting your lesson plans to fit your students’ abilities. To overcome these challenges, be patient, come prepared, and be willing to adapt. By the end of your first four weeks, these challenges will seem like vague worries whilst the accomplishments you’ve made will give you new confidence to tackle each day.
  2. There will be a bond with your students. When you first start teaching, your students are strangers to you and you to them. In my first week I struggled with names and wondered how I would ever get to know my very young students (who were only three years old!) if I couldn’t understand them. However, when you see your students everyday you build a strong connection to them, you do come to know each student individually, and learn how to communicate with them. I recommend trying to spend a little bit of one-on-one time with each student if you can!
  3. Appreciate a new normal AND your unique experience. After a month, things will start to feel normal. You’ll have your morning coffee spot, you’ll know which classrooms you’re meant to be in, and you’ll know how much time you’ve got after work to meet friends. Whilst the feeling of normality is a great sign that you’re comfortable and thriving, try not to let a mundane attitude stop you from recognising how unique and privileged what you’re doing is!
  4. You will pick up the language. It would be misleading to suggest that you will be fluent after only four weeks, however, you will probably pick up a few unusual words! Fairly quickly, I learnt phrases like ‘look’, ‘listen’, ‘this one’, ‘that one’, and ‘sit down’! Capitalise on this and try to learn some basics and practice-practice-practice when you’re out. It’s very rewarding, builds confidence, and the more you learn the more you’ll understand the culture.

After your first four weeks, you will have overcome a range of challenges, made some unforgettable memories, and made new friends and connections that will shape your experience aboard. Enjoy and embrace it all!

Lucy-Louise in a boat in Thailand

Thanks Lucy-Louise for sharing your advice for Teaching Abroad!  

Does anyone have suggestions for new teachers abroad?  Drop us a note if so. We’d love to hear from you.

If you’re interested in Teaching Abroad, visit our website. We have awesome destinations still open for 2022 start dates.  It’s time to travel for a change!

One thought on "What to expect during your first month Teaching Abroad"

  1. Damaris Weche says:

    Thanks for this great advice. I am hopeful that all will be well for me.

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