Published 5th March 2021

unexpected outcomes of TEFL

Teaching English as a Foreign Language is a popular job for many reasons. There are not many other jobs which pay you to travel the world (or that are so enjoyable). Even if you choose to teach English online, you still have the opportunity to experience new cultures and places through your students, and you know there is always the opportunity to travel if and when you want to. And you probably already know a few of the benefits of being a TEFL teacher, but we thought we should share with you some of the unexpected outcomes of being a TEFL teacher as well.

Read more: Why You Should Teach English Abroad in 2021

You will find yourself

At the risk of being super-cheesy, travelling and teaching will help you figure out who you really are. We’re not saying your TEFL life will resemble Eat, Pray, Love¸ but we are saying it will have a few of those elements in it.

When you travel, you can become a new person. Think about it: nobody knows who you are. They don’t know that you have never watched Game of Thrones, that you’re likely to get hangry at 11 am, or that you once fell up the stairs. They don’t know you and still need to get to know you. You can be anyone you want to be. It’s the fresh start we all long for but usually never get.

You could find a new career path

Yes, you might discover that you were born to be a teacher but that’s not the only opportunity we’re talking about. Being a teacher introduces you to a lot of skills you might not have realized that you have. You might find you have an inexplicable passion for English grammar, in which case you could look into proofreading or editing. You might find you are good at promoting English lessons to students, in which case you could go into marketing. Or maybe your teaching and travelling show you that you’ve got a great eye for travel photography, in which case you can become a travel blogger or influencer.

You might emigrate

Many TEFL teachers choose TEFL because they are looking for a short break from “real life”. They imagine they’ll jet off to Thailand for a few months and then go home to mom and dad. They know that they’ll enjoy the travelling but they also know they will go home after their TEFL stint.

In reality, what happens to many TEFL teachers is that a gap year can turn into a gap decade. Once the TEFL bug has bitten, it is hard to give it all up to go home again. In fact, many people choose to live the rest of their lives in a foreign country. Or they might choose to move around, teaching English as a Foreign Language in different cities/countries/continents for the rest of their lives.

7 Unexpected Outcomes of a TEFL Life

You could fall in luuuurve

TEFL teachers are generally like-minded people. This means that the colleagues you teach with and the other teachers or travellers you meet in your new city are likely to share similar views on life and attitudes to living. They’ve already shown that, like you, they value travel and enjoy working with people. It is no secret that like-minded people often hang out with each other and enjoy each other’s company.

Do you get where we are going with this? Let’s just say that it is not uncommon for TEFL teachers to marry other TEFL teachers and spend their lives happily teaching and travelling the world. Or if you’re not keen on dating colleagues, just think how much bigger the dating pool is when you go to a new country!

Disclaimer: we’re not saying this is the reason you should choose to become a TEFL teacher. We cannot guarantee that you’ll meet your life partner while teaching English as a Foreign Language abroad. But you might.

You might write a book

As you can imagine, numerous adventures await you in TEFL life – especially if you are going to find your soulmate or emigrate! With TEFL becoming so much more popular and more people wanting to find out about it and how they can get involved, writing a book about your life should be a no-brainer.

You could learn a language

No matter where you end up teaching, it’s always a good idea to learn the local language, but that might be easier said than done. Learning a language is definitely challenging, but thankfully if you are living in the community it is a bit easier because you are constantly surrounded by the language and you will probably use it in your daily life. The benefits of being able to speak another language will last you long after you have left the country, though. It looks great on your CV and it could be the gateway to a career you never considered before.

Read more: Skills You’ll Pick Up Teaching English

You will never be the same again

That’s a big claim but we stick by it. Being a TEFL teacher will change you. Besides the fact that you can reinvent yourself, you will truly discover who you are, and it’s probably a different person from the person you thought you were. Being a TEFL teacher will give you skills you didn’t know you needed, and you will naturally become more independent and more resilient. You will be more likely to try new things or take risks than you were before. You will, essentially, be a different person.

There are many reasons you should give teaching English abroad a try – many, many reasons. The beauty of TEFL is that you can choose to teach for a summer, a year, or a lifetime, so if you find it’s not for you (which we highly doubt), you can always go back to your previous life. There is really no reason NOT to sign up for a TEFL course and start your TEFL adventure.

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