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Lizzie Gayton

A Whirlwind in a Metropolis on the Move...

My advice to those who are thinking about teaching abroad is just go for it!
My advice to those who are thinking about teaching abroad is just go for it!

When I finished university in July 2013, I was all for getting a graduate job and settling down into a 9-5 lifestyle. However, due to the evident current job climate, this didn’t happen. After graduation, I moved back in with my parents and found a temping job for the next 6 months in the countryside where I grew up.

The job was ok, the people I worked with were great and living rent-free back in my family home obviously had its benefits. However, something was missing. I saw the 120-hour TEFL course advertised on Facebook one day and I just thought “why not?” Teaching had never really crossed my mind.

I completed the course last November, got the job in December and moved to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in January! It all seems like a bit of a whirlwind, but I definitely made the right decision.

For the past 4 months, I have mainly taught 6-year-olds five days a week. They have been so sweet and all the schools I have worked in have been really welcoming which has been great for my first teaching position. The children get so excited when I walk into the classroom and I usually get an abundance of drawings, which they are always eager to give me. I’ve also had some pretty funny experiences.

I remember one lesson to be particularly funny. I asked the students to get their workbooks out, and one boy at the front didn’t do this - instead he got two fish out his desk! (see picture). I tried to ask him where he got them from, but the language barrier prevented me from ever finding out. At the next lesson, the teaching assistant had put the two fish in a water bottle on the front desk! Very funny.

Moving to Vietnam was, at first, very daunting. It was a lot of firsts for me. First time living abroad, first time in Asia, and first time teaching. At Heathrow airport, I was pretty terrified but I knew this was normal. I could easily have stayed at my job in Norfolk and carried on with life the way it was. But I didn’t want to do this, and living in a completely new culture has given me the confidence to do whatever I want. Vietnam is a really beautiful place and with my time off, I have managed to travel to other parts of the country.

The TEFL course with The TEFL Academy taught me how to plan lessons, given me different teaching methods and helped me with classroom management skills, all of which I needed as a first-time teacher. However, I feel I have been constantly learning whilst teaching in the classroom. Being thrown in at the deep end is definitely the best way to start and I was so glad I hadn't made the choice to move to London once I discovered how rewarding teaching could be. Honestly, Vietnam beats any UK location and I'd rather teach here and get that feeling of satisfaction than work somewhere prestigious, even somewhere like Cambridge University.

My advice to those who are thinking about teaching abroad is just go for it! It may be daunting at first, but life would be boring if we didn’t face challenging experiences. The TEFL course is very supportive and I would really recommend completing one with the TEFL Academy.

I’ve also been keeping a blog of my time here, please take a look: www.fromswaffhamtosaigon.blogspot.com

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