How to Teach English Abroad Revealed in First-Time ESL Teacher's Diary

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Wanting to travel after university, Dan Hinkley turned to ESL (English as a Second Language) teaching. Within two months he had completed a teacher training course and moved from England to Thailand. In his online diary at TEFL Net, Dan documents his experiences from trainee to teacher and provides tips for all would-be ESL teachers.

Dan Hinkley finished university with a burning desire to travel. Two months after this first took hold, he had moved 4,000 miles around the world, moved into a nice apartment and was working in a job he found enjoyable, challenging and rewarding in an affluent area of Bangkok.

Back in England, he had quickly discovered that post-university finances meant a round-the-world ticket wasn't an option, and -- in common with most graduates -- having little work experience, had found it impossible to obtain a good job abroad. That’s when Dan discovered the possibilities of ESL teaching. A one month, workload-intensive course, a CELTA qualification gained, and suddenly opportunity came a-knocking!

Teaching ESL is teaching English as a Second Language, that is teaching English to those who don’t speak it as their mother tongue. ESL teaching is snowballing in popularity as more and more people realize that just being a native English speaker means they have an opportunity regardless of what qualifications they previously had. It is however a huge step to take: to drop everything, pay $2000 for the course, and find a good job in the area of the world you want isn't always easy.

Dan has been working in his first teaching job in Thailand for about a year now. During this time he has kept an online diary called "Talkin' Proper – Diary of a First-Time ESL Teacher" at TEFL Net (http://www.tefl.net/~dan), describing everything that happened from a week before his CELTA course until now, a year down the road. From the sublime to the ridiculous, his life is an example that is sometimes to follow and sometimes to avoid at all costs! His diary provides an invaluable insight into the rollercoaster ride that is the first year in ESL teaching, and in doing so makes the "huge step" a little shorter.

The world is conversing in English; it has become the lingua franca of business, the Internet and international negotiation. The language itself has come a long way since it was almost replaced by the elegant French that English noblemen found more aesthetically pleasing to the ear. To have English at your disposal is a major advantage throughout the world.

Dan spent his first few months teaching in Bangkok before moving to a small town called Lop Buri. It is here that Dan's aspirations of travel and teaching have been truly fulfilled. From being one of the few foreigners to take part in the world-renowned "monkey festival" to witnessing age-old Buddhist rituals, as an ESL teacher he has been able to shed the traveller stigma and find a place within a society that is very much traditionally Thai.

"Talkin' Proper" provides a unique glimpse into the world of ESL teaching, an insight into everything, from which TEFL course to choose to what to pack for the first teaching position; it makes readers aware of what is required in the life of an ESL teacher and better equipped should they choose to take the plunge and go into the world of ESL.

"Talkin' Proper" is located at: http://www.tefl.net/~dan

About TEFL Net (http://www.tefl.net)

TEFL Net is a free site for English as a Foreign Language professionals, providing listings of TEFL courses and ESL jobs, lesson plans, teacher forums, ESL resources, articles, book reviews and language school management information.

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Josef Essberger
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