Travel the World through Teaching; People of All Ages Are Deciding to Teach English Overseas and Finding It a Rewarding Experience

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), June 11, 2007 | Go to article overview

Travel the World through Teaching; People of All Ages Are Deciding to Teach English Overseas and Finding It a Rewarding Experience


Byline: Jane Gallagher reports

LANGUAGE teacher Ann Molloy recalls the time she had to enlist the services of a Spanish bouncer to separate two of her students from Iraq and Iran.

"Life teaching English as a foreign language is never dull. It was a volatile class, but over time everyone bonded and helped each other which makes teaching English such a challenge," she says.

Ann, who lives in Formby was just 18 when she took her first teaching post overseas and in recent years there has been a growing demand for English speakers of all ages to teach the language abroad.

But the murder of the 22-year-old British language teacher, Lindsay Ann Hawker, in Japan in March, has raised questions over the risks involved, particularly for women.

"I don't know much about the Hawker case itself but common sense goes a long way and I certainly never felt threatened during my time teaching English as a foreign language," says Amanda Mason, who now trains teachers on the TESOL (Teachers of English To Speakers of Other Languages) course at Liverpool John Moores University.

Amanda fell into teaching by accident in her early 20s after graduating with a degree in agriculture.

"I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do and went travelling. In Thailand, I needed to earn some money and they were crying out for English teachers at a local language school. I started work and I had great fun."

After returning to the UK, Amanda gained a TEFL (Teaching English as Foreign Language) qualification before returning to teach in Indonesia and Spain.

"Once I qualified, it was much better. I got a post at a well-run language school in Indonesia with my flight paid and accommodation.

"For me, it was my love of travelling which guided me into this career. It is not until you work in a country that you really get to understand the people and the culture. And when you are working in small groups, especially teaching a language, you find out so much about people."

Lynda Hazelwood, a language teacher for the past 30 years, agrees.

"In my first post, I was very nervous as in those days there were very few courses about and I was taken on without any qualification in TEFL," says Lynda, of Knutsford.

"Fortunately, I was already a language teacher, but I was in for a shock when I found that my students knew more grammar than I did!

"I thought I knew English grammar but I didn't know about count and mass nouns or third conditionals," says Lynda, who with her husband, Dave Buckle, now runs Intesol and www.teflstop.com offering courses to train people to teach English as a foreign language at centres in the UK and across the world.

"I expected my students to know little or no English, but you tend to forget that English is the language of commerce worldwide and it is also the main language of pop music, so almost everyone has been exposed to English unless they have been living on a desert island."

"It is a very rewarding job and we are in regular contact with many of our students who are living and working in far-flung places across the globe," says Dave.

They include Heather Washtak, 32, currently in the United States, and 55-year-old Marie Gordon, who now lives in China.

"I have a degree in English Literature and was trying to find a way to use my degree in a setting that would be both challenging and invigorating," says Heather who has also taught in Greece.

"The overall experience in Greece was unbelievable and has no doubt changed my life. I have continued to teach in the United States and, at the same time, study for my Master's degree in TESOL and bilingual education.

"As for safety in Greece, I found it to be very safe and simply followed guidelines from the language centre and others familiar with that area. When I travelled around the island, I was always with another person or small group. …

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