I've brought some friends with me today, and instead of an article, I want this to be more of a round-table discussion. A tête-à-tête. A chat.
See, I personally think that teaching abroad is the bees knees, and I think most of my Go Overseas colleagues would agree with me. I always thought there was a teach abroad program out there, a teach abroad experience, for everyone.
I was wrong. Sadly, there are just some people out there for whom teaching abroad isn't the best option, and I have found the five types of people who fit the bill. Five types of people who should never, ever teach abroad.
Would you like to meet them? You would? Then without further ado:
1. People Who Are in It For the Money
I got into the Teach Abroad game for the sweet bankroll and lifestyle it afforded me. I wanted to have so many Ferraris I could strap 'em together and ride them around like roller skates. I want to take private jets TO my private jets. So like I said, I want to get into teaching abroad.
People tell me all the time that the biggest reward of teaching abroad is the experience. I say, can I get that experience in new, unmarked bills?
People tell me all the time that the biggest reward of teaching abroad is the experience. I say, can I get that experience in new, unmarked bills? So you changed a child's life with your encouraging instruction. Maybe they even saw the world as a little better place. Great. Fan-freakin-tastic. You ever drank champagne out of a golden duck at your parents' lake house? No? See, we're even.
I figure, if it ain't taxable, it ain't valuable. Keep your sunsets with your students in Saudi Arabia. Hold onto your holidays with your high schoolers in Honduras. Meanwhile, I'll keep all this disposable income. "You ever seen a full moon over the Indian Ocean?" Psh. You ever seen True Blood on blu-ray?
2. People Who Can't Handle Stress
Routine. Routine. Routine. Whatever buffoon posited that variety is the spice of life must have been sniffing the wrong oregano.
What is there to see that I can't see from behind my locked front door? I know some friends who taught abroad. "Every day was a new adventure!" "I tried so many new things I never thought I would!" Slow down there, space cowboy. Some of us prefer our variety in our whole bran cereal, not our lives, thank you very much. If god wanted us to try new things, why would he have made macaroni and cheese so darn good, every time?
Look, I get it, I do. Some people are looking for something more than the "same old same old." Some people look at the prospect of working a boring, meaningless, faceless office job and think, "I want something more." Some people see a cubicle and think a cage.
But I ask you this: what more could you want? What sort of excitement do you think teaching abroad offers that a cubicle can't? You want excitement? Paula from Accounting is making her spicy chili on Wednesday -- SPICY! And next Friday, we might even have a meeting! No way teaching abroad could ever be as fun.
3. People with Unrealistic Expectations of the World
I've never been abroad before, but my butler Carter informs me that there are, indeed, other countries. This being the case, I shall posit some things about the rest of the world.
Firstly, I assume that everywhere else is precisely like here. I was raised to think and act a certain way, and I expect the rest of the world to adjust to me accordingly. I am utterly inflexible in this, and I get quite bent out of shape when others won't see things my way or behave properly. What terrible manners.
Secondly, I will continue to judge the rest of the world based upon my own, narrow upbringing. If a perfectly reasonable and necessary action would seem out of place in my home country, I will find it absurd. Context means nothing to me whatsoever, and I am no more interested in it than I am in the cultures of everywhere else on earth outside of my specific country club.
I will continue to judge the rest of the world based upon my own, narrow upbringing. If a perfectly reasonable and necessary action would seem out of place in my home country, I will find it absurd.
Thirdly, I expect the rest of the world to be able to maintain the same levels of cleanliness and hygiene that I've grown so fond of here in the richest nation on earth. Further, I expect food to be abundant, clean, ripe, and cheap. I want water to be clean and cold, and also free. And don't even get me started on that dirty and strange street food! If I am able to enjoy a certain quality of life, on nothing more than an income in the ninety-ninth percentile on earth, then surely others with less should, too.
If I were to ever teach abroad, it would have to be somewhere that met those criteria. Like maybe Vancouver, or Palm Springs.
4. People Who Hate People
I love kids! I just hate the way they ask questions.
Oh, that sounds bad! You know what I mean though -- the way they just always want to learn. Always curious, always asking. Who, what, when, where, why, how, like I'm a mother bird feeding knowledge worms to my kid-chicks.
No sooner have they understood something that they want to understand something else. One discovery at a time, Copernicus!
Some people find their energy infectious. I find it infected. All day they're laughing, studying, playing, singing, reading, writing -- just relax! You're making me look bad.
I can't even blink in proper rhythm without two-and-two-thirds cups of coffee in me. I've heard it said that the joy in their faces just lights up the room and keeps you going when you're teaching kids, but a GPS with a night light does that fine too, thanks.
I want to make a positive impact on young people's lives. I was just thinking I would start a little smaller... like maybe with my characters in Minecraft.
5. People Who Are Lazy Bums
Look, brah. When I set out to shred the gnar of life, I wasn’t thinking about the bogus punch-clock conspiracy of the so-called “rat race.” I was thinking about surfing some crunchy waves down by the pier, or maybe starting my own radical pizza joint, where, like, you make the pizzas for us! So like, we would totally just get paid to eat pizzas! Gnarly.
But then my unfair, fascist pops (who’s let me crash on his couch well into my twenties) totally harshes my mellow and is all, “Chad, what you described isn’t a thing.” And I’m all, “As if, bro!” So now I think I might want to teach abroad instead, because like, guh, right? It's not reaaallly a serious job and the vacation time is sweet.
I guess the kids deserve a good teacher... but the waves, brah. The waves...
And how hard can it be anyway? Wake up five minutes before class, roll into my seat at the bell, zone out for eight hours, go home, rinse and repeat, just like high school. Right? I guess it might be just a little more work for the teachers -- got to write detention slips, too! Hahahahahaha. Radical.
Okay, maybe I’d have to work on my lesson plans on my own time. I’d still have lots of juicy clock-tocks for wicked sweet chillage, amigo. Yeah, okay, a good lesson plan takes some… well, planning. I could get some TEFL training beforehand to help, but come on -- I already know how to make a Tasty Egg and Falafel Lunch, bro. Oh, and I guess I can’t really skip class, either. Ever. Which is very un-radical.
So I have to write good lesson plans, be to school on time every day, and not come in on Mondays and Fridays hungover off my derriere? I don’t even know how to do one of those things. I guess the kids deserve a good teacher...but the waves, brah. The waves...
Thanks, folks. So next time someone tells you Sasquatch isn't real or the Tooth Fairy directly conflicts with Bernoulli's Principle, tell them that you found five types of people who should never teach abroad, in a sea of seven billion people who would love it.
Are you not one of these "types"? Tell us in the comments below what you love about teaching abroad, or, if you're not teaching yet, take a look at some of our favorite teach abroad opportunities!Photo Credits: Mikecogh, Marinaccio, and Richelle Gamlam.