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5 Ways Teaching English Changes Your Life and The Lives of Others

1. Opens Doors to New Opportunities

I once met with a good friend when I was uncertain about teaching English and my impact on the world.  We were discussing the importance of teaching English and why it mattered and she told me “Clare, you are providing these students a sense of belonging into a world they otherwise would not have.” That comment struck such a deep cord with me.

Teaching English opens doors for people to have better career opportunities and access new relationships. It is to see the world through the eyes of another language. In addition, my job enables students to access a whole new aspect of themselves they may never have had otherwise.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all could experience this? Now, that’s impact!

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2. A Sense of Connection, Appreciation, and Openness to Other Cultures

Most obviously, when we teach English, we are getting to know so many people from around the world. When your lessons are designed with the students’ ideal learning environment in mind,  you will learn more about their culture, language, traditions, religious practices, and lifestyle.

When we are equipped with this knowledge, we can become more empathetic and understanding teachers. It helped me to see how both different and similar we all are as human beings living on one planet together! This “exposure to the world” is one of the most exciting aspects of the TESOL job.

It will definitely be the aspect that you look forward to each day as you enter the classroom!

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Teaching English Makes A Difference

3. English Teachers are Multi-Skilled!

When I think back to my English teaching days, I reflect back on how resilient I was. This resilience came from the ability to do so much at once. Teaching English includes the following skills to name a few, teaching a brand new skill to someone you’ve just met, lesson planning, a deep understanding of complex language topics, and a deep awareness and sensitivity to learning styles.

All in all, you will develop so much confidence when you begin to teach because of the plethora of skills you will develop. If you are new to teaching English, don’t panic! An accredited TESOL course will equip you with the skills you need to succeed on the job.

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4. Developed Sense of Curiosity and Empathy

When I taught for the first time, I was nervous about my lesson plan and how the students would receive me. Yet, once I started to teach, I began to notice that there was more to it than just ‘teaching’. I began to notice and listen carefully to what my students were experiencing.

They were all arriving in a new country for the first time and with that came plenty of emotion and new experiences. Not only were students learning a new language but they were all living with a host family that lived an hour away from campus. In addition, they were all navigating their experiences through the big streets of Toronto as best they could.

Even after I finished teaching and started another career, I began to feel complete and utter empathy for their lived experience.Traveling and learning a new language is tough! It takes a lot of courage, vulnerability, and determination to open your mouth and speak another language.

Once you’ve supported people to do this, you’ll be able to support anyone who has met challenges in their life and wants to overcome them!

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Teach English to Make An Impact!5. A Broader Perspective On Life

Teaching English is an excellent practice in developing present-moment awareness.

Life will always bring us challenges outside of our teaching job, especially if we are teaching English abroad.

Every time I stepped into the classroom, however, all of my worries disappeared. When I ‘turned on the teaching switch’,  I was able to be fully present for my students.

Teaching can often feel like a performance. We are showing a side of ourselves that is confident, outgoing, trustworthy, and knowledgeable.

In reality, there are just going to be days when you won’t feel all of these things. It’s important to find that spark to be present for your students and their learning journey. When we are present for others’ challenges to learn a new language, our problems seem quite insignificant.

Beyond this, the fun you have teaching will often trump whatever problems you’re dealing with. So go out, smile, and have some fun!

Recommended Reading:

Do I Need To Speak A Foreign Language to Teach English Abroad?

Teaching Refugees: Teaching English to Low Literacy Adults

TESOL Teacher in Madagascar: Using Authentic Material in the ESL Classroom

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