Teaching abroad forces you to re-evaluate everything you know. Having lived and traveled extensively across a few different countries, I can say that most countries – even very open ones – are pretty ethnocentric.
Spending an extended period of time in another country allows you to discover more about the world and seeing things from another point of view. It helps you see what the rest of the world offers and makes you a fuller, richer person. In addition to that, if you decide that teaching English isn’t ultimately the career you want and that you want to return to your home country, teaching abroad makes you a much more resilient person and provides you with lessons that will last a lifetime.
About the Author: Mike Masse has been teaching English in Japan for 15 years. He has lived in 7 cities, including Tsuruga, Himeji, Matsuyama, Kurashiki, Sakata, Takarazuka, and Kawanishi.
Working with MY English School:
To be completely honest, I applied for a job with MY English School on a whim. I wasn’t really looking for work as I was happy at my previous school, but the job did seem interesting and it was in an area I’d never been to before.
It wasn’t until I showed up for my demo lesson (the final stage of the application process) that, as I got to know the teachers, the owners, and their philosophy and methodology that I realized they were doing something really interesting.
The biggest thing that attracted me to MY was that they were doing things that I was starting to see as the way forward. All their teachers have their TESOL or TEFL certification and are proficient in the use of communicative lesson plans. Once I saw that I knew I had to be a part of it, and I haven’t regretted it once.
Being Flexible Goes a Long Way!
It can be scary picking up roots and moving halfway across the world to do a job you may not be sure you like. However, if you’re flexible, friendly, and open-minded (yet not gullible), like me, you will find it to be amazing, and the rewards from teaching make it a great job.
As for Japan, I wouldn’t still be here after 15 years if I didn’t love it. Yes, there’s stuff you have to adjust to and things you may not care for, but if you tend towards a live and let live attitude, you’ll be fine and you’ll get a lot from a country that finds ways to surprise me even now.
The greatest lesson I’ve probably learned is that we’re all basically the same. Sure, we look a bit different and we are sometimes raised a little different, but, by and large, people are people. We all have the same needs, desires, and drives as everybody else. And, in that, we are one. As such, it’s better to work together and get things done.