Many people who are considering teaching abroad wonder if doing so is a good move for their future. They ask questions like, How will employers view my time abroad? According to a recent Forbes Magazine article, which compared data from over 1,200 employers, the personality traits you possess are just as important to hiring managers as what’s on your resume. As it turns out, the best takeaways from your experience overseas are the qualities you hone while teaching abroad—which are a bit less tangible, but no less valuable.
Here are the top 5 traits employers are looking for, according to Forbes, and how teaching English abroad helps you showcase them:
Few could dispute the fact that teaching is a respected profession in a league of its own. Being an English teacher requires autonomy, personal responsibility and seamless organization skills. For Josh Yardley, who first taught English in Germany, TEFL was key in developing professionally: “I learned how to organized myself, how to schedule, how to use a binder, and how to be a round-the-clock professional.”
2. High energy
It certainly demonstrates energy to research a teaching location, get TEFL certified and pick up and move for a year or more. You need energy to learn a new language, adapt to a strange new culture and make all new friends, not to mention the energy it takes just to get in front of class after class and make English grammar fun. Gordon Brown, teaching in Chile, would agree: “Varying the activities to keep the students interested over a period of two hours has been the largest obstacle I have faced.” That takes energy!
Getting in front of a class of students is a stellar demonstration of confidence– but doing so in a foreign country turns you into a rock star. Returned EFL teachers confirm this time and again, like Kaye McDaniel, who taught in Japan: “I know that after hopping across the world and taking on such a new position on a whim, I can do anything I want in the future and I know that I will do it well!”
It’s no surprise that employers like to see that you can manage yourself with little supervision. Being an EFL teacher demands this quality. English teachers must plan and tie their lessons carefully, with students’ age, language level and interests in mind. When the bell rings, it’s just you and the students, and teachers are on their own! Add to this, that they are also responsive for assessing student progress each term and reporting this status to their coordinator and possibly to parents.
5. Intellectual Curiosity
There is perhaps no quality that is better demonstrated by teaching English as a foreign language as this one. Only the intellectually curious will move to a foreign country and embrace not only its culture and people, but all the chaos and adventure that comes with that life-changing decision, too. You, more than other candidates an employer interviews, exemplify this sought-after quality!
So, on your next job interview, when the employer asks about your best qualities, just name of these 5 qualities that every great EFL teacher has!