Something that seems to perturb most English teachers is this: what will I do if/when I go back home? Particularly in Japan, it seems that almost any lazy, underqualified bum can get a job (I’m looking squarely into the mirror here) and have a pretty comfortable lifestyle.
That comfort zone is easy to get used to. But once in a while, the issue of what other trades I can turn my hand to should the need/desire to return to Blighty comes up. Other teachers feel the same. So I’ve compiled a few ideas as to what your teaching experience might enable you to do back in your home country, be it Canada, England or The Galapagos Islands.
That’s probably the most disappointing thing I could have said, right? But it stands to reason that your experience of teaching English abroad will be valid when you return home and millions of recent immigrants want to pay you their hard-earned cash for your lessons. It’s an option.
Teach at a community school
Has TEFL given you the teaching bug? Returning home to pursue a career as a state teacher could be the thing for you. I know others who have done it. Of course, your TEFL experience won’t really do you many favours in terms of job-hunting, but it does give you the confidence and the know-how when it comes to standing up in front of a group of uninterested adolescents. Another qualification (such as a PGCE in England) will probably be necessary, but it’s a job for life.
Again, a further qualification will be necessary (most likely), such as an MA or a PhD. University work is rewarding and challenging, and your TEFL experience should help you to feel more comfortable in the role of teacher.
I’ve heard that TEFL experience means squat to most employers in the UK, but one place where your communication and language skills can be put to good use is in business. Whether it’s talking on the phone or expressing your ideas in a meeting, the experience of teaching English provides you with some excellent transferable skills that will help you to put your ideas across firmly and clearly; skills that are valued in sales, marketing and other roles.
If you’ve succeeded in moving on after teaching English, please leave us a comment below with your experience of life after TEFL. As for me, right now, I have no plans to go back – Japan for life!