Preparing how to handle the stress of teaching overseas will really improve your experience. Teaching English in a foreign country as part of your gap year is likely to be one of the most demanding experiences you’ll ever have. It entails relocating to a new country, relocating to a new home, and beginning a new career, all at once! You’ll also have to converse in a language you may not understand.
There will be times when you feel like you’re living out your fantasy, and your Instagram feed will appear better than it has in the past! However, you may feel bewildered, lonely, and stressed out at times, particularly in the beginning. It can happen to anyone. And dealing with unpleasant days without your usual support network might be difficult.
Many people experience a big feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction in themselves after teaching abroad. Hurdles aren’t always negative. However, being aware of what lies ahead and having some coping skills on hand is still worthwhile.
Here are some pressures you might face while teaching abroad, as well as strategies for dealing with them.
Handle the stress of teaching overseas by taking charge of your finances.
Few things are more distressing than trying to withdraw money from your bank account only to find it empty. Even if their school will covers expenses, anyone coming to teach abroad should have some reserve funds on hand.
You never know when you’ll need to use your money, and relocation prices are always higher than you expect. It’s also difficult to know how far your teaching wage will extend until you have settled in. Having enough money in your savings to buy a flight home if necessary is also reassuring.
If you don’t wind up spending too much of your funds on day-to-day expenses, you can use them for new experiences. Visit a new city for the weekend or explore the local museums and cultural centres,
Handle the stress of teaching overseas by keeping yourself safe.
Getting to know a new area, especially the space and people in it, can take some time. While you’re still getting your bearings, you’re more vulnerable than usual. If you don’t take basic precautions, your personal safety could be jeopardized.
When you initially arrive at your teach abroad location, do some safety research on the region you’ll be living and working in. Perhaps there are specific streets you should avoid, or perhaps pedestrian crosswalks must be approached with caution. Researching online, asking any locals you work with, and contacting your nearby tourist centre for guidance are all good places to start.
On a practical level, make sure your phone is fully charged, you have your identification with you, and you have a strategy for getting home before visiting any new place. Observe how those around you behave and take their lead. It’s natural to draw attention to yourself if you don’t look like the rest of the country’s population. However, there’s no reason to draw even more attention to yourself by acting out. Basically, be clever and aware of your surroundings to avoid putting oneself in dangerous circumstances.
Handle the stress of teaching overseas by making self-care a priority.
Make sure you incorporate some self-care into your new routine while you adjust to living in a new country. You may feel compelled to spend every waking moment on exciting adventures but value the down time too and be rested. Consume fruits and veggies. Spend an evening watching trashy reality television or doing whatever it takes to turn off your brain and relax. Tomorrow will provide more of the same cultural experiences. Don’t be shocked if you require more time off than normal. You’re processing a lot of new information, which can drain a person’s energy.
Finding a new fitness program might be difficult when you make a major lifestyle shift. If a particular sort of exercise is popular in the area where you’ve relocated, give it go. If you’re stuck, take a stroll; it’s free, easy, and a terrific way to get to know your new home.
Handle the stress of teaching overseas by getting your classroom in order.
Don’t forget that, in addition to all we’ve just talked, your new job will throw you for a loop as well!
Teaching may be difficult, especially if you’re a new teacher who isn’t used to being in a classroom on a daily basis. In reality, even if you’re a seasoned veteran, it’s not always simple.
Here are two quick methods to spruce up your classrooms:
- Organize yourself. Plan your classes ahead of time, do your photocopying, and arrive on time. You will appear and feel more self-assured. Your students and coworkers will notice that you are dedicated to your work. Win-win.
- Inquire of other teachers for help and be explicit about what you’re having trouble with. They’re bound to have a variety of tried-and-true methods for making their classes go smoothly. You might even request to observe another teacher’s class to see how they deal with difficult situations.
Bonus tip: Consider acquiring a TESOL Certification before entering the classroom, which is meant to prepare you to teach English in other countries.
Look for a group to join.
Going it alone is one of the scariest and most stressful aspects of moving overseas for many people. Even the most outgoing of us might find it difficult to meet like-minded people and form meaningful friendships.
Fortunately, there are numerous options for meeting people while traveling abroad. Many expat instructors make friends at work of course. You may broaden your circle by joining meet-up groups, participating in language exchanges, volunteering, and visiting local events. These are all excellent ways to meet others who share similar interests. If you live in an expat community, there will almost certainly be others in your situation, so don’t be shy about reaching out.
Of course, not everyone you meet will become one of your closest friends, but be patient and keep trying. If you have buddies to share your time abroad with, it will be a lot less stressful.
Give yourself a break
It is difficult to adjust to living in a new nation. Every day will bring new hurdles, large and small: culture shocks may test your entire worldview; administrative work may be backlogged because you lack the language abilities to do it fast.
Some aspects of your new house may appeal to you right away, while others will take time to adjust to. It could take you a year or a decade to become fluent in a new language. You might discover that you’re a natural in the classroom, or that the classroom takes a toll on you more than it does on your kids. Everyone’s experience of teaching in a foreign country will be unique.
Give yourself a pat on the back for everything you accomplish, no matter how minor. Give yourself a break for whatever you haven’t finished yet.
Teaching in a foreign country is demanding. It’s also tricky. You should also be proud of yourself for attempting it.
Esmé Gelder has eight years of experience as an international instructor. To support student conduct and progress, she attempts to employ positive reinforcement teaching approaches. She feels that teaching overseas boosts one’s self-assurance.