Teaching abroad as a career does not have to be a dead end

The pathway of teaching abroad as a career does not have to be a dead end. I remember the expression on my family and friends’ faces as I told them my plans to teach English abroad as a lifelong career. Everyone gave me the expression of a cross between confusion, fear and a face that read “has Donnilah hit a pre mid-life crisis?”. One thing we educators have to admit is that teaching will burn even the most motivated and talented professional completely out.

As an American teacher, I am all too familiar with stretching a dollar to make sure our students have supplies and to make sure our classrooms are nice and engaging for learning. Most of us dig in our own pockets to ensure our students are supplied and prepared for success. After battling with bureaucracy and standardized testing all year round, the two months of a summertime break feels like it comes and goes faster each year. On top of all of that, how many of us educators can really afford a vacation and take time off on a 10-month salary?

Teaching abroad is the perfect solution: vacation and teaching at the same time. Teaching in Indonesia leaves you with the never-ending wonders of Southeast Asia. The history, landscape and culture are all in your back pocket but be careful! The convenience of being a few hours away from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and other exotic destinations may not leave much room on your passport should you decide to travel frequently: teaching in South-East Asia will make you a jet setter.

After your first year, plenty of job opportunities will be available to you. Most ESL companies like to promote within. You can also take additional certifications to keep yourself employable as long as you keep your CV up-to-date. While most people only plan to stay for a year, companies are now realizing the value of retaining good teachers. It is cost effective and the students are familiar with your teaching styles. My advice to you is to see if your local teacher union will allow a sabbatical from work and take a year travel to live and work in Indonesia. Teaching abroad may be the off-beaten path and the road less traveled but it does not have to be a dead end to your teaching career.


Are you ready to vacation and teach at the same time?

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Donnilah McClendon is originally from Florida, USA. Currently in her first year of teaching with EF Indonesia she is a certified school district tutor and previously served in the US Army for 14 years.

She has travelled to France, Germany, England, Iceland, Mexico, Qatar and most recently Indonesia! She plans to do as much travelling as she can while in the country and loves to write in her spare time.