Attaining English language skills can open up huge opportunities for people many people around the world. As an English Teacher you will be able to share your valuable skills in kindergartens, primary schools, secondary schools, universities and other language institutes with people of all ages. While each country has its own approach to language learning, some will have a curriculum to follow while others will expect you to use your initiative. Varied levels, ages, class sizes and resources mean you’ll have to think on your feet and occasionally improvise, but you’ll never have a dull moment in the classroom.
Volunteers will work within primary and secondary schools, providing English language assistance in classes alongside permanent members of staff. In Latin America, many schools are bilingual, which means they expose children to a foreign language as much as possible in the aim that pupils will have reached a certain degree of fluency by the time they leave. As a native or fluent English speaker, your skills will therefore be highly valued, and you will help to improve students’ fluency, particularly with regards to conversational skills.
As an English teacher in China you will have the option between working in a primary school, secondary school or teacher training college. You will teach English as a foreign language and will be responsible for the planning and teaching or your lessons. Depending on the age group you would prefer to teach, you will need to adapt your lesson plans and teaching style to suit your audience. Primary school teachers, for example, will need to use their creativity to ensure their lessons are interesting to young children. English teaching placements in China are perfect for volunteers looking to gain first-hand experience of Chinese culture while gaining some valuable language teaching skills.
In an English teaching placement in Ecuador, you will work in a primary or secondary school to help permanent members of staff improve the language levels of pupils of different ages. In some classes, the level of English will be quite low, so you will need to be prepared to be creative in your approach to teaching – playing bingo and singing nursery rhymes have proved very popular in the past!
In most schools you will start off in more of an assistant-style role, then as you build up your experience and confidence you will be given more responsibility. Hosts are also keen for you to bring your own skills and interests to your role, so if you have a particular talent for art or sport, for example, be sure to discuss with your mentors how best you impart your knowledge!
English teachers in Vietnam teach in a variety of educational institutions throughout the country. You will have the options of teaching in a primary, secondary school or university and will adapt your teaching style and lesson plans according to the age groups your are teaching. Placements will usually start off as teaching assistant-style roles where you will help permanent members of staff with language teaching. Then, when you gain more experience and confidence you will be given more responsibility and will be expected to take a more active role in the planning and teaching of your own classes.
Most schools will also be keen for you to get involved in activities outside of your core English-teaching duties, so make sure you discuss any ideas for extra-curricular activities with your hosts!
Students in Vietnam love to learn by doing, volunteers in the past have enjoyed lessons that involve singing, playing games and role play. The more fun and engaging you can make the lesson the more interesting it will be!