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Enjoy this insight into how Goats on the Road lived as TEFL teachers abroad in China. From the rewarding relationships they built with the children to the incredible skills the acquired, Goats on the Road delve into why having a TEFL was a game-changer while traveling and working.
When we set off on our backpacking trip around the world, my boyfriend Nick and I (Dariece) had no idea that we would be able to turn travel into our lifestyle by teaching English and earning money on the road.
During our one and a half year backpacking trip through the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Asia, we did some volunteer teaching along the way in a rural village in Myanmar and in the city of Luang Prabang in Laos.
The English class in Myanmar was taught outside, on a tarp on the dirt ground, with around 30 eager little faces staring up at us. Through songs, games, and drawings, we were able to come up with a very basic lesson plan each day, while spending the evenings dining on homemade cuisine with the village elders.
In Laos, we spent a couple of hours a day at a bookstore helping teenagers with their reading and speaking abilities.
Although it went pretty well, if we were TEFL trained at this point we would’ve had a better idea of what the class flow should be, how to manage a classroom, and how to properly teach vocabulary and grammar!
Those experiences volunteering in Southeast Asia sparked our desire to become properly trained English teachers. So, we hopped on a plane and went to China, a destination that had a lot of teaching opportunities.
At first, we decided to travel around to get a feel for the country. China is one of the most exciting and unusual destinations to visit, which to us is what travel is all about. Thankfully, we really enjoyed it!
After one month of backpacking around China, we decided to send out our resumes to prospective schools in the country — this was in 2012 before online English teaching was popular.
We received numerous responses to our requests to teach (some “schools” were far more reputable than others). In the end, we were hired by a legitimate school in the city of Yangzhou and signed a one year teaching English contract.
After receiving our TEFL training through the school, and observing many classes, we were ready to start.
My students were aged 4 to 16 and I taught many different classes. Since Nick and I worked at a private school, weekends were our full teaching days, plus a couple of hours in the evenings during the week.
No matter what kind of a day we were having, as soon as we walked into the classroom and were greeted by our enthusiastic students, our moods were immediately lifted — they truly did brighten our day!
During the daytime, we were free to explore the city, hang out with new friends, eat amazing food, and work on building up our travel website as well.
At the end of our year-long contract, we had acquired new skills, met amazing people, had savings in the bank, and had earned enough money to take a 5 month trip through Mongolia, Central Asia, and Iran.
To date, living and teaching in China is still one of the most memorable times in our lives. I really can’t recommend getting TEFL certified and teaching English enough.
These days, you don’t actually have to travel to another country (unless you want to), you can meet people from around the world, make money from your laptop, and have a positive impact on a student’s life…while wearing your pajama pants!
Our website, Goats On The Road provides lots of in-depth information and advice for getting started as an English teacher and tips for teaching online as well. Whether you’re wondering how to set up your virtual classroom, which teaching companies are the best, or whether or not you need a TEFL certificate, we can help you out.
Visit the Goats on the Road website for more insight into our experiences on the road.