Monday, September 13, 2010
Volunteer abroad teaching
A teacher is a person who facilitates education or provides schooling for students. The science of teaching is pedagogy, whereby teachers get professional qualifications for teaching. When you volunteer abroad as a teacher, many organizations provide you with TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) certification. This involves 120 hours of learning on how to teach English best in foreign countries at the end of the course you are given a certificate. Most of these programs are flexible and are done to fit your schedule. Apart from getting TEFL there are other language certificates like for French, Spanish and also Italian. But when volunteering abroad as a teacher you don’t need to have these professional qualifications. You don’t need to be trained as a professional teacher; all you need is to be able to speak English fluently. Most of the programs are in third world countries whereby they have problems speaking the language. The local teachers know the language, the grammar and the structural aspects but they lack the right pronunciation and intonation. As English is not their native language they have problems with pronouncing the words properly. As an English speaking foreigner you will be a great asset to the place where you will be working. Usually the volunteer work for 18 to 20 hours a week. Most of the teaching abroad programs are done in classes in some occasions you could be a private tutor helping the kids with their assignments. You could be working in primary, secondary schools or in universities and colleges. The main duties involved in teaching are: Work as a teaching assistant: teaching classes, grading books; Work as a social worker with the Administrator; help in cooking and cleaning; Help in sports activities; and playing with the kids.
Although teaching English is the most popular choice amongst volunteers, there are other subjects that are taught in the schools. These subjects are mainly taught in primary schools to the kids who are in lower grade levels. The subjects include Maths, social sciences, geography, and Arts, music and sports education. The subjects are easy and anyone can teach them. For students who are studying art could teach the higher grade levels on how to present their arts. As well as music, any volunteer who has experience or academic qualification can teach music to the lower grade to the higher grade levels. If you have a passion for sports, or just one sport your skills could be used to teach physical education. Also it could be your opportunity to teach the kids new sports that are played in your home country. Some volunteers combine teaching sports as well as teaching English.
On the first day of your class, it could be daunting with all the eager eyes before you, introduce yourself and ask the rest of the class to introduce themselves. This will break the ice and the tension in the class, also find other ways you could involve the students in the class. Try to establish a rapport, and tell the students something about yourself while teaching them the importance of the subject you are teaching. The school you will work in will give you a syllabus in which work with. When preparing your lesson with the syllabus in mind. As your time is limited, planning lessons makes the use of time to be effective. This helps in covering most of the course work in time and helps the students to plan their time as well. There are several teaching techniques you could employ but they need to: encourage contact between teacher and students; encourage active learning; give prompt feedback; emphasize effective time management; and communicate expectations. Lastly as a teacher you should pay attention to the school’s academic and work culture
Most of the programs and projects are done in developing countries, and you will be placed in schools which are ill equipped and don’t have the necessary tools. You will be given a chalk board and chalk to use as tools. Most of the text books and reference material will not be available for you to use. This will require you to be creative in your work. With an open mind you can come up with new and creative ways to solve your problems. Another problem is that the students will be excited to meet you since you are from a different culture and may lead them to stray off the topic and ask too many questions about you. Also since you are in a new culture you will have a bit of cultural conflict in the work environment.
All in all the students, school and communities are excited about your arrival and the work you are doing. They will help you in any way they can to make your work more fun and as easy as possible.