The TEFL Life: A TEFL blog

a story about bad grammar and non-existent punctuation and my TEFL adventures

10 Things To Expect As A Foreign TEFL Teacher In Asia

1) People will want to take your photo. Don’t get a big head about it; it’s because you’re not Asian (IBYNA)

2) Strangers in the street will want you to hold their baby. And then take a photo.

3) Ticket offices will try to rip you off. Don’t get upset about it; IBYNA.

4) Students will think you know everything there is to know about English and the world in general. They expect you to know everything, but they are willing to accept any answer you give them.

5) You will be paid well in relation to local teachers. This is not because you’re amazing; IBYNA.

6) People will assume you are fabulously rich, BYNA.

7) People will tell you you are beautiful/good-looking. You could be but more likely IBYNA.

8) You will be required to act as a VIP at school functions. Fear not, you do not need to do anything besides dress nicely, smile and act foreign.

9) Your students will give you pointless, unnecessary and sometimes extremely ugly gifts.

10) People will love you if you can speak even one word of the local language. One sentence and you’re considered a linguistic genius and people will have a conversation with you like it’s your first language.

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9 comments on “10 Things To Expect As A Foreign TEFL Teacher In Asia

  1. tomg1992
    February 26, 2015

    Haha does this apply to all places in Asia?

    • jellybeanqueen
      February 26, 2015

      It’s quite a stereotype but I experienced quite a few moments like these in Thailand, China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore. You’ll have to go there yourself to see if I’m accurate 😉

      • tomg1992
        February 26, 2015

        As arrogant as it sounds I actually like the idea of people asking for my photo, I bet it becomes wearing pretty quick though!

      • jellybeanqueen
        February 27, 2015

        haha. It definitely is a little taste of celeb-dom. What used to freak me out were the babies!

      • tomg1992
        February 27, 2015

        Haha ah man, I have to push myself to teach out there soon. I keep having second thoughts, worries of home sickness or not enjoying teaching

      • Kirsten C
        February 28, 2015

        A little bit of fear is usually a good thing – then you know it’s worth doing. Homesickness shouldn’t be an issue, because you can always go back, and you’ll be having so much fun you won’t want to. As for the teaching, not everyone is cut out for it but the same principle applies: you can always leave, and you’ll probably have so much fun you won’t want to. 🙂
        *A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step*

      • tomg1992
        February 28, 2015

        I’m fortunate because my girlfriend would be joining, I need to do it – thanks for the wise words! 🙂

  2. backpackerlee
    March 14, 2015

    I am very close to applying for a teaching position in South Korea, via TALK. I am looking forward to the potential challenge (if I ever get accepted) but it is very scary to think about. Anyway, your post here made me laugh. Seems like I can at least pretend I am a celeb… 😉

    • Kirsten C
      March 15, 2015

      A little bit of fear can be a good thing and – worst case scenario – if it’s not what you were hoping for, you can always go somewhere else!

      I’ve never been to SK but I’ve had many SK students and it sounds like a real mind-boggler, which should be awesome! Is this not why we do this job, to discover new and amazing people and places, and take ourselves out our comfort zone?

      Good luck 🙂

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This entry was posted on February 26, 2015 by in General TEFL and tagged , .

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