As always, the end of the year has crept up on us. We wish all of our teachers a very happy holiday season and hope you have plans to celebrate the new year (if you’re in a country that does so on January 1st!).
In this month’s issue, we’re announcing the launch of our new Application Portal! We’ll also share five New Years Resolutions for teachers and travelers. Finally, our country spotlight for December is Vietnam.
Teach Away News: A Better Way to Apply!
Teach Away is excited to announce the launch of our new Application Portal. Applicants will now create a user profile that they can update with career developments in order to be sure their information is always up to date.
The enhancements to the new Application Portal ensure that teachers with fully completed profiles will be matched with the best opportunities for their qualifications, experience, and locational preferences. With this new, more comprehensive system, Teach Away reinforces its commitment to providing its educators with the highest level of service.
Teachers who already have applications with Teach Away will have the opportunity to update them through the Application Portal. We hope our educators enjoy the new and improved user experience!
5 New Year’s Resolutions to Make this Year
Starting fresh in a new year is a great goal. Actually doing so, however, is another story. We’ve all tried—and failed—before, possibly because we’ve set resolutions that are impossible or overly vague. The success of a New Year’s resolution depends largely on its size and specifics. Teachers and travelers could consider one of the following resolutions:
1. Learn something new
This is a great and attainable resolution, as long as you settle on something specific you’d like to learn. Resolving to learn something new is great for a teacher: we’re used to instructing students, but we sometimes forget what it’s like to be a student!
You might want to learn something academic—a new language, or the comprehensive history of a new country (come on, you’ve got a year!). Maybe you’d like to learn something technical, such as how to use Photoshop. Or perhaps you just want to pick up a new hobby, like knitting. Whatever the case, come up with your plan first—will you enroll in an online course, research through blogs, or buy some books to get you started? Set a goal (“learn to create a basic website”), design the plan (“take an online course”), and go!
2. Reach at least one additional student who’s been having trouble
We all want to start the new year as better versions of ourselves. But simply deciding you want to be a better teacher isn’t a clear goal. Instead, resolve to make an extra effort to reach out to students with whom you’ve been having difficulty. Perhaps you find there are a few students who make you lose your patience, or a child who is having difficulty learning to read. Make it your goal to improve this situation in some measurable way. This could mean making a conscious decision to let go of the small things, or counting to ten before raising your voice, or giving up a free period to provide extra tutoring. Try to make a habit that will last the year.
3. Try one new cultural experience each month
It’s easy to fall into a routine once you’ve grown accustomed to your new home. For many teachers, though, the experience abroad won’t last forever, and it’s important to take advantage of your time overseas while you can! Many teachers fall into the same trap after moving overseas: they have every intent to visit all those museums, restaurants, and festivals, but because they’re no longer in “tourist” mentality, they put it off. Don’t let yourself say, “I really want to check that place out someday.” Check it out now! Learn more about your country, and take advantage of every minute.
4. Learn local recipes
Again, it’s important to take advantage of living in a foreign country. Resolve to learn to cook one new local specialty each month, and work that dish into your repertoire (if you don’t have a repertoire, now’s the time to build one!). You’ll be thankful if you move back to your home country and can still enjoy tasty reminders of your time abroad!
5. Add something new to your lesson plans
If you’ve been teaching a long time, you might be comfortable with the routine you’ve established in your classes. It’s easy to fall back onto the same activities and projects, and it’s great to find a comfortable rhythm. But don’t let yourself fall into a rut. New activities can energize you as a teacher, making your classes more dynamic. Try out a new game, introduce a different book, or change the way you approach certain concepts. You might be surprised with how the change resonates with your students!
If you are a relatively new teacher, identify an area where you’d like to improve your teaching. Perhaps you’re a haphazard lesson planner, or your classes are always running behind schedule. Pinpoint a specific area where you could improve, think of how you could get better, and resolve to change!
Country Spotlight: Vietnam
Despite the influences from other cultures that are so apparent in Vietnamese architecture and cuisine, the country has an identity all its own. Vietnam is developing rapidly and is leaving behind the legacy of its tragic past, although some remnants remain. The country’s many museums and monuments provide fascinating commentary on the American War, but visitors and residents have ample opportunity to relax. Visit a French-style café in Hanoi, lounge on one of the nation’s many tropical beaches, or simply enjoy a piping hot breakfast of pho from a local stall.
Though the whole of Vietnam is located in the tropics and subtropics, the country’s long, narrow shape means that climate can vary greatly from north to south. The south sees little difference between the hot and cold season, while the average temperature in the north varies more widely. Though each region comes with its own set of weather complications—monsoons, typhoons, or extreme heat—the months of April, May, or October are generally the best bet in terms of hitting pleasant weather throughout the country. Teachers can relax on one of the many tropical beaches, visit the mountains, or explore the villages and floating markets of the complex Mekong Delta.
Educators who currently teach English in Vietnam enjoy a low cost of living and a beautiful location. Despite the country’s long history of foreign occupation, foreign visitors are treated warmly. For more information about working in Vietnam, check out the current teaching jobs abroad.