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How Becoming a TEFL Teacher Can Help You Fulfill your Ultimate Potential According to Abraham Maslow

How Becoming a TEFL Teacher Can Help You Fulfill your Ultimate Potential According to Abraham Maslow | ITTT | TEFL Blog

One of my minors during my undergraduate studies was psychology. I started taking psychology classes in high school. My upbringing was extremely dysfunctional and it made me curious about people. As a psychology student, I was introduced to Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, a psychological theory by Abraham Maslow.

Understanding Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: A Guide to Reaching Your Full Potential

These "needs" are categorized into 5 general groups in chronological order: physiological, safety, love & belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. Maslow's theory is modeled visually by a pyramid with 5 categories; the top and smallest part of the pyramid being self-actualization.

Unveiling Maslow's Pyramid: The Path to Self-Actualization

Self-actualization is to fulfill one's greatest potential. To live your "dream life" so to speak. Just like in a food pyramid, categories on the bottom are essentials and most important to nutrition and diet.

Basic Needs First: The Foundation for Personal Growth and Success

Unlike the food pyramid, categories closer to the top are not least important but needs of a person at that level are less because according to the theory a foundation should already be established and basic needs definitely met. Likewise, needs at this level are more difficult to attain as it signifies having reached one's fullest potential.

The Motivation Component: Unlocking Success Through Fulfilling Needs

According to Abraham Maslow's theory, anyone who is able to reach the top of the pyramid has the physical and emotional resources to reach their fullest potential or “ultimate happy” if they have not already done so.

Maslow's theory also involves a "motivation" component and indicates that without fulfilling one category a person not only would not be able to move to the ascending category as the preliminary need has not been met, but one would not have motivation to either. For example, expecting someone to feel motivated to start a plan to buy and flip houses when they are constantly focused on how they are going to afford lunch. It is not conducive. They might have a spur of spontaneous motivation for a moment after a rough day at work when they decide they are absolutely sick of their lives but it will go away once the person has to deal with their realities. People need to focus on their most basic needs first.

The Importance of Fulfilling Basic Needs in ESL Teaching

I was once working a temp job where they refused to pay me barely over minimum wage. I basically told them I was worth more than the president of the company and that my pay was completely unreasonable. I told them they and other employers have purposely been keeping me at the bottom and that a woman with my qualifications should be able to afford a vehicle and rent at the same time.

Breaking Barriers: Overcoming Financial Constraints to Fulfillment

Someone in the office later commented to me that she doesn’t like when people keep themselves in situations they can get themselves out of and asked me if I ever read the book “Rich dad, poor dad”. Truth is, I actually had briefly come across that book right before she asked, but a book was not what I needed. A proper job is what I needed. It was the holidays and my cell phone service and wifi had just been cut off. I had no foundation to build on. I had no money to invest. I was so anxious I barely had the mental clarity to sit and thoughtfully read something.

The Impact of Dysfunctional Upbringing on Curiosity and Psychology Studies

Telling someone in a circumstance like that to read a finance book is not only presumptuous but not constructive.

When people teach ESL, we should at least have the first two parts of the need pyramid fulfilled. The needs in these categories are absolute basic needs to survive not just as a human but as a human in the society we are forced to be a part of and be functional in, such as food and employment.

The Importance of Fulfilling Basic Needs in ESL Teaching

Employment or housing is not literally essential but it is considered a basic need because most people need employment for the essentials of living such as food, and people need housing for mental health and undisturbed sleep. The remote option allows us to also fulfill the third category.

Remote Work and Fulfilling Social Needs: A New Path to Personal Potential

The third and fourth categories are centered around more social needs. This category illustrates how feeling our community and friends best represent who we are and our unique desires helps us to reach our greatest individual potential. This part of the pyramid is difficult for someone holding traditional work to achieve depending on what they desire because otherwise, we are tied to specific places usually picked out of what seems like the best choice out of what is within a narrow window of "realistic".

Exploring the Impact of Environment on Mental Health and Fulfillment

North Americans are especially limited because we are not surrounded by a lot of other countries, along with a relatively high cost of living which limits surplus funds for travel and other forms of self-care. If someone is mismatched with their environment to the point it is affecting their mental health, one could argue not having the freedom to explore the best possible location/living environment affects a safety or physiological need which are both basic needs. People do not strive to fulfill their ultimate potential when they are simply tolerating or ignoring their environment.

With a TEFL certificate, people can work remotely, independently, and we're hoping to have access to high-paying jobs.

These are all aspects important to fulfilling Maslow's hierarchy of needs that are difficult to fulfill while holding more traditional roles.

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