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Volunteer Teaching: A Meaningful Exchange

Volunteer Teaching: A Meaningful Exchange | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Of the many possible paths to take after completing a teaching English certificate, volunteer teaching can be an important and transformative one for all involved. It can offer students who otherwise would not have access, the opportunity to learn English and the possibilities which come with it. It can also offer teachers the ability to travel, experience a new culture and language for themselves as well as provide a great experience to improve their skills.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Nicole S. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

The Global Power of English

As the official language of 53 countries and a secondary one for many, English is the most widely spoken language in the world. By learning it, students can unlock new opportunities and experiences for themselves as well as the ability to connect with foreign cultures and people. It can offer them better employment opportunities, the chance to study abroad and the possibility to travel and communicate with the world around them.

Though some students may have the means to access English classes or private tutors, not everyone does. By volunteering to teach English, teachers can make this possibility a reality for everyone, no matter their financial situation. Languages are a gift that offers many rewards. Learning English not only opens doors; it empowers students with new knowledge of themselves, with confidence and curiosity, and the ability to shape their destiny. It teaches resourcefulness, discipline, and open-mindedness. It allows us to connect and exchange and share our experiences. It can allow students to improve their lives and the lives of those around them in a truly meaningful way.

african teacher in asia

Also Read: How much is a TEFL course and how do I pay for it?

Benefits of Being a Volunteer

By volunteering to teach English, teachers will have an impact on many people, not just their students. Often, they will work with local teachers to help them improve their classrooms and provide them with the ability to continue the students’ English education. They will also likely interact with parents and other members of the community. It is important to remember that as a volunteer teacher, you will serve as a role model. Sometimes, you will be a person’s first concrete exposure to the language, and they will model further habits on your own. This exposure can encourage others to learn English or simply open them up to the possibilities another language can offer.

As a teacher, volunteering can also bring many benefits. Firstly, it can allow new teachers to gain experience and improve their skills in the classroom. This practice is invaluable for future employment and builds the confidence needed to stand in front of a class. It is an excellent way to improve your abilities to teach in as well as decide if ESL is something you would like to commit to seriously in the future.

african teacher and elementary school students

Also Read: Volunteer Teachers: Should Volunteers Gain Teaching Qualifications Before Teaching in a Developing Country?

Perks of a Volunteering Position

Unlike paid ESL jobs, volunteer positions are typically short-term contracts with lesser time commitments. These positions sometimes demand less than 20 hours per week and allow teachers free time to explore and travel as well as time off to recharge. By taking a shorter contract, volunteers allow themselves a degree of freedom not possible when signing on to a year or two working abroad. This can give teachers the flexibility to travel to different countries and decide if they want to seek more permanent employment in the field.

Finally, volunteering can serve as a cultural exchange; allowing individuals to travel abroad, discover new cultures and even learn the local language. Often these opportunities mean you will be living with locals and become immersed in their culture. By learning about and participating in the students’ culture, teachers can be better equipped to address the needs and interests of their class. This also provides travelers with an authentic experience and deepened understanding of a place as well as the opportunity to be participants rather than simply observers.

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In conclusion, volunteer teaching can be an incredible way to explore new places while bringing resources to communities that otherwise would not have access to them. It offers students without means the chance to learn English and improve their circumstances, their communities and themselves. It allows teachers to grow and hone their skills while getting an idea of what it is to be an ESL teacher. It offers travel, cultural exchange and the chance to connect and contribute in a positive and meaningful way.

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