Tutors working abroad, a personal report

Hello, this is to introduce you to Dhanushka (Nush). Below is her account of tutoring abroad. She is a highly experienced tutor and has spend the past year teaching abroad. She is currently employed Tutor House as our international adviser and student mentor.

I’ve just got back to the UK after teaching in Thailand for a year; your reaction should be along the lines of “amazing”; and rightly so. This experience will always be the highlight of my life. Teaching in another country is not just about experiencing a different life, but it’s about opening the eyes of young students to more than just what they see and experience every day. The appreciation of these kids will last a lifetime in your heart and mind. Helping each and every student was an experience in itself.

Teaching abroad had always been a difficult decision for me. It was never the right time, and there was always an excuse for why I shouldn’t go to pursue my dream. I completed my TESOL qualification and found it hard to just pack my bags and leave. I waited nine months before I decided to build the courage and begin my journey in another country.

My jobs consisted of Secondary school students, Agricultural College students and also kindergarten students. The levels of English spoken varied, as some of the students had had precious English language teachers, whereas other had never had any experience of learning with a foreign teacher. Not being able to speak Thai, I was immediately at a disadvantage. Using hand gestures and starting right back to the basics I was able to give these children the confidence to love and appreciate a language they once gave up on. When anybody finds something difficult, we tend to either hate it or not bother practising it. These children needed inspiration and colour in a subject they once ignored as being important. I was able to bring my life experience of London to help them appreciate other cultures and want to learn more.

The technique of teaching foreign students is not that simple. ‘Here is your text book, this is an exercise and you will be tested on this next week.’ This approach simply won’t do for these children. Using this technique I found out (very quickly!) that the students would use process of elimination when asked a question, rather than truly understanding what they were learning. By talking to the students, by making them practise the language, integrating words into games mounted to them having a stronger grasp of basic communication skills. My classroom policy was you cannot speak in Thai, partially because I couldn’t speak a single word of the language but also because this approach lead them to try a lot harder to communicate with me.

Having been in another country, teaching children who are completely innocent to the English education system was delightful. They were not robots to learning information and passing exams. They had a purpose for studying; their ambitions extended more than just getting a degree and fighting for a job at the end of their studies. These children had a farm to run, a family to feed, and skills to grasp in addition to learning Maths, English and Science.

I think it’s important for more and more people to grab this opportunity to teach abroad. After reading this do you think you have what it takes to change students’ perception on learning another language? You have every opportunity in the world to fill their lives with colour and ambition.

Tutor House offer teaching experience and job abroad for teachers and students. He also offer tutors the opportunity to travel with families abroad.