Finding Reliable Teaching Resources


Marrakech, Morocco

So you’ve gone through the whole process, gotten a job, moved abroad and are settling into your new home. Now it’s time to start that new job and if you’re a new teacher you’ll probably be pretty nervous. Like most other things, it gets much easier with time.

As a new teacher, you’ll have a lot more work to do in terms of preparing lesson plans because all of the older teachers already have their resources in order. It’s a good idea to introduce yourself to your new coworkers and be friendly and see if they are willing to share some of their resources. Most teachers will be happy to do so!

If you completed a solid TEFL/CELTA course you should have some great ideas and things that you can use from that but even so, every teacher is looking for new creative ways to teach the same old lessons. So here are some websites with great activities:

Another great website that helps with organization is feedly, a news aggregator that compiles news feeds from a variety of online sources that can be customized and shared with others. Here is a screen shot of my feely account where I’ve organized activities based on skill – listening, writing, etc.

Get inspired and creative and make the most of your new job!

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 2.44.02 PM


Keeping in Touch


It’s pretty obvious but when you live abroad it’s important to keep in touch with your friends and family from home (or other parts of the world). Some connections will weaken with time, which is normal, but it’s a shame to lose touch altogether especially with all of this free technology around us that’s making the world smaller. So what are same of the best ways to do so?

Social media is probably the most popular choice, as most people are already on Facebook. Twitter is good for quick updates and sharing interesting finds. Skype is amazing because you get to talk for free and you can also add money to your account and call/text phones. From a very different perspective, instead of sending a long email, why not write it down on paper? It may seem archaic but snail mail is so personal and fun to receive.


Snail Mail

Your friends and family will want to hear all about your worldly adventures and you’ll probably get tired of retelling the same stories over and over. So here’s an idea, why not start your own blog? They’re a great way of updating everyone at once and in a way, making your memories more permanent. If you’ve never blogged before, it’s pretty intuitive and can be self taught. If you’re still unsure, there are also tons of websites that teach you how to blog.

Getting to Know Your New City


There is no single answer for the best way to get to know your new city, just many suggestions and online findings. If you do a basic Google search you will get some predictable results – the wiki page, the current news, trip advisor, and more travel related links. Wikipedia is a good place to start for basic information (as with most topics) and wikitravel is surprisingly comprehensive. You can buy a country or city guide, with Lonely Planet being the most popular, or you can just check out their website – they also feature a useful forum.

Another great forum, travel community (and much more) is couchsurfing. You can find other travellers, expats and locals who are looking for new friends to check out local happenings.

A great city guide for events is Time Out and a more adventure travel oriented one is National Geographic.

There have also been some shifts away from the giants of travel (like Lonely Planet) to ‘local’ guides, because nobody wants to fall into the tourist trap, right? Like a Local, Spotted by Locals, and With Locals (not free) are some examples.

Or, you can find personal blogs. Sure, blogs can be incredibly subjective but don’t discount them because they can offer some great insights into specific details that websites might not include. Reading a good blog can be a vicarious experience. You can just Google ‘city name + blogs’ or you can use Technorati, a blog database, to find what you’re looking for.

But most importantly, when you’re in your new city, get out there are EXPLORE!


Los Angeles, USA


Lisbon, Portugal


Timisoara, Romania

lifesgood 038

Melbourne, Australia


Seoul, South Korea


Shanghai, China

Preparing for the Interview


Asilah, Morocco

Interviews can be pretty stressful and intimidating but the good thing about interviews for jobs abroad is that they are usually done over the phone or Skype. With those added layers of ‘comfort’ you should be able to feel more relaxed. Just remember that silence doesn’t mean you need to talk more, your interviewer is probably taking notes.

You might be asked any combination of these questions and others but it’s always better to be over-prepared and confident than underprepared and nervous. Also, you might be asked to prepare a short lesson plan, but you will be told this in advance. Here are some really useful links to get an idea of what you can expect during the interview: 

It’s really important to have your own questions for your interviewer, and you will probably have many since your new job will be in a foreign country!  You should also ask to be put in touch with a current teacher at the school to get an inside idea of what life is like there for a foreigner.

This website (which I have linked a few times before) has great advice for these questions.



Marrakech, Morocco

Do’s for Student Blogging


Using blogging at school!

doug --- off the record

I read this blog post this morning and really enjoyed it.  “Top 20 Do’s and Don’t’s of Blogging”.  The focus was to the professional blogger and so some of the topics may not necessarily apply for student blogging.  The other thing is that it contains a lot of don’t’s which sound a lot like rules and you know students (and teachers) when it comes to rules – they want to push to see how far they bend before they break.  Inspired by this, I thought I would take a look at putting together a list of Do’s specifically for schools.  It’s all positive!

DO – Follow the school’s acceptable use policies for social media.  This might include just using student first names and last initial or a particular tool.  No problem.  The goal is the writing after all.

DO – Use a graphic organizer to brainstorm thoughts before…

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Finding an Employer


Busan, South Korea

This could be the most time and energy consuming, stressful part of the entire process. Or it could be one of the most exciting, if you remember that you will find work eventually. Then you can appreciate the plethora of available job opportunities. How many job fields are booming like this one is?

If you’ve never taught English abroad before, it’s a good idea to go through a recruiting company. They are (usually) professional and have been in the business for many years, some of them even as teachers.

You will need to apply through their website with a resume. They will contact you shortly after and conduct a phone interview to get a better idea of what kind of job you’re looking for. Then they will start sending you job descriptions that suit your profile. You can choose the ones you like, then you will have an interview over the phone or Skype with the school, and you will inform your recruiter whether or not you want the job. Once you’ve accepted the job, they will then help you with the proceeding steps, especially your visa.

Remember: they are making money off you so it’s in their interest that you accept your job offer, but don’t feel pressured!

Here are some recruiting companies, the top few being the most reputable and some being country specific:

If you’ve taught before or you’re feeling adventurous then you can search for your own jobs here: (this website also lists all the language schools by country and city)


Langcon English School, South Korea

Happy job hunting!