Want to live life to the fullest? Become a TEFL teacher

It’s easy to get stuck in the nine-to-five rigmarole. Early alarm rings, speedy breakfast coffees, a morning commute, eight solid hours at the desk, and a quick pitstop at the gym before heading home – that’s the order of the day. Then it’s rest, rinse, repeat. Keep chipping away at the coalface and you might be able to buy yourself that shiny sports car, that big house, those designer threads…maybe.


For many, the choice to become a TEFL teacher is all about smashing that trend. It’s about breaking away from the comfort zone and into the world of the unknown. It’s about trading traffic jams for glowing red-yellow sunsets across the Andaman Sea. It’s about swapping evenings spent slouched in front of the TV for stargazing sessions across the Vietnamese mountains. It’s about leaving the desk behind and being somewhere new, somewhere exciting, somewhere surprising and perpetually different. It’s about living life to the fullest…


Become a TEFL teacher
Forbidden City, Beijing | © Roman Boed/Flickr


Traveling and working means always having new experiences


There’s something seriously primordial in that feeling of not knowing. Whether it’s not knowing where you are, what someone’s saying to you, what you’re eating, how to order a drink, it’s all the same. It’s how humans ensure they get new experiences at every turn: By putting themselves in situations which haven’t happened before. Sorry, but that’s pretty tricky when you’re stuck to the same routine. It’s called routine, after all.


The choice to become a TEFL teacher is a choice to step into what you’re not sure of. Whether you go for a new home between the buzzing blocks of Beijing or a beach shack in Thailand, you can guarantee your setting’s going to change. And it’s true in terms of professional life, too – teaching gerunds and nouns and vocab to non-native speakers promises to be a whole different kettle of fish to what you’re used to back home. New experiences abound.


The Monk | © Georgie Pauwels/Flickr
The Monk | © Georgie Pauwels/Flickr


The TEFL life reveals life doesn’t have to be a certain way  


If you’ve ever felt stuck in a rut, stuck in your own little bubble in the world, then you can rest assured that living the TEFL life on the road will go a whole long way to curing that. Why? Well, the moment you encounter the dusty villages of Rajasthan or witness the sprawling shanties of Rio, come face-to-face with the street sellers of Ho Chi Minh City or gawp up at the soaring skyscrapers of Hong Kong, you’ll start to realize just how many ways people around the globe live their lifes.


That’s a one-way ticket to breaking your routine, to feeling freer to change the way you do things. The diversity you encounter acts like a vindicator for re-jigging a schedule that’s been bogging you down. You’ll feel okay swapping your morning tea for a sweet Indian chai, or even upping sticks and heading halfway across the globe to become a TEFL teacher who rides scooters and munches on stir-fry noodles every night. Other people live like that, so why can’t you?


Become a TEFL teacher
Backpack | © Ville Koivisto/Flickr


Become a TEFL teacher to get a better sense of self


Know thyself. An apocrypha mantra of Socrates, perhaps. A truism of life, certainly. Yogis and babas and all sorts of spiritual types go on and on (and on and on) about just how important it is to be aware of who you are, inside. Even gap yearers have assimilated the phrase – “I found myself in [insert any Southeast Asian country here].” We’ve all heard it.


As wet as it might seem, there’s surely something to be said for the power of traveling to help illuminate truths about your own character. The stresses and joys of being on the road are just like the stresses and joys of being at home, only magnified and more diverse. The upshot is that you’ll discover how you react in a whole load of new situations, and harder situations. A two-day delay in Delhi? Panic or sightseeing? The best sunset you’ve ever seen? Do the emotions flow? Overcoming huge language obstacles with Vietnamese students? See how much professional mettle you’ve really got…


Become a TEFL teacher
Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro | © Dimitry B./Flickr


The boring becomes the brilliant when you become a TEFL teacher


Short of saying you’ll never be bored if you opt to become a TEFL teacher, we can say this – you’ll probably be bored a lot less than if you had stayed at home. The reason? Well, you know your home.

You don’t know what shimmering beachfront is waiting for you on that next Thai island and you don’t know what that steaming dim sum dumpling tastes like. You don’t know what mystical temple awaits between the pine groves of that Japanese volcano and you don’t know what colorful display is coming in that Brazilian carnival. It’s all new and exciting when you’re on the road, so wave goodbye to idling the weekends away.



There are gazillions of reasons why the choice to become a TEFL teacher is a choice that will have you living life to the fullest. We’d love to hear thoughts on them from any of our grads or other teachers around the globe in the comments below. And if you think it’s time you got qualified and exploring, be sure to check out our courses page.

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