“A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning” – Brad Henry.
One can never deny the fact that teachers play an important role in our lives, and helps us to become a good human being as well as motivate us to be successful. Needless to say, the future development of any nation largely depends on the hands of the teachers. Also, illiteracy continues to be a major social problem even in this 21st Century and good teachers are needed, to help in eradicating this problem and spread the lights of education in all corners of the globe.
To put it in the words of Malala Yousufzai, “One child, one teacher, one book & one pen can change the world.”
Of course, this thought must have crossed your mind a couple of times and in case you’re still in doubts, thinking what impact can you make as a teacher or how would it benefit the society, let’s take a quick look at the following reasons & try to understand why it’s so important to volunteer abroad as a teacher.
1) Education is one of the strongest pillars of society.
To say the least, education is the key to eliminating gender inequality, to reducing poverty, to creating a sustainable planet, to prevent needless health issues, and to spread awareness & peace. If we think of the knowledge economy, education is the new currency by which nations maintain economic competitiveness and global prosperity. In other words, education is one of the strongest pillars of society and it’s the teacher who plays a pivotal role in this.
According to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), an estimated 61 million primary-aged children are out of school, almost half of them belong to the developing poor countries across the globe. Most of the girl children in underprivileged societies are not sent to school ever and are married off at an early age. Due to a lack of education, the number of child laborers is increasing; there are cases of child trafficking for various reasons, etc.
Think about it, if you get to volunteer as a teacher and bring a ray of hope in someone’s life, wouldn’t that be an achievement worth cherishing?
2) Knowledge is meant to be shared.
What’s the use of all that you’ve learned over the years if you don’t get to impart that knowledge for something good? Hits a chord in the heart, right? Well yeah, being a teacher doesn’t only mean that you’ll have to walk into a class full of students, teach an assigned lesson or any such thing!
As a volunteer teacher abroad, you’ll be free to share your knowledge with the kids – whether it’s about the places you’ve traveled or the things you’ve experienced in your own life. You can tell them stories, teach them how to sing or dance or paint, encourage them to dream bigger & hope for a better future.
3) It’ll be an opportunity for you to be a ‘Responsible Traveler’.
A volunteering journey isn’t like a regular holiday, but much more meaningful (& eventful) than that. Like I’ve already mentioned, it’s going to be a learning journey for you and that best thing is that you’d learn to be a ‘Responsible Traveler’. When you choose to be a volunteer teacher, you’ll not only help them learn textbook lessons but also impart valuable life lessons. For some projects, volunteers get to work with the local teachers, empowering them to be more confident while taking classes, guiding them about activity-based teaching methods, etc.
Most of the volunteering projects are carried out in places where people still don’t have access to the internet or media; kids don’t really know what smartphones are, and that you can actually have the world at your fingertips due to the progress of technologically. In other words, you’d get a chance to step out of your comfort zone and embrace life completely different from that of your own. It’s gonna be a learning journey for you too!
Imagine how beautiful it would be, if you join the Teaching Monks Program in Thailand where you’ll get to guide the young monks with their English lessons and they’d tell you about spirituality and their understanding of Buddhism.
4) It’ll be an incredible boost to your career.
A volunteering journey has several career benefits attached to it. Once you work as a teacher, you’ll gain more confidence and be sure of your skills. Since you’ll be working with other volunteers from different parts of the world, there will be scope for peer learning as well. You’ll know how to manage with limited resources, learn the hacks & tricks of teamwork and polish your patience levels.
Needless to say, employers, these days, are more keen to hire people who have previous work experience (especially volunteer work) abroad. Also, you’ll get to understand if teaching is your thing or not – and who knows, you might just return back, becoming a full-time teacher!
Note – Volunteering Solutions would provide you a Certificate of Program Completion, once you wrap up your volunteer trip!
As I’ve already mentioned above, there’s no hard and fast rule-book about the lessons that you have to teach! The most important lesson that you can teach, however, is to be a good human being. Other than that, if you choose English Teaching Programs, then your main focus should be on the English lessons, helping the students to learn the basic grammar and vocabulary. For the general ones, you can take up any subject, including Maths, General Knowledge, Geography, History – anything!
If you join any Kindergarten Program, then you’ll have to mostly play with the little ones while teaching them rhymes, alphabets, numbers, etc. You can also provide vocational training (music, art, etc) that might encourage the students.
It is also important that you spread awareness about good habits like eating healthy, toilet rules, not to use plastic, not to harm nature, be polite to everyone, love animals, etc. After all, it’s our responsibility to make this world a better place to live.
Note – During the Orientation Session (before the program commences), our Country Coordinator will guide you about the classroom scenario and help you with the lessons. In some of the projects, volunteers also need to guide the local teachers as well as provide English lessons to them, when needed.
It usually depends on the requirements of the project, which varies from time to time. Often, volunteers also take up the cause of renovating the school premises, making them more student-friendly and vibrant for the kids. Volunteers can also assist in extracurricular activities such as sports and games. In some cases, volunteers have to get involved in managerial work as well, like keeping a check on the accounts, fundraising, etc.
You don’t have to be a professional teacher, and the best part is that you would not need a TEFL Certificate to volunteer abroad for our Teaching Projects.
If you’re willing to join the English Teaching programs, you just need to have a good command over written and conversational English.
One needs to be 17-years-old to join the programs and also, provide us with a Criminal Background Check Report (since you’ll be working with children).
Volunteers should be open-minded, enthusiastic, flexible and prepared to face challenges. In some projects, volunteers find themselves teaching in an open-air classroom where the need for creativity and improvisation is paramount.
It’s important to remember that in most cases you’ll be engaged with children from the age of 4 to 14 years old (approx), so you’ll have to be patient while dealing with them, handle them with utmost love & care, and try to make a difference in their lives in the most beautiful manner.
Currently, Volunteering Solutions has Teaching Programs across 20 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, including India, Thailand, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa & Peru. Let’s take a quick look at the 5 best teaching programs which are quite popular among high school/ college students as well as Gap Year travelers.
Spend a few days living in the beautiful island nation of Sri Lanka and work with the monks in Galle. As a part of this program, you’ll be working at a Pirivena, an educational institution of Buddhist monks. These young monks are highly enthusiastic to learn English, however, they do not have adequate resources to polish their skills. The Government has appointed local teachers who take a 40 minutes class every day, but even the teachers aren’t well versed with the language. Hence, being a volunteer, you’ll get to play an active role in the Pirivena and teach these bright monks.
If you are one of those people who are looking forward to contributing something towards Women Empowerment through education, then this is your chance to travel to Tamale & teach the girls in a rural school. Former volunteers have helped in the project substantially and have raised funds for the continued education of the students as well as the supply of essentials for the school. It’ll be a great opportunity for you to understand the social scenario of the country and also understand the space of women in society.
Being a volunteer teacher in Kenya, you’ll mostly be working on the outskirts of Nairobi at community and elementary schools to teach English, mathematics, science, geography, social sciences, history, physical education, art, and music. These schools have a good number of students, while the number of teachers is very less. Due to lack of resources, the students often don’t get proper attention and thus, volunteers get to play an important role. You can take classes independently or assist a local teacher as well, depending on the needs.
Escape to this beautiful Himalayan town of Palampur and teach in government primary and public schools, focusing mainly on subjects like English and Maths, using new and innovative teaching methods and teach in a play-way method which would make the subject more interesting for the students. Having good English language skills is very important for the students as it plays an important role in getting good jobs in different parts of the country.
The schools in Cusco, where mostly the underprivileged kids go, are in need of English speaking volunteers on a regular basis, as the language skills of the teaching staff isn’t good enough. While Spanish is widely spoken here, there’s a necessity for English skills as well. Volunteers will be assisted by a local teacher coordinator, who’ll provide you will the teaching materials as well as the curriculum. It’ll be a great opportunity to gain first-hand international work experience while encouraging the students to learn a new language.
We spent our first week helping to coordinate a summer camp, plan activities and excursions, and organized our schedule for each day. I was pleasantly surprised that our ideas were taken seriously and implemented into the agenda! During the next two weeks, we helped the kiddos with their homework, assisted with English-speaking skills, played games, and even made a trip to the local pool where we were able to teach some swimming lessons (another passion my family and I shared).” – Natalie Danielle.
“My first African experience! I visited Zanzibar in Tanzania. The main purpose of this staying was to join a Teaching volunteer at a local school. Children in Zanzibar are all super active and friendly so that I was energized by them a lot! Honestly, before the departure, I had not been able to imagine the life in Zanzibar and I had been half nervous (another half was expectation!), but now I’m sure I would love to go back there and play and study with students again! I really hope to see you all again in the future!!” – Mami Kawaguchi.
If you also feel like you have that zeal to make a difference and help in spreading education, then now is the time to volunteer abroad as a teacher. You can write to us at [email protected] for more information & guidance. Our Program Advisors are always there to help you plan your journey!
Riyanka is a traveler who is keen on exploring different parts of the world. She’s a travel blogger who’s equally passionate about photography. Her quest is to turn all her journeys into beautiful stories. Being a die-hard ‘mountain-aholic‘, her favorite destinations are all around the Himalayas! She can spend days gazing at the snow-capped mountains, binge on Maggi and lemon-honey-ginger tea, and reading Ruskin Bond books.
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