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August 18, 2005

Single Teacher...With Kids?

Hello everyone!

How many of you dream of living in another country, but don't think you can because you have children?

After all, it’s common to hear about single ESL teachers traveling the globe and getting to experience all sorts of new cultures, tastes and lifestyles. But what if that single teacher has a kid?

This question was raised in our blog last week, and it’s definitely one worth addressing. The answer to the question, “Can a single parent teach ESL in a foreign locale?” is a cautious, “Yes.”

Will it be as easy? Nope. But is it possible? Yep.

If you’re blessed with little ones, but still have the itch to travel and teach, here are some things that you should consider before venturing out.

• It’s always a good idea to thoroughly investigate any country that you’re thinking about teaching in, but if you have children, it becomes doubly important. Some cultures would welcome a tag-a-long in a private or casual class on emergency days, but others would consider it unthinkable.
• Just as you’ll need to understand the culture in the countries that you’re considering, you’ll need to check up on the living conditions, as well. Some schools offer housing for their teachers, which may or may not be acceptable for someone who has a child. Even if you plan to locate housing on your own, you should make sure that you completely understand your options. Remember, housing in foreign countries generally doesn’t compare to housing in the U.S.
• Schools are an important part of any child’s life, and if she is going to live in a different culture and most likely be exposed to a new language, you’ll want to make the transition as smooth as possible. Find out as much as you can about the local public and private schools and ask about their requirements for foreign students.
• Daycare may be an issue, especially if you plan to teach in a private school where classes are usually held after normal business hours or on weekends in order to accommodate their business clients. Of course, two single parent teachers traveling together could do a lot to help each other with babysitting!

I would love to hear stories from the field--are any of you out there teaching with kids in tow? If so, tell us how you do it!

Until next time,

Michelle

Posted by msimmons at August 18, 2005 07:16 PM

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