After seven and a half months of living in one of the best countries ever, I’m sat in the airport feeling very emotional about leaving my little Vietnamese life behind but equally excited to do some travelling. But what an incredible experience it has been! I left home full of wonder, questions, nerves and excitement. What will Vietnam be like? Will I love it? Will I hate it? Why am I moving somewhere I’ve never been? Am I crazy? Will I be a good teacher? Et cetera. As with most things, thinking about it all and creating all these questions and concerns in your head is silly because when you actually do something, well, you just do it. I chose to throw myself into a new culture completely different to my own to do something I’ve never done before, and I’m so happy I did! I know it’s a cliche but I’ve learnt and reaffirmed several things about myself by doing this – and ive decided that if I can drive a bike on the mental roads of Ho Chi Minh City (in the piddling monsoon rain) then I can do anything!
Teaching has definitely been an eye-opener. Before I started, my expectations of teaching English were kind of cloudy/I didn’t really know what to expect. Teaching young learners was my initial preference as I thought it would be the easiest and I was slightly reluctant to teach teenagers. However, even though working with young learners is really fun, I would prefer to teach older children now.
Each age group is challenging in different ways; the attention span of young learners is like a flip-switch so every lesson needs to be planned with an array of short and fun games to keep them engaged. I remember my first few Mickey classes (4-5 year olds) and I cringe – I had no idea. It wasn’t until I was observed and had some feedback until I knew where I needed to improve. After that my classes were so much better, the kids were having more fun and I had fun to. The attention span of older child learners is longer and I find it easier to connect with them and get more from them. There have been a couple of moments – namely in public schools when I’ve had forty-five hyperactive six year olds in a small classroom – where I’ve just wanted to sack the lesson off and walk out, but generally speaking I’ve really enjoyed teaching English and it’s definitely something I’ll do again soon. Maybe in Vietnam?!
But for now, it’s time to go exploring.
First stop: SRI LANKA