What do you do?

Thinking out loud here.

I am seeking an answer that I like.

  1. I teach people how to teach English especially to kids in Asia.
  2. I teach and inspire people.
  3. I make stuff that is sometimes creative and wacky.
  4. I work online.
  5. I take people who are having a bad time teaching abroad and transform them.
  6. I revolutionize people’s experience teaching abroad.
  7. I tell people the truth.
  8. I humor, inspire and teach people how to teach English in Asia.
  9. I create stuff.
  10. I am an artist.
  11. I make something that is drab and boring into something fun, creative and life changing. Teaching English sound like a drag? Here’s how to make it fun…
  12. I try to bring color, truth and courage.
  13. I scratch records, beatbox and make art outside.
  14. I paint.
  15. I practice judo and jiu-jitsu because it’s fun, challenging and courageous.

What does my website to? What do I want it to do?

  1. I want it to transform teaching English abroad from something ordinary and routine to something extraordinary.
  2. I don’t want to BS people. I want to tell them the truth and help them.
  3. I want to help them to avoid the BS. If I can inspire them.

Selling to teachers who are already abroad

Thinking out loud again.

This time I am thinking about selling to a different person. In a previous post the one that had that Seth Godin quote as the title I talked about selling to a person mostly who hasn’t taught abroad yet.

I think this person has a different set of problems. This person is mostly focused on transitioning or moving abroad. Maybe that’s why so many TEFL course providers show all these places of exotic beaches and temples, etc.

Maybe this person is in a bit of an escape or vacation mindset. They know nothing about teaching – usually. They are also scared and anxious and maybe why that’s why they fall for the course that says it’s accredited, internationally recognized, reputable, has a guaranteed job, etc.

Maybe all of those things give them a peace of mind.

You don’t say those things or offer them. And despite the fact that they don’t matter and most experienced teachers know that those things don’t matter the new teacher is scared and ignorant.

I was reading on Seth’s blog about babysitters. And he was saying that what babysitters sell is a peace of mind. The parents don’t really care about her skills, really it’s about a POM.

So maybe it’s the same with new teachers who haven’t made it.

For those teachers it’s about transitioning. They are scared and they want security and promises.

Now let’s talk about the teacher who is already there.

They are not all the same.

A fewer percent of them are looking for certification. Fewer of them are considering taking a course, but I know some of them have problems.

What problems?

I can only talk about the problems I had:

  • Students that ignore you
  • Students that don’t pay attention
  • Bored students
  • Difficult students
  • Students that speak when you speak
  • Students that speak Chinese, Korea, etc. in class
  • Chaos in the classroom
  • Students who won’t talk
  • Large classes
  • Students who don’t want to be there
  • Stress

Are you happy with teaching? Do you like teaching? Do you think you can improve?

I know you can improve.

Because I did.

Before I started teaching I said I am not a teacher. And then I tried to ease into it. But even though I was only teaching 15 hours or so in my first year it was difficult.

Then came year two and then year 3 and then things gradually improved. Teaching was always challenging, well not all of my classes, just some of them and then there were the problems outside the classroom like:

Culture.

Living in a foreign country.

Language.

And.

Trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life or where I was going to go.

Those were problems too.

I didn’t know what was next. I didn’t know what I should do. I didn’t know how to make the most of my time.

Then there was the job. There were always people that I had conflicts with. Always? Not always, but there were co-teachers that I didn’t like and there was a manager I didn’t like and then I had this bad experience with a recruiter and even one boss who tried pocketing my tax money.

All of those people added to my stress.

So can I be a role model for them? Not really, since my experience was so not perfect. Knowing what I know now though would help a lot inside the classroom and outside the classroom.

How?

Teaching. I got better with time and effort. You definitely have to make an effort if you want to change. I can’t change it for them. It’s not a silver bullet, but I can offer them a lot of guidance and I can relate.

I can offer them the best materials too.

I can help them save time.

I wasn’t a natural teacher. But teaching is a skill. It’s like anything that is a skill. Some people are going to have more talent or be more natural at it, but you can improve. But again you have to put in the effort.

Honestly, I was a bit lazy and reluctant to put the effort in. But if I was to do it again I would have put the effort in early on so that the teaching would have been better.

Back when I started teaching in 2004 there weren’t any good websites for learning and I would spend a lot of time searching, reading and looking for something that would make my classes better.

But what I learned is that it wasn’t one thing.

I needed to learn many things. Honestly I started to learn a lot more about teaching when I started working on this website. The process of making videos to demonstrate teaching techniques helped me.

Reading instructional stuff on the web was REALLY BORING and the quality was really poor too. So that’s why I started to make videos of activities and techniques that I had learned.

It was because that I learned that watching other teachers (usually the experienced ones) was the easiest way to learn how to teach.

I know how to improve your situation.

I can relate.

I can help you inside the classroom and outside because they are related. This course starts with the first and focuses more on that. If you improve your teaching you will improve you overall state of mind abroad.

You will have a better experience.

I can’t promise that you will love it, but I know you can improve your situation. I know you can change. You just have to want to change.

Are you committed to making a change?

 

“You sell the story the person tells themselves”

Thinking out loud here.

That is a quote by Seth Godin. I am not sure what he means exactly. And in this post I am going to try to think about what that means to me as I have a marketing problem because I feel like people are just not getting my message on ESLinsider.

You’re probably anxious about going abroad. You don’t know who to trust and you are probably not sure what you need. You want to make a change and you want a job, but it’s a whole new beginning and I have to say the challenges that you are having right now aren’t going to go away when you get a job.

In fact if your experience is anything like mine then your challenges are going to increase when you get abroad and start teaching. Sorry to say that. I know it’s not what you want to hear, but it’s part of the truth. Teaching is hard and it’s especially hard when you have no experience.

Yes, there’s excitement that comes with something new, but it wears off and if you are not enjoying your day to day life then you won’t be very happy.

That’s why I made this course. It’s because I want you to have a better experience teaching than I had.

Look if you just want to get a job then you don’t always need a certificate to do so, but if you just want a certificate to check the box then go to Groupon.

The reality is that on paper TEFL certificates are viewed mostly the same by most employers. The brand doesn’t really matter. Sure some schools may be familiar with some brand names, but they are in a different country and they don’t really care about certificates.

What do they care about?

Many schools just want a good teacher and 99% of schools value experience more than any certificate. A certificate is just a piece of paper that shows that you supposedly learned something. “Supposedly” is the key word because if it’s a low quality course without any teaching observation, feedback and it’s just not targeted towards who you will be teaching then you probably won’t remember much of it.

And it’s the same if you chase the carrot – the certificate.

It’s like that saying that life is a journey and not a destination. It’s the same with a course.

And it’s not all your fault.

It’s the education system. It’s focused on ends too like grades and useless archaic info to memorize that just goes in one ear and out the other. With TEFL courses that useless info is called studying English grammar and teaching theory.

The 2 other courses I have taken were boring and impractical. I learned a lot of… well I shouldn’t say learn because most of it went in one ear and out the other.

I took a TESOL course before I went to Taiwan (my first country) in 2004 and if I remembered right it was “accredited”, claimed to be “internationally recognized”, said it was a 120 “hour” TESOL course and offered a “guaranteed job”…

I later realized that none of those things mattered and the whole “hour” thing was a bit of BS and I could find more jobs on my own if I just looked.

So what mattered?

The teaching is what matters. What you learn in the course is what matters. The process matters.


“Don’t do it for proof, do it because the learning itself is worth it.” – Seth Godin