Plot Twist! Reality Check for EFL teachers.

There was months of planning and paperwork, interviews at 2am from across the world, leaving a wonderful job that I loved in Thailand for the opportunity to teach at a college in Colombia. At the very last minute, my job in Colombia has been canceled. By very last minute, I mean I was supposed to leave at the end of January and I was told at the beginning of January that I would not be going. I was also told three days before the college semester started. So, as an adult ESL educator in the US (I am not a K-12 Certified teacher), I will not be able to find any adjunct positions until Fall 2018. Additionally, many of the teach abroad programs had already closed for February start dates.

Why and how did this happen? As an EFL instructor for different countries, your job may never be guaranteed. This is a reality that we have to keep in mind when dealing with other government agencies. In the case of Colombia, non-profits bid to run the education program. In the past five years they have always chosen the same two non-profits to run the program. So it was unlikely that this year would be any different. But somehow, a new organization won the bid. This means that the agency that I was hired through did not feel comfortable putting their instructors in the hands of an organization that 1. they have never worked with before, and 2. does not have a high reputation for running large scale programs such as education programs in Colombia. This is unfortunate and upsetting, however, I do understand and respect why my organization felt this way. This is because the decision not to send us to Colombia could not have been easy, but they kept the safety and well-being of their workers in mind and did offer other alternative options for programs in other countries.

So what can you do? Ultimately, the decisions of other governments and other countries are out of your control. Some education programs are more solid than others. Thailand, for instance, may run on Thai-time and their start and end dates may move, but from my experience as long as you have an open, flexible, patient mind, you will be okay. Unfortunately in this business, your job may never be guaranteed. So just like adapting to living in a new country, you have to be adaptable to job mishaps as well. Luckily English teachers abroad are in demand, you just have to work with varying start dates and the lull between contracts.

When a contract falls through you have every right to be pissed. Feel all the feelings and hate the universe. Scream and feel like you have no idea what the heck you are doing this for. But after that, get up and actually remember why you are doing this. And then remember that this is the nature of the beast and as much as it sucks, you have options. Not everyone gets to go and connect with the world at large. So how cool it is that you get to.


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