Looking to start teaching English in Malta? I interviewed Sarah, who has been teaching abroad for years! She has worked abroad in many different teaching settings, both long and short-term, but today, she is sharing her story of volunteering to teach English in Malta.
The traveling teachers series is all about people who travel, and you guessed it – teach! Each interview features a different teacher, traveling to a different place, and teaching a unique group of students. So often, we hear of people teaching abroad, but what is it really like? How do you find opportunities?
There are many questions surrounding traveling and teaching. Through this series, I hope you are inspired by the good work going on around the world, learn, and start to think about ways you can travel and teach abroad yourself. I’m excited to share a story about becoming a language assistant in Spain with you.
If you plan to be a traveling teacher, a TESOL certification is a great way to start. I got mine through International Open Academy for just $19! Highly recommend this as a first step in your traveling teacher journey.
This week I am excited to bring you a story about Sarah's experience volunteering as a teacher in Malta! All her working life, she worked for airlines and a variety of travel companies to satisfy my lust for travel, but the more she traveled, the more she wanted to travel. After 18 months away, she thought maybe she should return to the UK and get a proper job, but was having too much fun, so became an English teacher in Thailand! This started her teaching journey, which has not stopped since. She writes about her travels on LifePart2 and Beyond.
What inspired you to start teaching?
I first started teaching English, when I was traveling around Asia and realized I really didn’t want to return to the UK. Teaching English was a great way to fund my travels, and avoid having to return to the ‘real world.’
Now, I am living in Malta, I teach English voluntarily on a casual basis to migrants and refugees.
How long did you teach and where?
I spent twelve years teaching English in Thailand in language and government schools. From there, I moved across the border to Laos, where I taught more casually for two years. I then moved to Portugal, but although I am British and was part of the EU then, finding teaching jobs was hard as they would not recognize my teaching experience from SE Asia.
Now, I live in Malta, but because I'm no longer part of the EU, getting a paid teaching job is far more complicated. So currently, I teach English as a volunteer to migrants and refugees
How did you find the opportunity to start teaching English in Matla?
I found the volunteering job in Malta on Facebook. I went along to check out the school and was really impressed with the support they gave to the migrants and refugees, that I wanted to help. It’s only a couple of hours a week of my time. It’s good to be able to give back to the community, plus it keeps up my teaching skills for when I move countries again.
Are any of your expenses covered by the teaching experience?
All school books and stationery are provided, but nothing else. It’s only a few hours of your time and the school Blue Door Education in Valletta is only a short ferry ride away for me.
Were you able to spend time traveling and exploring the country while teaching?
Oh most definitely, being able to travel and explore is very important for me. As I only do one or two lessons a week, that gives me plenty of time to pursue other interests.
What were interactions with students like?
Having previously taught teenagers and young children, it’s wonderful teaching English to adults who are actually interested in learning and not being forced by parents to attend.
And it's also humbling to hear the reasons why my current students left their country. So many of my students have awful stories of human trafficking, wars, and poverty and how hard the journey was to get to Europe, its heartbreaking.
And then it is very embarrassing for me when they ask why did I leave England. After hearing their stories, how can I say I left because I don’t like grey skies?
What is your favorite part of your teaching experiences?
It’s a wonderful cultural and immersive experience. You will learn so much from others, far more than you teach.
What is one piece of advice you have for someone who wants to teach abroad?
Do it. It’s an amazing experience, even if it's for just a short time, it’s a fun and fascinating way to meet other cultures. And if you’re ever in Malta and want to help out, even if it’s just for a week or two, I know Blue Door would be happy to hear from you.