How is teaching in Asia different to teaching in Europe?
Diary submitted by Zoe DP. Valencia
Teaching in Asia: Cultural Awareness / Student Profiles / TEFL Abroad
Having never taught in Asia myself, I am purely using research from sources I have found online. However, I have in fact taught students with an Asian background during my time teaching in Valencia, and upon doing my research discovered I have seen similar things, to what is described in the articles, in the handful of Asian students I have taught.
One of the main differences described in the various articles I had read, was the teacher-student, and general classroom, atmosphere. One former TEFL teacher, who studied in Taiwan, states: ‘My students were very reverent, respectful, and at times, even silent in the classroom’ (Braverman, n/d), and I have seen this reflected in the students who I have taught who have migrated from China – in my experience they are far more concerned with passing the exam and learning exam skills than with learning informal English language and having casual conversations (‘What did you do over the weekend?’, ‘How was your Christmas?’etc.). The teacher-student relationship is much more strictly professional and there is less of a relaxed environment compared to the majority of my Spanish students who I have taught who like to learn colloquial language and conversation starters so they can hold ‘genuine’ conversations.
Another thing which is discussed in the majority of the articles and blogs I have read is the difference in salary. Braverman wrote that she was able to save about $800/month, stating ‘My rent was $250/month and my salary was about $2,200/month, so the numbers really speak for themselves in this part of the world’. Furthermore, another former TEFL student also affirmed: ‘Teachers in Asia can save quite a bit of money – typically 30% – 50% of their salary after monthly expenses – in markets like South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, Vietnam, and even Thailand. Depending on where you teach, English teachers in East Asia can usually expect to save $300 all the way up to $1,000 per month after expenses’ (Parsons, n/d). In comparison, ‘Salaries in Europe are still high enough to provide a comfortable lifestyle for teachers, they just usually are not able to throw money into a bank account to bring home like many teachers in Asia’ (Parsons, n/d).
In conclusion, both places have a rich, and very different, culture and both have aspects which are attractive and which are not so desirable. However, I think that teaching in Asia would be extremely rewarding and that it would be very interesting to experience such a different way of life.
- Returnofkings.com. (2015). The Good And Bad Of Teaching English In Asia – Return Of Kings. [online] Available at: http://www.returnofkings.com/52413/the-good-and-bad-of-teaching-english-in-asia [Accessed 14 Jan. 2018].
- Parsons, T. (n.d.). What are the Primary Differences Between Teaching in Europe and Asia?. [online] International TEFL Academy. Available at: https://www.internationalteflacademy.com/faq/differences-between-teaching-in-europe-and-asia [Accessed 14 Jan. 2018].
- Braverman, F. (n.d.). 4 Primary Differences Between Teaching English in Asia & Latin America. [online] International TEFL Academy. Available at: https://www.internationalteflacademy.com/blog/4-primary-differences-between-teaching-english-in-asia-latin-america [Accessed 14 Jan. 2018].