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When to Bail: Part I Option II

28/06/2012

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of stepping back and re-evaluating your first year’s work as a teacher. If grad school is not for you, why not enjoy a gap year? Typically, gap year refers to the year after high school and before college when a student backpacks, volunteers, or works abroad. I believe in Australian terms it would be a walkabout (What is an Australian walkabout?), time to reflect on and evaluate your past, present, & future paths. There are GOBS of opportunities out there for nomadic souls, and travel broadens one’s perspective at least three-fold. Amazingly blogger Lillie Marshall has compiled many great ideas at her website http://www.teachingtraveling.com/. Man, oh man, if I had visited this website ten years ago!

Also, if you came to teaching young and are under thirty you may want to au pair for a year. Check out http://www.planetaupair.com/. Unfortunately, I didn’t discover the world of au pairing until I was older than such organizations typically desire, but it looks like a great deal to me. Usually 20-40 hours of child care per week gets you a stipend and host family and meals for three, six, nine, or twelve months. The rest of the time is yours to explore your new home and culture!

A former student of mine chose to au pair in Spain immediately following high school. While the other students were applying to college she was filling out au pair applications. Because she applied early and was in no hurry to find a placement she was able to hold out for exactly what she wanted. In her case, that was a home on the beach, and that is exactly what she got! The lucky lady was placed with a family of two doctors on the beach in Valencia, Spain! They even helped her learn Spanish.

Au pair families understand that their child-care worker is also there to learn about the culture and are encouraged to foster such knowledge. So if you are in your late teens or twenties maybe au pair work is for you, for at least one year anyway. And, if you enjoy it, it’s a great way to spend future summers of your teaching career.

Bottom line? Recharge your batteries anywhere in the world your heart desires. It can only enhance your teaching and your soul. Namaste.

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