So, which kind of teachers have you met?
Young, fresh out of University and eager to get going. First time teachers are often viewed as too optimistic by those that have been teaching abroad for any considerable time. A greenhorn teacher wants to change the world and actually believes that they can. You’ll usually catch them hanging out in packs with other teachers as they are too afraid to venture out solo yet.
As it’s usually the first time they've lived abroad, they are amazed by everything. Don’t be surprised to see them with a camera in hand, snapping photos of mundane things that seem to amaze them like menus, street signs and posters.
While naive, their outlook is to be admired. Don’t make too much fun of them, you were probably one of them at one stage!
The disgruntled veteran
At the other end of the scale, you’ll find the disgruntled veteran. Bitter and abrasive, this teacher should have left 5 years ago. Although married to a local and having lived a decade in the country, they still can’t speak the language. Complains that locals can’t speak English, not realizing the irony that if they could, their job wouldn't exist.
- Tells you how much better things were in the ‘the good old days’. The salaries higher, the food cheaper and the woman more beautiful. Yep, just 10 years ago people were getting US$100/hour and a full meal cost US$1!
- Constantly compares how much better their native country is, despite the fact they’ve only gone back there a handful of times and can’t find a job.
- They look at new teachers with disdain and are sure that they were never so stupid when they first arrived.
You’ll probably find them in the corner of a dingy expat bar, harping on to the bartender and other veteran mates, the only people who’ll still listen to them.
The over-the-top professional
Not to be confused with the veteran, the professional has been teaching for years, but takes this job too seriously. In an industry that has many inexperienced workers, isn’t it good to see someone taking the job seriously? Yes, it is. But not this seriously! They never seem to have any down time and are working 24/7.
They are ultra-competitive about everything. You taught 30 hours last week? You can be sure that they taught 31. You've been teaching 7 years? They've done 8. If there’s a number involved, you can be sure there’s will be higher. Or lower. Whatever’s more impressive!
The party animal
Does this guy ever sleep? Yes he does, and you know this as you see him falling asleep in the staff room between classes.
The party animal took up teaching English so that he could party abroad, rather than teach abroad. They can sometimes even disguise themselves for the first few weeks at work, until they slowly but surely expose their true selves. An after-work drink suddenly turns into an all-night bender for them.
This guy is fun to hang out with once in a while, but you don’t want to be associated with him too closely. The kind of guy where you wouldn't be surprised to find out that he had appeared on an episode of Banged Up Abroad.
Female English teachers will be able to recognize a womanizer by the complete lack of interest he shows in them in favor of local women. Another hint is to check his search history for “How to date insert nationality here girls” or “Which country is the easiest to pick up women?”
She is usually pretty chilled but steer clear of any conversation about travel as she tends to dominate it. You won’t have been to as many countries as she has and even if you have, you probably didn't go to the ‘right’ area or travel it the ‘right’ way. Hint: ‘right’ always means however she did it.
The traveller is a nice person, but don’t try to get to close to them, as they’ll probably be off to their next destination in a few months’ time.
The midnight runner
Despite the name, the time of day to do a midnight run isn't important. It can be a successful midnight run so long as it is done by surprise without telling anyone just after hiring season is finished so that the remaining teachers get screwed for the rest of the semester!
You even got on quite well with the person and chances are you lent them something that you are now never going to get back.
Are we missing any? Leave a comment below!