International Education

Tips for Teaching Abroad

TravelThis week, I ran a workshop for college students thinking about teaching English abroad after they graduate. It’s been a wile since I was on the teaching abroad circuit, but for those interested in this life-changing opportunity, I hope this information will be helpful.

For those more up to date than I, is there anything I missed? (Keep in mind this workshop was directed toward newly minted college graduates with little to no work experience.)

Take Your Teaching Career Abroad! 

Congratulations on your decision to consider teaching abroad. My name is Chris Bacon. After college, I did the Peace Corps in Morocco, taught ESL in South Korea, and tutored my way through South America and the Middle East. 

The information below is based solely on my own experiences – so definitely do more research for yourself. But since the possibilities can seem endless, hopefully this information will help you narrow down the field. 


How long should I go? 

Programs vary, but worthwhile programs often want a commitment of at least a year. (This is a good sign – you may not want a “revolving door” program that’s ok with people coming in/out as they see fit.)

Be warned though, many people tend to love this lifestyle and extend for multiple years in multiple countries!

Will this look like a “gap” in my resume?

Absolutely not. No matter what field you enter, employers will be interested in talking to you about this experience. It’s a powerful way to differentiate your resume from everyone else that also has a college degree, a high GPA, and countless extracurriculars. I did the Peace Corps almost a decade ago and it’s still comes up at almost every job interview.  Continue reading “Tips for Teaching Abroad”


Working and Writing from a Piece of Yourself


This may be the most lovely – and simultaneously terrifying – descriptions of the writing process I’ve ever come across: In The Writing Life, Annie Dillard compares writing to tracking down a honey tree. First, you catch a bee (presumably not with your bare hands), and then…

“Carry the bee to a nearby open spot—best an elevated one—release it, and watch where it goes. Keep your eyes on it as long as you can see it, and hie you to that last known place. Wait there until you see another bee; catch it, release it, and watch. Bee after bee will lead toward the honey tree, until you see the final bee enter the tree…. So a book leads its writer.”

Which is an exceptional life-metaphor on many levels – you don’t always know where you’re going when you begin, take one step at a time, etc. BUT THEN…

You may wonder how to start, how you catch the first one. What do you use for bait?

You have no choice. One bad winter in the Arctic, and not too long ago, an Continue reading “Working and Writing from a Piece of Yourself”

Academic Advice

Success Brings Happiness? Correction: Happiness Brings Success

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 11.28.48 AMOne of the reasons I chose my particular PhD program was because, unlike other schools I visited, the advanced doctoral students did not constantly look like they were about to get hit by a bus. There seemed to be a degree of work-life-balance engrained into the program.

And lo and behold, they might be on to something. Looks like there’s “a more fun” way to be successful:

Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, studies happiness, and its relationship to productivity. And it looks like happiness brings success more reliably than success brings happiness. 

Continue reading “Success Brings Happiness? Correction: Happiness Brings Success”