Teaching English is one of the most popular types of volunteer work amongst young people, and university students in particular, as it allows them to teach a valuable life skill that can change peoples’ lives, and doesn’t require much/any formal training. It is one of few positions where being a native, or near a native level, English speaker and writer is enough to qualify and still make a real difference to your pupils’ future career prospects.

Doing so can be a daunting experience, though, as the students will in many cases be older than one might expect. While it is entirely possible to find a volunteering positions teaching young people and children, you are equally likely to find yourselves teaching a class of individuals with ages ranging from 20 to 45, which may mean that you will be acting as a teacher for persons who older than yourselves. This can, of course, be quite a scary prospect.

Don’t let that put you off, though, there are several things that you can do to make sure that your time as a teacher goes smoothly. First and perhaps most importantly, make sure to plan your classes before setting off. While you may not, in all cases, be able to plan each lesson in detail, the organisation you have chosen to volunteer with should be able to provide you with enough information about your pupils and the materials at your disposal for you to make a rough plan of how to approach the task at hand.

Planning your lessons doesn’t just involve setting out a curriculum of exercises, though, you also need to take your audience into consideration. It is important that cultural differences are kept in mind, and that you realise that some topics may be taboo in the country you are going to. On a different note, make sure to have fun – while volunteering is about helping others, it’s also meant to be rewarding for yourself, so make sure that you, and your students, enjoy the experience.

You may also want to consider what type of teacher you professor de inglês nativo want to be, and if this approach is appropriate in the country you will be working in. While you may want to be a “hip and popular” teacher who has a personal approach to their position, your students may not be used to this approach and it may have the backwards effect of losing their respect, which will make your job a lot harder. That said, the situation may be exactly the opposite as well, and the best thing you can do is try to talk to someone who has worked in the country before, or ask your organisation which approach would be more appropriate in their opinion.

As a final warning, remember that volunteering does not equal to being on holiday. Even if you’re volunteering in Thailand, its 35 degrees centigrade at 9am and ever other foreigner is wearing short-shorts and open shirts, make sure to wear appropriate clothing when at work. If you don’t, you may again find yourself losing the respect of your pupils, and not being taken seriously. Worse, your colleagues/employers may take a disliking to you, making your experience a whole lot less fun.