Never have I thought that I would end up back again as an educator let alone being an ESL teacher!
Let me walk you through to my not-so drastic change in my career and give you an itsy bitsy introduction and career background of myself, Danah Rose Cruzado at your service since 1993! A 100% Filipina who got a degree of Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at the age of 19, hired in the same year after my graduation as a Computer Education Instructor, a smooth redirection of career path to begin with. I learn strategies in teaching while doing the work itself, got a very minimal resources nevertheless that didn’t stop me.
I left after a year of service as I pursue a passion and hobby of mine, then went back to work as a Customer Service Associate at Convergys now Concentrix where I was trained to communicate with American clients.
Honestly speaking, my English was close to above average since I had not used the language that much plus my accent was not really good, but the training they provided and the work itself gave me exposure and confidence that was enough to play with the language.
I left that industry after a year of service as I got an offer to work as a hotelier at Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. A huge redirection of career and again got no resources nor background in this field, but hey they hired me so there I went! I joined Sheraton Hotels, a Marriott International owned chain hotel and served them for 3 years.
Basically, I’ve been an Overseas Filipino Worker since I was 22 years old, been exposed to reality and different path of career since I was 19 but how did I become an ESL Instructor?
During my stay in Oman, I got friends who were in this field of English teaching who kept sharing their experiences on Facebook. I knew that was the start but I got no confidence at first. I knew that I can speak English properly, yet I didn’t know whether I could teach the subject. Although I have experience in the field of teaching but my degree doesn’t suffice. However, I read blogs further about it and got a clearer picture about this field and made up my mind that I could!
I flew back to the Philippines and immediately started my TEFL training, finished after few weeks and got left and right opportunities which were bound to different countries but mostly were to China.
I took the offer with the highest pay however they wanted me to leave immediately and as a tourist. But I stick to my decision to fly out as a documented OFW, because I heard bad stories about leaving the country undocumented and I don’t want to take chances. Better be safe than sorry.
In the end, the company left me hanging and didn’t pursue my application. So I accepted another offer that helped me through out the POEA process. Fast forward, it is now the teaching job I’m currently holding here in Yingkou City, China.
From the authentication of all documents to application of Chinese Z visa then processing the Overseas Employment Certificate was no joke. The entire process needed huge patience, time, and money. The whole process from authentication to OEC took me 2-3 months but it was worth it!
Let me now give you a sneak peek of the new chapter of my career comeback.
I’m here now for a month and the experience have been superb; I used to work like 12 hours a day as a hotelier. But as an ESL teacher my job only requires me to work maximum of 5 hours a day. I used to live in a small room with a strict landlady as a Customer Service Associate. But now I enjoy living solo in a 2 bedroom flat.
I was so used to deal with and be shouted at by complaining guests/ customers but the people here respect us as foreigners. I know it is not good to compare but for me it is appreciating everything I am having right now, even the smallest ones.
In my short stay here, communication’s been real difficult and hyped! People here even think that I belong to their own race and that I look like a typical Chinese which is funny because I also got this comment from the different countries I went to and visited.
Let’s just say that my Asian roots are strong to be distinguished as Asian. Translator apps are real help, both text and voice. Among all the places I have travelled, it is only here that I do charades to make them understand what I was trying to say.
Majority of the population in the Middle East were expats and majority of the locals can understand and speak English even in minimal state. That’s why my adjustment there was minimal too. However here was a great leap of change. Fun and challenging.
Whenever I and my other foreign colleagues go out and people hear us talking in English, we become head turners which is weird for me. And I think the locals feel much weirder whenever they talk to me in Chinese and I reply in English just to say that I don’t understand them. But hey! It is my sole purpose of coming here: to teach English.
Food here is not far from what my taste buds used to have in the Philippines. And these are authentic Chinese food that I usually had back in my country too, so all are good for my tummy! Rice everywhere!
Let’s talk about how my work is feeling like not work at all.
Maybe because I got so used to working hard, play hard set-up that now I feel like I’m not working at all. It is the Chinese teachers who prepares the lesson plan, all foreign teachers need to do is execution and make the learning fun!
I got experience in teaching, yet I need to unlearn it since that was a typical classroom set-up type of teaching and the place I am working right now wants a way of teaching that will push the students to learn the language by usage and practice.
Building student’s confidence to speak by not stripping the English language through its core but a teaching approach that would encourage the students to communicate. Up to this date, I am still learning this teaching approach and proud to say that I am making progress while also enjoying because it makes my work easier.
Everything above may sound fantastic and so positive since I haven’t shared the downside of the story which were always part of each chapter of person’s life, this is not to scare you, but it is reality.
Living as an OFW will make you completely independent. You’ll be away from your family and friends. You’ll live a life that is completely different from where you used to be. You can cry as much as you want but that will make you stronger and that is the challenge you need to suck up. Once you survive it, you’ll be that bad-ass person who can beat world!
Everything above may sound like a huge diversion from my career as I jump from one industry to another, it feels like I cannot satisfy myself of where I was or maybe I’m still finding where I really want to be but hey I made a comeback to the field of teaching. Who knows maybe this is where I really belong? I was in the midst of a career growth when I was in the hotel industry but for sure this ESL teaching wouldn’t come to my path for no reason. Hello, an adventure it is!
Everything above may sound like it triggers the word ‘settlement’ for both relationship and career but let me put it this way: I don’t want to settle when I still have questions and with that unsatisfied feeling inside my head.
I don’t want to live the rest of my life knowing I haven’t found myself yet. Growing in my chosen career is good too but if it becomes toxic, I bet this will make you fed up and eventually living that endless routine that is not healthy at all.
It’s time to get up and chase what your heart really desire!
All I can share are words of encouragement that you don’t need a sign to get a go signal to try and explore. You just need to have plenty of courage and some answers to what ifs that you have in mind.
Never be afraid of change, better try than live in regrets. It’s way better to share to the future generation; your very own children maybe, telling them, “This adventure happened because I just did it, and you can too.”
Join the biggest ESL community in the Philippines. Be one of us.