I was an electrical engineering major in college. Started work after graduating and then began studying Chinese on my own. Shortly thereafter I figured the only way I'd get to the proficiency level that I wanted would be to live there. I then found an organization that helps to pair schools in China with people wanting to English there (since it is in-demand in china).
I lived and taught English in Huzhou, Zhejiang, China for two years at a college there.
I was fortunate enough to be able to do it in two countries. First time I did it privately and in Nicaragua. I would have definitely prepared more but my improvisational skills were good.
Second time I did it through the peace corps in Micronesia. I would have tried to do more hands on activities in the classroom. Biggest rewards, well I think the whole obvious one is being able to live in a different country. You get to experience a whole new culture, try different foods, and learn a whole new way of life. Second you are helping a new generation of people and giving them the stepping stones to be successful in this life. I know alot of Americans don't make a big deal about speaking English because we are around it every day and we speak it. However, being able to speak English fluently in another country is a huge deal. You can get a good paying job and not have to stress over money by being able to speak English. Third is confidence, the more you teach, the more confidence you gain in your teaching abilities. When I first started in Nicaragua I had very little confidence, but since then I have been teaching in some form or another. So, when I got to Micronesia, I was much more confident and comfortable as a teacher. There is no set of things that pertain to each situation that they don't tell you in each country. Each country has its own unique set of challenges. I'll give you an example, in Nicaragua, I had the hardest time getting my students to behave and be quiet. In Micronesia, it was the exact opposite, I had the toughest time for awhile to get my students to be able to participate. I had to keep thinking of ways to try to be able to get my students to contribute in activities. They were very afraid to make a mistake, so they sat quietly. Even when I would call on them, they wouldn't answer. Overall, I enjoyed tesl very much. I loved being able to teach kids the language I am a native speaker in. After a semester of teaching, my kids had improved noticeably in the English language. I loved living in a different country and trying new foods. It wasn't always easy but through the experience I feel I grew stronger being on my own in two unknown environments. If anyone is thinking about doing this or feels like they have a passion or calling in life to do this, then I would definitely recommend finding the right opportunity for you to do it. I can definitely tell you that it's not for everyone. It does take a lot of patience to be a teacher. You have to improvise as things will not always go as you want them or expect them to. It does get difficult and hard, but it's a very fun and rewarding experience in life.
Education major in college, have several state level certifications in gen ed, esl and bilingual ed.... Have taught in Honduras, El Salvador, Panama and the states... saved more money when I was younger to spend here + pack less + go out more in country.... Everyday you can be the nice American not the snotty, stuck up one and prove stereotypes wrong... It can be hard to adjust at times and you will get sick in that adjustment period + gringo tax can be infuriating at times