HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.

SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOUR SPECIAL PEOPLE

Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.

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WHY WE ENJOY OUR HOBBIES

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.

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Answering these questions will not only help you choose the right country and teaching environment but also help you answer ancillary questions such as:


Western Europe is very difficult for American teachers due to visa rules. Eastern Europe can be easier, but the pay is lower. Asia can be difficult for older teachers, and some Asian countries, such as South Korea, can be ageist. Vietnam, Taiwan and Cambodia have low costs of living and are easy markets to tap. Latin America has the fewest age restrictions with no experience required. It’s easy to apply, get interviewed and be hired in advance in most countries.


Research, plan well and visit forums such as Dave’s ESL Café if you want to explore teaching overseas.   

TEACHING OVERSEAS


There are four different teaching environments in all countries: private language schools, public schools, international schools and universities. Private language schools can serve children, adults or both. Some private language schoolteachers work a traditional shift; others work in blocks of morning and evening hours and have several free hours in the middle of the day. Sometimes the teachers travel to corporate clients. Requirements to teach in public schools vary among countries. International schools in the Middle East and Hong Kong have the most requirements, including a teaching license from your home country. Most teachers take on private students for extra money.


If you’re interested in teaching overseas, it’s very important to answer some questions first:

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela S. Hoover is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

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Have you ever considered moving overseas to teach? Requirements vary among different countries. The highest-paying Middle Eastern countries prefer mature adult teachers but demand the highest levels of education and experience. For example, Saudi Arabia typically pays teachers $50,000 to $80,000 tax free and provides private accommodations, free health care, airfare reimbursement and a contract completion bonus. Ideal candidates are over age 30 years with a master’s degree in education, a teacher’s license in their home country and a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate, a Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certificate or a Certificate in English Language to Adults (CELTA). Also desirable is a minimum of 3 years’ experience and preferably exposure to Middle Eastern culture.


Anyone with a bachelor’s degree in any field and a TEFL/TESOL/ CELTA certificate will have solid credentials throughout the world. TEFL, TESOL and CELTA certificates are training courses on how to teach English. TEFL and TESOL certificates are not given by a single entity, organization or school, which means there is variance in the quality. Make sure the course you take is at least 120 hours and includes a practicum (live practice teaching to actual students) of 20 hours or more.


CELTA is a specific brand of 120-hour TEFL certification awarded through the University of Cambridge in England. Any of these certificates typically take four weeks to complete. Part-time and online courses can take longer.