Do You Have to “Like” Kids?

Voila! You’ve earned a teaching credential, landed a position in an International School and fulfilled your dream of exploring the world! Waitbut…what if you don’t really “like” kids as much as you “love” the idea of a life and career of worldwide adventures?

To be clear, there’s a huge difference between not “liking” kids and detesting them. Anyone who detests children obviously has no business in the teaching profession. Not “liking” but caring about kids, on the other hand, may simply denote someone who doesn’t choose to spend their free-time with kids, but is qualified, capable and motivated to teach them.

It would be naïve to think everyone who enters the teaching profession does so with the singular motive to “serve children.” Is there a difference between entering the profession, one perceived as altruistic, with the expectation it will meet one’s financial needs as compared to entering the profession as a means to explore the world?

ISR Asks: Is something inherently wrong with becoming an International educator if the underlying motivation is to travel and live overseas? Does the deeper adventure motivation make a teacher any less qualified to teach? Does it make an International teacher any less effective in the classroom if they really don’t “like” children?

Comments? Please scroll down to participate in this ISR Discussion

10 thoughts on “Do You Have to “Like” Kids?

  1. Interesting… hmm…

    There’s nothing wrong with chasing the money. Never met a teacher internationally or not who hands their pay packet back every month. Nothing wrong having travel as a part of one’s ‘pro list’.

    The only difference between a lawyer and a teacher wanting to chase a high paying salary overseas is lawyers cannot practice without any qualifications AND accreditations. The teaching profession, mainly questionable “universities” meanwhile continue to flush “qualifications” that all western countries simply will not consider not touch with a 100ft pole.


  2. You don’t have to even like kids depending on what kind of job you get overseas. There are administration jobs that don’t require people to work directly with children. There are language schools where most of the students are adults. There are universities where students can no longer be considered children anymore, and I’d say the same is true for anyone teaching high school students in their final two years of education. There are also resource and support positions that require contact with children but not as much as full time homeroom teachers. There’s a wide gamut of jobs available in international education, but obviously if you choose to teach children you should be ready to open your heart to them every single time you’re in the classroom with them. You don’t have to love or even like every child, but disliking children is a poor start. Anyone in that category should get one of the jobs outlined above.


  3. Never could have stayed a teacher if I didn’t like kids. The job isn’t satisfying enough for me otherwise. Travel and the expat life are great, but I wouldn’t want to spend my life doing something I didn’t find fulfilling.


  4. “Not “liking” but caring about kids, on the other hand, may simply denote someone who doesn’t choose to spend their free-time with kids, but is qualified, capable and motivated to teach them.”

    Who spends their free time with kids? That’s a weird thing to say….Unless they are your own kids.

    This article just justifies that people look at teaching as joke and not an actual profession.


  5. Based on my years of experience and personal beliefs, “liking” kids is not necessarily a guarantee of success or a sign of a skilled teacher. I went overseas for an adventure, to see and meet other types of students, to experience multiple cultures, to interact with fellow professionals (both good and bad) and of course, to get well rewarded. Fortunately, in most schools I worked in, all of the above was readily available despite some schools being very poor institutions. I never regretted it but I already enjoyed the company of children during my working day and learned to love their energy, passion and cleverness.


    1. Was the adventure seeking and cultural exchange your primary motivator in the beginning? Or, was in the compensation and lowered cost of living?


  6. I could be very wrong (have not actually looked at the numbers) but I suspect the majority of people who go into international teaching do so out of a desire to teach AND earn decent money doing it. Teaching as a career is becoming less and less financially viable in the west. Travel opportunities and being able to work with kids may be a motivating factor, but not the primary factor for most people doing this.


    1. I went overseas to escape the dead end educational “system”, parachute parents who blamed educators for everything wrong with “their angels” and lackadaisical kids I worked with in public schools. At the same time the adventure and the decent pay, with minimal or no taxes and costs were an attraction but secondary to the adventure and growth these experiences offered. I saw the best and the worst of NFP and for-profit institutions and their owners or Board members. What I didn’t expect to find was such ubiquitous incompetence and marginal management in 4 out of my 6 schools.


  7. Interesting article. I went into education with the thought I would teach in an international school. I’m not particularly fond of kids. Never have been. There is a difference between interacting on a professional level and being their big buddy. I’ve been overseas for over 10 years. I’m in my 4th school. Liking kids and being an excellent teacher do not go hand in hand. The teacher next door to my classroom loves kids, so she says, yet her method of classroom control is to yell at the top of her lungs to get them to stop talking. She has no method of classroom control or discipline in place. She wastes a lot of time trying to regain control of the class. She’s not a good teacher in my opinion. She would make a better after school nanny.


    1. There are some students I like. Maybe 20-30%. Good kids who have a chance of helping the world. Some students are just bodies in a chair or a name on a list. I do my professional best for them but they are quickly forgotten and mean nothing to me. I dislike about 10-15% of my students. They are bad kids who will likely become bad adults. “Life will sort them out”, a colleague used to say. I wish that were true.


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