How to Become an English Teacher Abroad
How to find TEFL jobs
There are two basic methods you can use to land a job teaching English.
1) Pack your things, jump on a plane to somewhere you want to live and go find a job
This requires a bit of balls and you will need a bit of money saved up to cover the initial period when you’re looking for work. The vast majority of jobs are not advertised online and most employers won’t take you seriously unless you are physically in their country and inside their school. If you opt for this it’s best to head out a week or so before the start of the school year (varies from country to country) and head from school to school with your CV. In many places you have a decent chance of being offered a job on the spot! This is the best method for finding work, especially in Europe where it’s hard to find a job in advance.
It can be a bit daunting to do this at first though, so there’s no harm in sending out few enquiries and trying to line up an interview or two in advance. Most EFL interviews are fairly straight forward affairs where their main goal is to confirm that you can indeed speak English clearly.
You might find our living costs guide useful in deciding upon where to go. With a bit of research online you can find out about TEFL salaries in different places so by comparing the two you can get an idea of how much money you can save up in different places.
2) Browse the Internet for TEFL jobs and sort it out in advance
Some of the bigger schools, countries where there is high demand and some schools in less popular countries use the Internet to recruit teachers. China and South Korea are perhaps the two countries which has a constant stream of TEFL jobs advertised online but there are positions offered all over the world. If you upload your CV to websites you may even be approached by schools.
A few TEFL job websites worth looking at are:
You will probably need to have a fairly simple SKYPE interview to secure a job. The downside of this method is that it offers little security for either party. Teachers do accept jobs and then have a sudden change of heart about their upcoming move to Uzbekistan. From your point of view you should be aware that many English language schools and agencies are also a little bit dodgy. Some will try to get your money in exchange for their services. You shouldn’t have to pay to get a job (especially one that might not even exist). Use a forum like the one on Dave’s ESL Cafe to try and contact people who have worked for the school in the past or can verify that they are a legitimate organisation.
How easy is it to find work teaching English as a Foreign Language?
While you may not have had much idea before of how to find TEFL jobs, a more important question is perhaps how many jobs are out there. It varies from country to country but generally speaking it is often ridiculously easy to find an English teaching job. Better still from a travel perspective, there is a market for English teachers in practically every single nation on the planet. English is the international language so if you’re a native speaker with a TEFL qualification you shouldn’t have much trouble finding work. A degree is required in a few of the more academically minded countries in the Far East but isn’t a necessity in most. Teaching English is by no means solely an option for native speakers and people from all kinds of different backgrounds end up making a living in TEFL.
Overall if you are certain about where you want to go, you will have more chance with method 1 then method 2. Employers will take your application much more seriously if you show up in person rather than send them an e-mail from the other side of the world with vague plans to come and teach English in their country. If you’re open-minded about where you teach then you can have some success with method 2 especially once you have built up some experience.
A good tip for beginners is to do a TEFL course in a city which you would like to teach. If you do well on the course, the school may even employ you but as a minimum they should help you find work and it gives you a chance to make friends and get to know the city too. Short-term jobs at summer camps are also a nice way to get your first TEFL experience.
NEXT – SHORT TERM TEFL JOBS
This article was published in September 2014.