Getting an English teaching job abroad, an introduction to some key aspects
Part 1 of getting an English teaching job abroad covers:
- What the best employers look for in their English teaching job candidates
- Is age a problem for getting an English teaching job abroad?
- I want to get an English teaching job abroad in …. but I don’t speak the language
- Types of jobs
- What is teaching English like?
What the best employers look for in their English teaching job candidates
On an ever increasing basis language schools that hire ESOL/ESL/EFL teachers insist that an applicant has an officially accredited qualification from a course that included real teaching practice with non-native English language learners.
Why do the best schools prefer this type of candidate? Simple, they want to hire people who have had quality training, can prepare and execute lesson plans, know how to behave in a classroom and have taught non-English speakers in a real classroom environment. They want to feel secure that a new teacher knows what he or she is doing and won’t screw up.
This preference can exclude people who have taken non-accredited TEFL certificate courses or online, distance learning and short courses that DO NOT include teaching practice. This is not to say that these people are not employable, they will find work, but unless they are lucky, there’s an increased chance that it will be be in low-grade, low-quality or low-paying language schools.
There are other qualities that an employer looks for as well such as: life/business experience, having a degree, dynamism, dependability etc., but all the good schools will expect a candidate to at least have an accredited TESOL/TEFL certificate with teaching practice.
Is age a problem for getting an English teaching job abroad?
Teaching English abroad is a sector where ageism is not practised and sometimes being older can be an advantage.
Some people are concerned about their age when thinking about English teaching. EBC graduates range from 21 and above. Our oldest graduate took the course when he was 68 and then got a job. Age is usually not a problem when teaching English.
Most employers place equal value on the youth and liveliness of recent college graduates as they do on the rich work and life experience of older people.
“Horses for courses” is the motto for this one. However, if you’re under 21, you may find it quite difficult to convince an employer that you’ll be a good and credible teacher.
I want to get an English teaching job abroad in …. but I don’t speak the language
You DON’T need to speak the local language to be able to teach English abroad. Most employers will ask you to stick to speaking English in order to encourage your students to learn. Having an “English Only” environment is the best way to learn the language.
Turn the language barrier into an opportunity. It’s one of the benefits we see and others do as well.
If you’re going to a country where they use a language that you don’t know, pick up a phrase book and learn some of the basics, but don’t worry too much.
You’ll find that you’ll have to learn the local language in order to get by. This requirement to learn the local language will show you some of the problems your students will have when learning English. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you start learning. We’ve had many students attend our courses that didn’t speak the local language and we were pleasantly surprised that at the end of our 4 week residential course, most of them had learned the basics.
Types of jobs
An English teaching job abroad comes in all shapes and sizes ranging from working for private language schools through to state schools, however the door will always be open to someone like you who has an accredited certificate. An accredited certificate, like EBC’s, will enable you to work for almost any language school that you choose in almost any country in the world.
You’ll be able to teach to students of all ages and social status. This largely depends on your personal choice.
There is a constant requirement for qualified ESOL/ESL/EFL teachers so finding an English teaching job abroad after taking an accredited course is virtually guaranteed.
What is teaching English like?
This depends a lot on where and who you teach, but you’ll be expected to know your subject, plan and deliver coherent classes and behave professionally.
If you teach for a language school you may get to teach in their classrooms, you may get sent to a client’s site to teach in an office or sometimes you’ll teach in your student’s home. If you teach for a state school then you will teach classes of children during normal school hours.
Like all jobs, teaching can be stressful at times, but as long as you’re prepared you will be OK. You will get people in class who are difficult to deal with, but your TESOL TEFL course should teach you some of the basic skills to deal with these situations.
Getting an English teaching job abroad can be very rewarding and very satisfying, but something never to be forgotten is that you get out of it what you put into it.