Am I too old to teach English abroad?
This short article is based on what I have seen and experienced over the last 12 years working as a TEFL course manager.
I work for EBC and we train English teachers through an intensive, four-week TEFL programme.
The objective is to give our course attendees enough technical and practical knowledge as is humanly possible about teaching English to non-English speaking professionals. We demand that each attendee has educational, career and life experience. We demand that each attendee is organised and can handle the pressure of putting his/her life on hold whilst living and breathing teaching during the four-week course.
Agonising about being too old to teach English abroad?
Teaching is not a rich person’s game but it is an age does not matter game. In certain circumstances, the older the better. Teaching will keep you comfortable but it is not going to buy you that Ferrari you always dreamed about.
I have seen a wide range of attendees from 21 year olds (minimum entry age) through to retired people in their late 60s. The oldest EBC course attendee was a retired Juilliard professor who, at the time, was 68.
Part of what we teach you is how to teach English to professionals. This type of English language learner comprises people in the business sector who need to either learn or improve their English, the de facto global business language. There are about seven billion people on the planet. There are about four hundred million native English speakers on the planet. Do the math! There is a never-ending demand for learning and teaching English.
The fact that the majority of these learners are professionals means that their teachers must be special.
Age is not a problem and can be an advantage
In a professional English language classroom, age is an advantage. I work out of Madrid and I know many schools that will not hire teachers under 35 for teaching English to professionals.
The main requirements are to know how to teach, professional experience and life experience. We run an accredited certificate course so you can be trained to meet the first requirement but the remaining two are primarily a result of age.
“I’m too old to teach English abroad.” You are as old as you want to be. Using age as a self-made barrier is just silly.
Business sector limitations
They do not exist. Since I started working at EBC, I have met people from almost every walk of life possible. Here are a few examples: recent graduates, accountants, advertising executives, airline cabin staff, company executives, schoolteachers, lawyers, tenured university professors, music teachers, pilots, IT technicians, political aides, police officers, nurses, air traffic controllers, and more.
What they all have in common is prior success, professional skills and life experience before deciding to teach English to their fellow professionals.
They all were somewhat adventurous and curious because they left their own countries to travel to where we teach the course and then chose to stay and work in the country.
Some of them liked it so much that the used our job service to help them move around the world and teach in several countries.
You are never too old to teach English abroad
As long as you are still healthy and mobile, the question of being too old to teach English abroad is irrelevant.
Teaching English to professionals is one of the few jobs in the world where being older is an advantage. It is also very rewarding.