EFL / ESL English Teaching

Teaching abroad as an EFL / ESL English Teacher

Teaching abroad as an EFL / ESL English Teacher

The majority of the ESL jobs advertised around the world are from private language schools. These can vary considerably in terms of size, quality and organisation; from well run and professional schools, to badly organized and chaotic schools. There are also many voluntary teaching opportunities in less developed parts of the world.

It's well worth asking for comments on sites like Linkedin or TES if you have questions about specific schools, recruitment agencies or working in specific countries. It's also worth trying to find out how long the average teacher stays at a given school. This will give you an indication of what it's like to work there.

A new teacher asked me recently what I would do differently if I could start my teaching career again. My answer was that I would focus more on finding the right school for me rather than just getting a job. Throughout my career, even at its start, I have rarely been unemployed for long but, at least at the beginning, I could have been a little pickier. Salaries are generally consistent in any given country and I'd rather work in a positive atmosphere and earn a little less per hour than spend a year feeling unappreciated and taken advantage of. Feeling good has a value.

freelance esl teacher

Working as a freelance ESL teacher

This can be a more profitable option, and it also gives you more freedom, not just in terms of when you teach, but who, and where. If you want to spend time looking around the country you live in, this is the best way to do it. Obviously you need to work out how to find work and set yourself up for tax, but once that's done you can concentrate on teaching. Depending on where you are and who you teach, you may find yourself teaching in your home, students' homes or in companies.

One or two hiccups..

In some countries you may find restrictions which prevent you from working freelance. In others, it may be impossible to get a work permit unless you work for a recognised school. Every country is different, so you need to research this, and the rules will probably vary according to where you are coming from. For example, a British teacher will have no problems at all teaching in Europe, but an American will find that in many countries they require a visa and work permit. Your own country's government should be able to provide this information, or visit the embassy of the country you are hoping to move to.

These days, with the advent of internet social networking sites, getting genuinely useful and practical help is easier than ever. If you're not a member of Linkedin, a work-oriented networking site, join. Once a member, you can visit and become a member of the many teacher groups. Once a member of a group you can search the member lists and find those who live and work in the country you're thinking of teaching in. Ask them what it's like, what potential problems you'll face and for advice on where to look for jobs. In many cases this will be the most valuable advice you could hope to find.

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