Starting out in ESL Teaching .... Cont'd

Find an ESL teaching job

Taster courses

If you're not sure what ESL teaching involves, it is worth speaking to several teacher training schools to see if they offer short 'taster courses' which can give you a quick introduction to the concept.

Gaining experience

One way of gaining experience, especially for newly qualified teachers, is to take part in voluntary teaching programs. Apart from overseas projects run by VSO and others, you can often volunteer your teaching services locally, for example teaching English to newly arrived immigrants. In some cases, these charitable organisations will even provide training.

If your salary level is of importance, take great care when assessing the average salaries and cost of living in the countries you are considering moving to. In some cases, a teacher can earn a salary several times higher than the national average, yet not earn enough to buy a return flight home more than once a year. Quite obviously, the higher paid jobs, or jobs in countries which are 'richer' are subject to fierce competition.

Finding a job

teaching children

Once you are qualified and sure you want to teach overseas, and have decided where, you have to find a job. The internet is almost certainly the best place to begin your search. You may choose to look for a recruitment agency, contact schools directly or look for sites which feature job adverts from direct employers such as this site, or Also, social websites, in particular Linkedin, have teacher or teaching groups, through which you may find jobs advertised.

Be very wary of internet based agencies which require you to forward copies (even scanned) of passports, certificates, etc, or which ask for money. Our advice, wherever you go on the internet, is that you should ignore the frequently seen adverts offering '100 teaching jobs across China today' and their like. Very few of these seem to relate to genuine jobs and although such adverts are widely seen, the company names change every month...

Word of mouth can be valuable, if you have friends already teaching abroad. Then, of course, there is the printed press, and specialist teaching magazines exist can be of great value if you can find a local stockist.

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