So you’ve finally decided on a location (hopefully), made up your mind that you’re going to leave the comforts of home, and have drilled into your head the fact that you’re going to move to abroad. Now comes the hard part (just kidding), getting a job.
In many ways getting a job to teach English abroad is like getting a job back home and in some ways it is completely different, but no worries, it can be really simple! There are an abundant amount of teaching opportunities abroad available.
And you don’t need to pay a company $1000 for teaching English abroad programs that will help you find a job that you have to accept or not be given another option…this way you pick what you want and pay $0.
How to get a job teaching abroad can be broken down into just a few easy steps, so here’s a step by step guide that will help you minimize your research time, get you a job faster, and have you living the life that you’re dreaming of. But if you’re ready to jump into it head first you can start by researching some courses.
Step One: Getting TEFL Certification to Teach English Abroad
If you haven’t already then you need to get certified ASAP so you know the basics of how to teach English abroad. Many countries, including most in SE Asia (the easiest area to get a job teaching English) will always hire and in many cases require that you have some kind of teaching certificate. But don’t fret, it’s much easier to get a TEFL certificate for teaching in foreign countries than it is for one back home.
You may have seen the terms TEFL, TESL, and TESOL floating around while browsing and it can be a bit confusing at first. The basics is that TEFL is Teaching English as a Foreign Language, used for teaching English in a country where English is not the first language.
TESL is Teaching English as a Second Language and is used for teaching English in countries where English is the primary language. TESOL is Teaching English to Students of Another Language, which covers both TEFL and TESL, but not as in depth.
Basically, TEFL is for teaching people in their home country (locals), and TESL is more geared towards teaching people in your home country (immigrants and refugees, etc).
I recommend getting the TEFL certification, it will more than suffice. There are even more advanced programs out there but you don’t need them. I would do minimum the 100-hour course as that’s what most schools require, but the 120-hour program is better as it gives you a bit more detail for specific learners like business or young children.
Now choosing which TEFL course is easier said than done. I recommend myTEFL, a company with a variety of courses that is priced extremely well. Don’t pay for overpriced programs, they’re all the same thing.
Getting TEFL certified doesn’t mean that you have to teach in a traditional classroom and look for jobs abroad. You can use your new skills to find online jobs for teachers and teach from anywhere in the world.
Taylor’s Tracks readers get 35% off when you use the code TRACKS35!
Step Two: Teach English Abroad Resume
You will need a specific resume for teaching that’s different from the one you use for jobs at home. If you don’t have teaching experience then not to worry, you can bulk it up in other ways. The basics you will need (other than the obvious basics) are:
- A professional picture from your shoulders up
- Date of birth
- Marital status
Don’t forget to make it clear that you are a native English speaker. As for the rest of your resume include your education and certification, your objective, skills and abilities (think about what will sell you as a teacher), previous teaching experience, and previous work experience.
Don’t forget to write a cover letter that highlights your skills and abilities, previous experience (teaching or non-teaching related), what position you’re applying for and why, when you’re available to start work, and your education and certification details (include dates!).
Step Three: Apply for Jobs to Teach English Overseas
Teaching jobs abroad can be a lot easier than you think so long as you know where to look. A lot of people will recommend that you go to schools to apply in person and that it’s easier to apply for jobs once you’re in the country. But since I didn’t do that I’ll speak from experience.
I will tell you that applying for jobs in person could be a big bonus as you’ll get a better feel for a school, people, and students before you start. But applying from home has many benefits as well, like working until you leave and not needing to have extra money to keep you going until you have a job abroad.
Some sites to help you get started are:
- Ajarn (this is specific for Thailand teaching jobs)
- ESL Cafe
- ESL Job Feed
- ESL Employment
Every interview I had was from jobs I found through Ajarn and with people I contacted because I was looking for a job in Thailand specifically. I had a total of three interviews. But if you’re looking to teach in China this guide is a must read and details getting a job in China.
Know what you are looking for in a job. Most jobs will pay 30,000 Baht per month (Thailand). This is fine to live off of, but I wouldn’t accept any less since so many places offer this or higher.
Keep in mind bigger cities are more expensive to live in, but also have a bigger expat community…something I should have looked for! Know if you want to teach kindergarten, elementary, high school, or adults and know how much work you want to do.
Do you want to be designing curriculums, creating your own lesson plans (this is usually the case), or have predetermined lessons set out for you? Do you want to be at a private, language, or government school? Have all of these things in mind before you start looking for jobs so you’re not applying for ones that don’t suit you and your needs/wants for a job.
Step Four: Prepare for Interviews
I would say this is the hardest part of the process, but interviews are always the hardest part of the getting a job process right? It’s really difficult to know how to prepare for an interview for teaching because they can all be so different.
Some focus on situations, they want to hear about how you react in certain scenarios and your reasoning. This can also include asking about past circumstances you’ve had and how you handled it, so be prepared to have some ideas in your back pocket. Example: Talk about a time you demonstrated leadership, or, tell them about a time you had to deal with a difficult situation, how did you resolve it?
Others focus on more creative thinking questions to see how you think. And some focus on more basic questions. But you will most certainly be asked why you chose the location you did for teaching and why. You may even be asked about your expectations of the country, school, etc. And most importantly be prepared to answer questions about yourself: your weaknesses, strengths, interests, etc.
Lastly, ask questions! If you don’t have any questions for them then you are not prepared. Is medical insurance provided? How many hours a week are required? How many other native speakers are already teaching at the school? What is the expat community like? Is there overpay? Holidays? Non-teaching tasks? There’s so much you can ask. Take the time to have a prepared list of questions so you don’t forget when you’re on the spot.
Remember your interview will most likely be a Skype interview, so dress well and like a teacher! Cover your chest and hide any tattoos (many places don’t like teachers to have tattoos). Speak clearly and look into the camera to make eye contact.
Step Five: Get Your Visa
You’ve gotten a job, now you need to get a visa so you can work legally in the country. For Thailand I was required to get a 60-day tourist visa to get into the country and then apply for a non-immigrant B visa once I got there. I also needed a work permit once I was in the country.
Your school should help you through this process (this is also a good question to ask in your interview…if they’ll help you through the process because it can get complicated!).
I hope this helps give you a basic idea of what to expect and how to prepare/get you going on your job search for your next dream job teaching overseas! Remember this is just the basics.
Now that you know how to find a job, let’s get you TEFL certified! One of the best TEFL courses out there is myTEFL which you can get 35% off of if you use the code TRACKS35 (it’s better than the discount you get online).
Thinking of teaching English overseas? You’ll love these posts:
- How to Choose a TEFL Course
- Why You Should Teach English Abroad
- Before You Teach English Abroad, Ask Yourself These 10 Questions
- Why You Shouldn’t Teach English Abroad
- 3 Ways Teaching English Abroad Will Change You
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