English is the most widely used language in international business and travel, and the demand for teachers who speak it as their mother tongue is always high.
So, when you consider it takes just a weekend to get the basic training to teach, after which you can work in some of the most exotic corners of the globe, it’s an appealing trade-off.
Teaching English is the means to a fulfilling end, says Sally Robinson, the director of studies for International TEFL Training. “Being able to live in a country, rather than just being a tourist there, and being welcomed by a community, is a privilege easily achieved,” she says.
“Every kind of personality has something to offer in a classroom, such as great ideas and top experiences, and for jobs that even crop up in places like the Maldives and Costa Rica, why wouldn’t you?”.
Where in the world
With a TEFL qualification in hand, the only dilemma a graduate faces is where to teach.
The options typically boil down too private or government schools, summer camps, or one-to-one lessons in just about any emerging, or established, economy in the world. And you can teach anyone from kindergarten children to businesspeople.
Londoner Oliver Slow, 25, spent a year teaching in Indonesia.
“The experience was fantastic,” says Slow, en route to his next gig in Myanmar. The interaction with students, especially when they were having fun, really made me feel like I was doing something worthwhile.
“You do get lessons where the class is completely disinterested, but If I wasn’t doing at least some boring bookwork, I wouldn’t be doing my job.”
Go east of the globe
In Asia, demand for teachers often outstrips supply, and the pay and conditions vary widely. You must have a degree to teach in South Korea, and usually Japan, where the pay starts at £1200 and £1800 per month respectively.
In Southeast Asia the pay is less, but it is still wildly popular among travelling teachers.
A contract in Asia typically lasts one year, and the school usually arranges visas, and sometimes throws in free local language lessons. You might also get your flight paid for.
In Western Europe, demand is highest in Spain, where the pay is about £1000 per month, and contracts last about nine months.
Mike Harrison, 27 of Blackheath spent a year there, though he admits it was a challenge at times.
“In the classroom you tend to discuss what students do in their free time, but all Spaniards seem to do is visit their grandparents in their home village. Soon enough, you’ve covered it all in English.
“But it’s great watching – and being part of the process of – English being learned.”
Poland, where the cost of living is low, is another country with high demand – a teacher there can earn about £400 plus accommodation per month.
In the Middle East, the pay is upwards of £700 per month, but in Dubai it can big money.
Most large language schools post jobs at tefl.com and the application process usually requires you to submit a CV, plus copies of your passport and education certificates, after which an interview is conducted over the phone. But many teachers find work abroad by being in the country, as is the case in Central and South America.
Time to travel
Enticed by the opportunities of teaching abroad? For jobs and more information see internationaltefltraining.com.
Also see this website for all the details about our intensive introductory TEFL course.
Why go anywhere?
You don’t have to travel abroad to make money from your TEFL qualification. Jobs can be found in London, too.
International TEFL Training’s Sally Robinson says: “Post a notice of your services at Asian supermarkets, libraries, and universities, or where Russians tend to congregate – there can be good money there. You can make between £14-£30 per hour.”
There are also online schools that require teachers to conduct lessons over Skype, for which you can earn roughly £20 an hour.
These jobs are posted at facebook.com/internationaltefltraining