Teaching English is one of the biggest and most important industries in the world. TEFL teachers help shape communities, help us to have an increasingly globalized world and help build the leaders of the future throughout the globe. Yet despite this, we know relatively little about who these people are!
By yeowatzup from Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany (Gili Meno, Indonesia Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Indonesia is a vast archipelago comprising more than 17000 islands. With a large variety of languages and cultures in addition to volcanoes, beaches, valleys, jungles, mangroves and cities to explore, what better place for a TEFL teacher to spend a year or two?
Surabaya is Indonesia’s second most populous city, and is home to several English language schools. Described by Lonely Planet as “a hot and dusty, crowded city with precious little to see”, a description with which I would concur, you may wonder why I have spent almost two years here. Despite the downsides, this is a place where one can experience a real Indonesian city largely untouched by tourism. As a result, the locals see you more as a source of fascination and entertainment than as a cash cow. Travel to Bali or Yogyakarta, and you will be plagued by people harassing you to use their taxi, or buy their products. Often they will walk right up and interrupt you while you are talking to a friend, demanding to know where you are going and waiting impatiently for an answer. It can be very frustrating as one doesn’t want to be rude, yet offering even the most basic politeness in refusal will often lead to more harassment.
No such problem in Surabaya, where the local people have never had tourists to make a living from. They don’t rely on making as much as possible during high season to see them through the rest of the year. Instead when they see a foreigner, they just want to be as friendly as possible, and they are very easily amused. Some find this patronizing, but I find it quite endearing. It is not unusual to be “drive-by Hello Mistered” as I have termed it. You are walking along the street and hear “Hello” behind you followed by “Mister” in front of you as a motorbike whizzes past, its driver looking over his shoulder at you, evidently more concerned with addressing a foreigner than keeping an eye on the road.
By Stefan Bauer, http://www.ferras.at (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
For EU citizens teaching English in Europe is an easy way to start a new life overseas. The beauty of being able to work anywhere in Europe visa-free makes applying for jobs overseas nice and simple. However, for native English speakers from the likes of USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia – things are bit trickier. For Europhiles, the best option is Eastern Europe where the demand for English is higher and employers are willing to help sort visas and permits for worthy teachers!
When most people think of Europe you often picture Venice, Barcelona and Paris but Eastern Europe is home to plenty of work, unhampered beauty and heaps of culture! Here are the top five destinations to teach English in Eastern Europe:
By Dhilung Kirat (originally posted to Flickr as High Dynamic Peace) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
There’s been a growing interest from travellers to volunteer as teachers for quite some time now. Only a decade ago, school leavers would simply laze around on the beach in South East Asia, or grab a cheap rental car and speed around the Australian coast; but now, the younger generation are turning their hands to selfless work in countries more suited to structure than sunbathing. Volunteering is now seen as a learning curve prior to university – and afterwards, too.
The issue with volunteer teaching, though, is the expectation that it will be easy without any training. While an amateur teacher may have a classroom’s best interests at heart, how easy is it to actually throw yourself at the mercy of a group of children and hope that you can impart some worthwhile knowledge?
Argmda at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons
Rio, Buenos Aires, Quito… ahhhh starting a new life teaching English abroad in South America sure does sound tempting! If, like thousands of other TEFLers, you are longing to make the big move to South America then you’ll need to make sure you get clued up about how to make it happen!
Done the ‘TEFL jobs in South America’ Google search? Not brought up loads of jobs? Don’t panic – this doesn’t mean that there isn’t a demand for TEFL teachers. Instead, a lot of job opportunities tend to be advertised on the ground – many TEFL teachers seeking employment visit the employers in person!
Here’s a short guide to landing your dream TEFL job in three of the most popular South American destinations!
by Stuart Allen @Stu_RAYEnglish
Ray English TEFL Recruitment, China
By D. Sharon Pruitt from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, USA [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Five small things which will help you in the first weeks
It is both a little daunting and very exciting making the transition from being a CELTA or CertTESOL graduate to actually flying out to a new country to start a new life as a TEFL teacher. As a new teacher, one can often feel a little bit of apprehension and pressure going into the job. You might be asking yourself ‘what if I mess up my class?’, ‘what if the students don’t grasp what I’m trying to say?’, ‘yikes…what if the students don’t like my classes??’
Well, first of all, those fears are natural and we have all asked ourselves the same questions at some point. The more lessons you teach, then you will begin to become more familiar and at ease with your own teaching style and so will your students. However, if you follow these five pointers, then your progression from a new teacher, to an experienced member of the academic team will come much more smoothly.
By Thomas Hollowell
By ArishG (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Many wouldn’t leave their home soil in an attempt to work abroad without first having a job in hand – especially if that place is Morocco! The financial burden of the plane ticket alone makes this risky business. Nonetheless, a decade ago, this is exactly what I did. I first started by teaching English. And now, I run a Morocco travel company called Journey Beyond Travel; we arrange private trips for couples, families, and small groups. Here, I’ll share some of my inside knowledge about surviving, working, and thriving in the Kingdom of Morocco.
By Amy Woodbridge
Want to use your TEFL certificate to find a job in Japan? Teachers with TEFL certification usually choose one of two major routes:
- Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) jobs in public schools
- Instructor positions in private language institutes
Working as an ALT
Assistant Language Teachers may work in elementary, junior high, or high schools. English classes in Japan are headed by a Japanese teacher of English, with a native English speaker as an assistant.
ALTs may find that their roles vary depending on their school or their head classroom teacher. Some ALTs focus mainly on helping students with English pronunciation, speaking, and listening, while others take a more active role in planning lessons and teaching grammar, vocabulary, reading, and writing.
A typical school day will last from approximately 8:30-3:30, and ALTs will normally teach anywhere from 3-5 periods in a day. Most ALTs find that they have several free class periods, which they can use to prepare for upcoming lessons.
More than anywhere, Hungary seems to be a land of surprising contrasts, and the TEFL job market is no exception. On one hand there’s the bureaucratic employment legislation, a wobbling economy and an unfavourable tax system which do little to encourage language schools to take on teachers full-time. On the other hand, there are the innumerable opportunities for teachers, and the fact that the demand for English has never been higher. So how can that be?
The demand aspect is relatively easy to explain. With multinationals relocating to Hungary in droves to take advantage of favourable corporation tax laws and cheap(er) labour, the need for English (the lingua franca of the business community) is obvious. Then there’s the fact that pretty much anyone who wants to graduate from university needs to gain a certain level of proficiency in a language – and which language do most choose? English. Add this to the fact that Hungarians are looking to go abroad to find work like never before (we’re told the city which has the 2nd largest population of Hungarians in the world – after Budapest – is London!) and it is easy to see why EFL teachers are needed.
Anyone who has taught children knows that it can be both a joy and a burden at the same time. Young learners are at an important stage of mental development where learning tends to come naturally and easily. However, they can also be rowdy and uninterested in learning anything. When adults sign up for English lessons, it’s usually because they have a strong incentive to do so, either for personal or professional reasons. Children, though, might have no interest in being in your classroom at all. Try as you might, there’s simply nothing even the best teacher can do to get children to learn if they steadfastly refuse to.