TEFL Teaching in Turkey – A retrospective by Enid Williams

TEFL Teaching in Turkey – A retrospective by Enid Williams

By Dersaadet (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Does the thought of unwinding with a cup of hot kaavah and mouthfuls of turkish delight, against a backdrop of shimmer and belly dancers entice you?

Maybe its time to use your TEFL expertise as your ticket to a world where richness goes beyond the very word baklava in every sense and experience Turkey through the eyes of TEFL teacher.

You will come back with more than belly dancing skills and kohl lined eyes, that’s for sure.

Enid  Williams reflects on her experience as a TEFL Teacher in Turkey…

Brimming with TEFL teaching opportunities, Turkey is  excellent place to be for TEFL teachers hoping to gain a diverse cultural experience while working. While most TEFL teaching jobs are based in and around Istanbul, there are often opportunities in other cities such as Ankara. Istanbul is a fascinating amalgamation of Eastern and Western culture and holds many architectural masterpieces such as the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

What makes it really enjoyable to teach there is the spirit of Turkish students. They are usually highly motivated and eager to learn because English is a requirement for most high paying jobs and they are quite ambitious. They also tend to be friendly and outgoing, which makes conversation lessons easy.

The salary for English teachers in Turkey is enough to maintain a moderate lifestyle and accommodation is often included. The good part is that the cost of living in Turkey is low and dining out is not just delicious but also inexpensive. Public transportation in Istanbul is also inexpensive. So, you won’t have to break the bank to get about about town and treat your palate. Turkish people are friendly and always happy to invite you over for a cup of tea and conversation.

The nightlife is also quite vibrant unlike other parts of the Muslim world but it is advisable for women to dress conservatively to avoid confrontation, as it is unusual for Turkish women to show arms or legs. This is especially true outside of Istanbul.

As Turkey is not a part of the EU, so visa and entry requirements are different so teachers from outside the EU may want to consider teaching in Turkey. This is because it is a lot easier to get a visa for Turkey than for the EU.  If you are applying for a TEFL job in Turkey,  it is advisable to check with your school about visa requirements prior to arrival in Turkey, as it is difficult to apply for a work visa after entering the country (on a tourist visa for instance) .  Once in the country, it is also possible to get part time work teaching private lessons, which is a great way to top up your salary and get to know interesting people.

Typical requirements for TEFL teachers in Turkey include a degree and a TEFL certificate.  Additionally, one or more years of teaching experience may be required.  Being a native English speaker is not usually a prerequisite to employment in Turkey.

If you are a motivated teacher interested in a new cultural experience, teaching English in Turkey may be a great fit for you.

By: Enid Williams (CELTA, International House – Budapest)

Feel free to leave your questions and comments below 🙂 


All the guest posts from the TEFL teachers working around the world that have provided articles for our blog.



  1. Hello Enid,

    I have been researching online about TEFL jobs in Turkey. There is one in Izmir at EFINST which sounds a good school. However, as I read around, I saw a Turkish comment that Izmir was the least diverse, and wondered if that meant by religion. I wondered about female dress codes and how easy it would be to work and live in Turkey. What do muslims frown upon that foreigners might do or dress like?

    I currently teach Turkish students online and as they are so motivated to learn I think I would enjoy teaching adults in Turkey; maybe starting first with a short summer contract. I read there are many schools in Izmir and Istanbul. Would you advise trying Istanbul first, or would Izmir be better – for a sun loving, wanting to learn to windsurf, 61yr old!

    I have an interest in fabrics (web url relates)and read that Izmir has textile industry so I might find some good raw materials.

    I have French, but no Turkish language at all. Any advice welcome.

    Kind regards,


  2. Dear Enid:

    I just completed my CELTA at International House, and I’m applying to English teaching positions in Istanbul. Can you recommend any schools or contacts there? It would be much appreciated. Also, how are you doing in Budapest?

    Best wishes,

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