Travelling the world as an English teacher can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. It’s a great way to see the world and immerse yourself in another culture – by working in a new country you get to participate in the life there in a way that tourists and travelers never can.
If you’re ready to jet off and begin your new life as an English teacher I’ve outlined a few tips to help you get started.
1. Do a course in the city you’d like to work in
Do you want to start your teaching adventure in China? Research courses there. Does Barcelona sound like a dream destination? Complete your TEFL training there. By doing a course in your chosen city your chances of finding employment are greatly increased as you’ll make a lot more immediate contacts. You’ll also get help with the foreign administration system to help you get set up with a social security number, bank account, mobile phone, etc.
2. Choose a course which maximizes practical application and teaching practice
The best way to impress a potential employer is to talk about all the great classroom experiences you’ve had – the big groups, small groups, beginners, advanced etc. Do a course which offers at least 8 hours of teaching practice with real learners. You should reinforce that experience with some private students, which are very easy to find and great for practicing your new skill. Your local TEFL provider should show you how to find private students in your region.
3. Start your job hunt early
Start your job hunt while you are still completing your teacher training course. I recommend:
- Getting your CV ready while completing your course and have your course tutors go over it with you.
- Compiling a list of schools you can send it out to. A good quality teacher training institute will have its own list or network of schools which they provide to their trainees.
- Have a friend take a good photograph of you. In some countries schools want to see a picture of the person they are hiring, particularly if they are hiring remotely.
- Email your CV out and then follow up with a phone call a few days later.
When writing your CV for a teaching position, even if you have no previous experience as a teacher, remember to highlight any relevant work experience. This could include any staff training you have undertaken, management and organizational experience and even hobbies, private tuition or volunteer work.
4. Be prepared for different interview scenarios
English teacher job interviews can vary depending on the level of professionalism of the hiring school. Scenarios range from a brief meeting and ‘when can you start?’ to a grammar test and demo lesson. Schools generally look for someone who is friendly, confident and can express themselves clearly. They want to know that you are capable of delivering a quality class and that the students are going to like you. You should therefore be prepared to answer questions about teaching specific grammar points, classroom management, what-would-you-do-in-this-scenario type questions and a demo lesson.
5. Get recommended
Teacher trainers will often recommend the best students for teaching positions they hear about during the duration of the course. Performing well on your training assignments ensures you are one of the candidates they consider when they hear about any offers. Be the person they think of first!
Richard Davie has taught English in Barcelona for over 6 years and trained and recruited many new English teachers. For more information about training to be a TEFL teacher or finding a job abroad visit www.tefl-iberia.com or get in touch with Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org.