Private, one-on-one Teach English language lessons with a native speaker for high-end clients
If you are looking for a job teaching English as a Foreign language (TEFL), you might come across a multitude of job adverts, but sifting through them to choose the one that suits you can be challenging.
Is online teaching the best option for you or are you looking for a new adventure teaching abroad? Should you opt for state or private schools, or even try your hand at private tutoring? Would your teaching be more effective in one-to-one or group lessons? And what defines a native speaker anyway? These questions (and more!) might pop into your mind as you read the detailed descriptions and requirements for TEFL jobs worldwide. Let’s try to find some answers.
Teaching English is a rewarding and fulfilling career, but what makes online teaching even better is that you can enjoy flexibility, freedom, and independence. You can choose when and where to work from, you can decide how many hours you want to work per week, and you can choose your students, depending on age groups, proficiency levels, nationality and so on. Depending on the professional path you follow, you can set your own rates of pay and have full control over your teaching materials.
The ‘solo’ path can be a good option for you if you have previous experience with - or you are interested in - the myriad of aspects that form a business, like marketing, admin, and legalities. The biggest challenge with this choice is finding students who are willing to invest their time and money in your lessons.
The ‘online school supported’ path is a better option if you feel that you want to focus on teaching and want to avoid the business side of things. There are plenty of well-established online schools that work with freelance teachers to deliver good quality lessons to a bank of students who have already enrolled with them. In this way, you wouldn’t need to worry about finding students, drawing up contracts, chasing payments etc. The downside is that the hourly rate is decided by the school, so you wouldn’t be able to set your own fees.
Online teaching - who to work for
Cambly: If you are new to TEFL and are looking to build your teaching skills gradually, this online school could be right up your street. They focus on learners who already have some knowledge of English, so you won’t deal with beginner classes, and offer conversation classes, which require minimal preparation.
Italki: Through their platform, you can teach English and/or other languages. You can choose what kind of lessons you want to offer: conversation classes, where you work as a community tutor, or structured classes, in the capacity of professional teachers. Your pay varies depending on the teaching option you choose.
Topica Native: If you are looking to make online teaching your full-time career, this school offers a minimum of 20 hours per week teaching learners in South-East Asia.
LatinHire: Offering a fast-hiring process, this company is ideal if you want to teach subjects other than (or as well as) English to South American students.
While online teaching is convenient, teaching English in a classroom abroad is a highly enriching and fascinating experience. This is an option that gives you the chance to see first-hand the positive impact you make in the lives of others. At the same time, it is an unforgettable experience that allows you to learn more about the world and yourself.
Teaching abroad - who to work for
Every country has its own rules and regulations regarding employing international English teachers. Generally speaking, however, these are the options available in most countries:
Private language schools (also known as ‘academies’ in some countries): These are the go-to schools for the newly qualified teachers and for those who want to find a job relatively quickly. They offer a range of courses, like exam preparation, general and business English classes, for students in different age groups - adults, teenagers, and young learners - at different proficiency levels, from beginner to advanced. With such a variety of courses and a year-round employment policy, your chances of getting hired are high.
Finding work in public, private, or international schools is more competitive than securing a job in an academy. Depending on the country and the institution, you might need a higher level of education and/or previous teaching experience.
Universities offer the highest salaries, best working conditions, and the longest holiday period. Unsurprisingly, they are very selective with their teaching staff and the competition is fierce.
Private tuition is a great way to earn extra cash alongside your main income and it is even expected, in certain countries. However, some employers are against this, so be sure to read your contract carefully to avoid any issues.
Teaching abroad - destinations
Choosing the right destination for you can be tricky, as it involves several factors such as lifestyle, earning potential, and career prospects. Let’s have a look at some countries that might offer you just what you are looking for:
Costa Rica offers a kind of lifestyle like no other. Its slower pace of life and its fascinating surroundings will help you reconnect with nature and yourself. Costa Rican customs are quite traditional and remote job applications and interviews are not as common as they might be in your home country. Do your research before you leave and get some hard copies of your CV ready to hand out when you visit your potential employers in person. If you are looking for a teaching job in this beautiful country, check out The TEFL Org guide to teach English in Costa Rica.
Kuwait is a country that offers among the highest salaries in the world, and despite being one of the smallest countries in the world, it is also one of the richest. Just like in many other countries in the Middle East, Kuwait’s petroleum and luxury-item industries are ever-growing. For this reason, Business English teachers are highly sought-after. As well as excellent salaries and tax-free earnings, you can expect generous benefits, such as housing, utility bills, transportation to/from work, medical insurance, and return flights to your home country.
South Korea is a modern country that has been looking for ways to advance at the same speed (or faster) than China and Japan. One of these is the focus on the English language to improve and consolidate international business relationships. If you are planning on finding a job at a South Korean state school, applying to one of the government-led programmes like EPIK, GEPIK, and SMOE will give you better chances of being hired.
Type of classes
Whether you teach online or in-person, you will find that there are many differences between teaching group and one-to-one classes.
There are some clear advantages for the learner in one-to-one classes. First of all, the lesson goes at the student’s pace and the materials are specifically picked and designed to suit their learning needs and interests. They have the complete attention of the teacher and they can make the most of their speaking and practice time. Similarly, there are some positives for the teacher too. They need to focus on the needs of one student rather than deal with issues that come with larger groups, such as early/late finishers, classroom dynamics, and mixed abilities. Furthermore, one-to-one classes can provide a more profitable source of income.
On the other hand, one-to-one classes might have some drawbacks for learners and teachers. The student doesn’t have classmates to interact with, therefore missing out on the learning opportunities that come from peer teaching. In addition to this, the learner might feel constantly under pressure, thinking that they are continuously being assessed. At the same time, the teacher faces some challenges of their own. One-to-one classes might be a lonely road, especially for teachers who deliver their lessons at the student’s premises. This kind of lessons can be more challenging because they require particular attention to detail and they need to be meticulously planned in order to be effective.
What it means to be a native speaker
A native speaker of English is a person who learnt this language as their first from earliest childhood. In the past, this was the most important trait in order to be hired as a TEFL teacher in many countries across the globe. Nowadays, in a world where the number of non-native English teachers is higher than the native ones, things are different. Being a native speaker is not the main attribute of a teacher, and other factors come into play, such as level of education and specific TEFL qualifications.
Furthermore, while in a small number of countries TEFL jobs are still advertised for ‘native speakers only’, this practice is increasingly being considered discriminatory and it is, in many countries, against the law. This means that qualified and effective native and non-native English teachers can work alongside each other, sharing ideas and experiences, and building on each other’s strengths.
What TEFL means to you
Teaching English can take many shapes and forms, and it is as rewarding and lucrative as you make it. Choosing the right career path for you is an exciting rollercoaster of emotions and decisions, from your location to the medium of your lessons, and from the types of learners you focus on to the kind of teacher you want to be. Jump into your new TEFL adventure and enjoy every minute of it!