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June 23, 2023
14 min read

Teaching English Abroad: How to Turn Your Passion into a Career

Teaching English Abroad: How to Turn Your Passion into a Career
Written By
Deepali Shah

Deepali Shah

Deepali uses writing & teaching to inspire & impact. With creativity & empathy, she aims to engage & enlighten. Look for her next piece & get ready to be inspired.

Introduction

If you love languages and want to explore the world while making a positive impact on people, teaching English abroad is a perfect career choice. It allows you to combine your passion for languages with teaching in various settings, such as schools, language institutes, or corporate programs. 

You can teach in countries where English is spoken as a second language or in places where it's not widely used. Regardless of the location, you'll have the opportunity to earn a competitive salary and live a fulfilling overseas life.

an ESL teacher enjoying teaching abroad

To start your journey, you need to get certified, research different countries and schools, connect with fellow teachers, and understand the reasons and methods behind teaching English abroad. But don't worry, we've got you covered from the "why" to the "how"! So, let's begin with the ‘why’.

Why Consider Teaching English Abroad?

Benefits of ESl teacher teaching abroad

Teaching English abroad is a transformative chance to grow personally, have extraordinary experiences and earn handsome money. Unlike a typical dull office job, teaching English Abroad is filled with exciting reasons to pursue it, such as:

1. High Pay and Abundant Job Opportunities

There is a high demand for English teachers in countries like China, Japan, Spain, and Cambodia. They have very few English speakers thus seek English teachers from other countries and pay competitive salaries.

2. Language Immersion and Acquisition

When teaching English overseas, you have the chance to immerse yourself completely in the host country's native language and regularly practise it. By speaking and practising the language every day, you can accelerate your language learning and achieve fluency in the most effective way possible.

3. Subject Expertise

English is more than just a language. It is much broader. While teaching English, you also become skilled at listening, speaking, reading and writing (LSRW). You get a chance to brush up on your grammar, fiction, non-fiction, and spoken English.

4. Additional and Transferable Skills

Teaching English overseas not only grants you teaching skills but also enhances your public speaking, leadership, conflict resolution, writing, and communication abilities. 

It assists aspiring writers in enhancing their writing abilities. Upon returning to your home country, you can teach the native language acquired during your time abroad. Moreover, it provides transferable skills advantageous in various occupations such as customer service, publishing, editing or copywriting, journalism, and more.

5. Exciting Experience

If you're bored with your job, consider teaching English abroad. It offers travel and teach opportunities, lets you explore new places, and creates a network that may lead to unexpected career paths. You can surely give it a try and see where it takes you!

You must have found the advantages intriguing and have decided to pursue this career path. In that case, you may already be contemplating your next course of action, how to commence, and the necessary steps to take and for that you need to have a checklist for all the prerequisites to teach abroad.

Let's now initiate our exploration by focusing on the "how" and acquaint you with a step-by-step guide to help you navigate through it.

Step-by-Step Guide to Teach English Abroad

step-by-step guide to teach english abroad

1. Determine Your Goals and Preferences

Before commencing a career in teaching English abroad or any job, the first step should be to establish clear goals, preferences, and objectives. This will help you figure out what you want to achieve and what teaching experience you aspire to have. To identify your priorities, ask yourself the ensuing questions, such as:

  • Which country or region am I most interested in teaching in?
    Shortlist the top 5 countries or regions you are most interested in teaching based on personal preferences, cultural familiarity, and language proficiency.
  • Am I comfortable teaching in a non-English-speaking country?
    Assess your comfort level teaching in a non-English-speaking country.
  • Am I looking for a short-term or long-term teaching opportunity?
    Decide on the duration of your teaching commitment: short-term for flexibility or long-term for deeper connections.
  • Am I interested in teaching at language institutes, public or private schools, or other educational institutions?
    Understand the unique benefits and requirements of teaching in language institutes, public or private schools, or other educational institutions.
  • Are there any cultural aspects or traditions I would like to experience while teaching abroad?
    Gain a deeper understanding of the local culture, food, festivals and traditions for an enhanced experience.
  • Do I want any professional development or skill enhancement opportunities for?
    Look for programmes that offer mentorship, workshops, and resources to enhance your teaching skills and subject proficiency.
  • Are there any personal or financial limitations that may impact my choice to teach abroad?
    Consider and analyse the cost of living, salary expectations, visa requirements, and personal commitments that may impact your choice to teach abroad.

2. Get Certified and Gain Experience

experience and certification requirements

Once you have established your goals and preferences, the next crucial step is to become eligible and certified to teach English. Qualifications and certifications vary depending on the destination country, institution type, and desired level of English teaching. Here is a list of certifications you will need to teach English abroad:

1. Bachelor's Degree

It is often a basic requirement for teaching positions worldwide and demonstrates that you have completed a higher education program and have a certain level of subject knowledge (an English degree will be a cherry on top).

2. TESOL/CELTA Certification

TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) or CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) certifications provide the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively teach English as a second language, increase job opportunities, and can lead to a higher salary as they demonstrate completion of a recognised and authentic certification.

3. Teaching Qualification

It guarantees that you have expertise in teaching methodologies and pedagogy to teach students globally.

Our PgCTL course is the most convenient way to become eligible to teach abroad and gain high-demand pedagogical skills within just ten months. Simply book a mentoring session and talk to your mentor to gain more insights.

4. Language Proficiency Certifications

Language proficiency certifications like IELTS and TOEFL assess your English language proficiency and command over the language to effectively teach, communicate with, and instruct non-native English speakers.

To apply for IELTS or TOEFL, visit the official websites of the respective exams to register online. Choose a test date, pay the fee, and receive confirmation. On the test day, arrive with the required identification documents, complete the exam, and check your result online.

5. Experience

The experience requirement can differ based on the country you're applying to. However, having relevant experience opens up better opportunities and higher pay scales and showcases your practical teaching expertise.

Here are some ways to gain experience:

  1. Volunteer in teaching NGOs
  2. Tutor locally
  3. Teach through online platforms
  4. Pursue relevant coursework
  5. Try Substitute teaching
  6. Teach in community centres
  7. Teach in daycares
  8. Teach in schools

3. Research Job Opportunities

exploring job opportunities

The following step involves researching various available job opportunities, ensuring their authenticity, and aligning them with your teaching preferences. Considering important factors before applying and committing to a teaching English abroad position is crucial.

1. Types of Teaching Jobs Available

When considering teaching English abroad, there are different types of jobs available that match your preferences and qualifications, such as:

  • Private schools
  • Public schools
  • Universities
  • Private Tutoring

2. Key Factors to Keep in Mind

It's important to rely on reliable sources and be thorough in your research to ensure a safe and legitimate teaching experience abroad. Few key factors to consider are:

  • Salary and benefits 
  • Working hours/workload
  • Work Culture and Ethics
  • Living expenses

3. Authentic Job Platforms and Resources

Finally, make sure to research carefully and use authentic and trustworthy channels to find opportunities. There are several sources available for finding job openings to teach English abroad. Consider the following options:

  • Job boards: Suraasa job portal, Dave's ESL Cafe, Teach Away, and ESL Job Feed
  • Recruitment agencies
  • Networking: LinkedIn, Facebook, Webinars, Alums
  • English job pages

4. Prepare for the Application Process

The next step is to prepare for the application process to ensure you present yourself as a qualified, competent, and prepared candidate. 

To begin with your job application, the first essential thing is a well-crafted resume, cover letter, teaching demo or references. Then, you need a set of crucial questions to remember for the interview process.

Tips to Create a Strong Resume

  • Tailor your resume to the job description
  • Highlight relevant experience and skills
  • Use a professional format
  • Proofread and edit

Interview Questions to Keep in Mind

  • Why do you want to teach English abroad?
  • How do you handle cultural differences in the classroom?
  • How do you manage classroom discipline and behaviour?
  • What teaching methods do you employ to cater to diverse learning styles?

Related Resource: Get answers to these questions and more important interview questions for teaching interviews by simply signing up to watch our free masterclass now!

5. Navigate Logistics and Cultural Shock

checking logistics and document requirements

Finally, let's talk about the practical aspects of teaching English abroad, which include important tasks like getting a visa, finding a place to live, and dealing with culture shock. Let's go through a few of them:

  1. Visa and Work Permit - Required to legally work and reside in the country as an English teacher.
  1. Housing - Provides a suitable living environment during your teaching tenure.
  1. Cultural adjustment - Helps you adapt to the local culture and customs to enhance your teaching experience.
  1. Criminal Background Record Check (if applicable) - Assures that it is safe and secure for the host country to allow you to work and live.
  1. Professional References - Provide evidence of your teaching abilities and character to potential employers.
  1. Medical Forms - Ensure you meet the health requirements and are fit to teach abroad.
  1. Legalisation and Apostille Convention - They ensure that your documents are officially recognised in foreign countries.
  1. Country-Specific Documents - The destination country may require additional paperwork for legal compliance and employment eligibility.

Lastly, potential challenges of culture shock while teaching abroad include language barriers, unfamiliar customs and traditions, homesickness, and isolation.

You can easily overcome them by connecting with a community of ex-pats or locals, seeking out local language classes, engaging in cultural activities, maintaining contact with loved ones back home, and being open-minded and adaptable to new experiences.

Conclusion

We have discussed all the important points so far, and now it's time to summarise the key steps:

  1. Begin by defining your goals, acquiring the necessary qualifications and upskilling yourself with new age and high- demand skills that schools and institutions seeks.
  2. Conduct thorough research and connect with professionals in the field
  3. Prepare a compelling application and excel in interviews
  4. Embrace the cultural experience, and immerse yourself in the local community, customs and traditions

Teaching abroad offers a transformative experience that expands horizons, enhances intercultural competence, and builds lasting connections. 

Now it's time to make a decision. Although it may not be easy, following the steps we've covered will make your journey easier. Take the time to review everything carefully and turn your passion for teaching English abroad into an exciting career filled with cultural immersion and personal growth. 

It's time to take action, step out of your comfort zone, and pursue your dreams today by booking a mentoring session with your expert. The world eagerly awaits passionate and dedicated teachers like you. Begin your journey now.

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Written By
Deepali Shah

Deepali Shah

Deepali uses writing & teaching to inspire & impact. With creativity & empathy, she aims to engage & enlighten. Look for her next piece & get ready to be inspired.

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