Experienced Teacher Teaching English Abroad

Heading Abroad to Teach English

A teacher with a graduate degree proposed this topic:

I am looking into teaching English abroad (of course!). I graduated last year with a Master of Arts in Teaching. I’m looking for information about teaching in the Middle East, as paying off my student loans sounds like a very enticing idea, and I do like challenges.
I have a few questions for you.

First, would I be qualified to teach at a university in the Middle East if I were to be TEFL or Celta certified (but without a Master’s in TEFL)? (And if so, where can I look to find those job opportunities?). Second, are there areas or countries in the Middle East in which it would be more acceptable to be a young woman living on her own?

With an MA in Teaching and a TEFL certification I would think that you would qualify to teach just about anywhere. However, most countries in the Middle East will require at least a couple years experience.

Students in that part of the world can be “difficult” to say the least and schools like teachers that are a bit seasoned and able to deal with the problems that come up. UAE is one of the more liberal countries though your school will probably decide where you live as it will likely be a part of your employment package and you’ll not likely be “a young woman living on her own” – you’ll probably be in a compound of some sort.

For starters get the TEFL Certification and head to Korea where you can also probably land a university job and save almost as much money but without the difficultly of Middle Eastern cultures. Once you have a few years experience and if you want to save even a bit more (but probably get less paid time off) then head to the Middle East.

TED’s Tips™ #1: Get some experience before heading to the Middle East. Conditions can be difficult there and it is better if you have been around the block a couple times before getting into the mix.

Where to Take your TEFL Teacher Training?

Deciding where to take your teacher training for Teaching English Abroad

A reader contributed this question for a topic:

I think I’d like to try eastern Europe (maybe Czech, Poland, or Hungary), but I’m not totally opposed to Asia. I know there are TEFL schools in those countries, but would you recommend getting certified in the country I would want to teach in or here in the US, then moving to the country?

It is almost always better to take your TEFL training in the country in which you first intend to teach. Many reasons, but the most important ones are that you will do your observed teaching practice with students similar to those you will teach on the job.

It just gives you a leg up on the competition especially if you need to give a demonstration lesson. It also helps you solve some problems that are often unique to a specific country. I’ve taught EFL in four countries and each had its own unique grammar and pronunciation problems.

Once you have some experience it gets easier to solve them, but doing your training with students with those problems will help you get up to speed much faster.

TED’s Tips™ #1: If you have the time and money for a full out four to six week TEFL Course, it is usually better to take your TEFL Training in the country in which you first intend to teach.

TED’s Tips™ #2: Take a look at http:www.TEFLprogram.com/ to help you evaluate any in-class TEFL course that you are thinking about taking.

TEFL Certification and Your First Job Teaching English

I am taking a little vacation so the posts for the next few weeks will be responses to questions and topics suggested the readers of the blog.

Starting your career Teaching English Abroad

A recent reader wrote in and asked:

I am an engineer and thinking seriously of changing careers and getting certified to teach English abroad. I am very interested in TEFL certification. If I did that next spring, how long could I expect to have to wait to get my first job? I currently have a BS degree, some teaching experience while in college (late 90’s), but none after that.

My Response was:

Any good TEFL Certification will do a lot to help you land the job you want faster and usually will put you at the top of the list. Even if it is not required it shows that you are interested in doing a quality job. And that says a lot to a potential employer.

You asked, “…how long could I expect to have to wait to get my first job?”

The answer to that depends a lot on where you want to teach and even who you want to teach. If you want to teach in Korea or China, you can probably sign a contract within days. If you have something very specific in mind it might take a bit longer.

For example, if you want to teach at a resort on a tropical island, your job search should be more detailed and take a bit longer . . .

By the above, I mean what country and what kind of setting (university, preschool, language school, secondary school).

I would encourage you to read these webpages to help you sharpen your focus:

Types of TEFL Jobs



Please feel free to contact me and ask more questions.
Happy to help if I can.

What TEFL Training Courses Don’t Teach You #6

Qualifications for a TEFL Jobs in China

Today’s post is a communication with another reader of this blog with questions about qualifications and applying for work in China.

The reader wrote:

I found a decent-looking TEFL Course in the United States, the **** from ****. Do you think I could get as good a job with this qualification in China as I could with a CELTA or Trinity?

For China, at the moment, any certificate program will do just as well as any other. All they want to know is that you have 1. Some interest in what you are doing and 2. Some idea of how to do it.

I know just about anyone with a white face can get a job.

That is NOT true anymore.

That face also needs a degree and for the better jobs some sort of TEFL Certification. That face also needs to deliver on the job.

I’m looking for a good job with a large corporation teaching English to employees.

Corporate and Business English employers are even more demanding and those jobs are competitively sought after – only the best candidates will land those jobs and even then they will be expected to deliver a quality product. IF you intend to teach in that setting then you should have at least a few years of real business experience.

Be Careful Now . . .

What I am hearing is a sense of entitlement. The old “I have a white face, so I should have that job” that many people quite mistakenly believe is how things work in much of Asia and specifically in China.

What many newbie teachers FAIL TO REALIZE is that these schools are often paying you as much or sometimes quite a bit more than local Chinese professionals (degrees in education, sometimes advanced degrees and years of experience) and they expect you to DELIVER a good product.

Chinese people are not known for throwing money way – they are known for being thrifty and demanding what they pay for.

And that is fair enough.

TED’s Tips™ #1: If you earn a wage, you should deliver what you are paid for.

TED’s Tips™ #2: Drop notions about entitlement and develop ideas about delivering good quality instruction.