Expand your Opportunities with ESP Skills

If you intend to teach English for more than a year or two, take some time to think about how you might further increase your teaching knowledge and skills and thereby increase your career opportunities.

One of the best ways to increase your opportunities is to learn to teach English for Special Purposes or ESP courses (also know as English for Specific Purposes).

If you prefer to teach adults, one way to assure that is who you will be teaching is to develop a proficiency in an ESP skill.  From Aviation English to Hotel and Resort English to Medical English to Business English – there is so much opportunity that it is easy to get started.  Just find an area that interests you that also has some demand and off you go.

Here is a  good resource for Hotel and Resort English – and why not teach English in some of the world’s most desirable locations?

Here is a good resource for Business English – big demand in every major city of the world – even in some English speaking countries where there may be many foreign businesspeople needing to hone their skills.

Here is a good resource for Teaching TOEFL IELTS  TOEIC and other standardized examinations.   You can use the same principles even for teaching GMAT, LSAT and more.

The links are for TEFL eBooks in the ESP areas and TEFL Boot Camp has certifications in those three areas, but there are many other options too.

My wife at one time taught “Airline Cabin English” to airline stewardesses in Korea.  I taught Accounting English for a while at a major accounting house in Bangkok and Banking English in Taipei, Taiwan.   A friend even taught “Police English” at a police academy in Korea.

Whatever you can imagine, it is probably out there somewhere.

TED’s Tips™ #1: Give yourself some options you may not have known existed.  Check ESP as a career option in TEFL.

Motivate your Students by Localizing your Lessons

It’s been a long time since students and populations in general idealized the USA, UK, etc. as the best countries in the world. But, for some reason, so many EFL coursebooks still have a focus on a Western country and the conversations and activities are typically based on activities or even cultural events in that country.

Students in most countries these days often see their own country as one of the best places to live or sometimes even as the best country in the world.    And who are you or I to argue with them if we are to show proper respect for their country and culture?

And . . . why do so many publishing companies and EFL/ESL authors still believe that our Western culture is so fascinating and interesting to our students that they should do their studies with a focus on it?

Those days have come and gone.  And one good way to demotivate your students is to have them do their studies talking about something that just may not interest them at all.


One of the best ways to motivate your students is to change everything to focus on their country and their culture.  If they are learning directions, get a map of the town/city where you are teaching or make a map of the neighborhood.  If the lesson is about prices, why in the world use pounds and dollars!  Use won, yuan, yen, peso, krona or whatever the local currency is.

Got the idea?  It is simple, but very effective in getting your students more involved.  They will also notice your respect for their country and culture and return that respect to you.

TED’s Tips™ #1: Localize your lessons.  It is one of the easiest ways to motivate your students and to show a little respect for their culture and country.

Never Pay for a TEFL Job or Placement – Scams

Hopefully you know this already – but in the TEFL world – YOU are the HOT Commodity.    Not the job.

In fact, one of the most pleasing things about jobs teaching English is that you are in demand and interviews only rarely have that demeaning dehumanizing torture aspect that they have in most Western countries, where you are half expected to beg for the job you are applying for.

You are in demand!

Start with that assumption, especially if you have a degree and some TEFL training.  Add a little experience and you are SUPER in demand.

Now a caveat if I may . . . I am not one who looks for scams and I think it is a really negative attitude to always be looking for them.  But I will – here – detail one relatively common scam that goes on, so you can be aware and not fall victim.

A friend/teacher from South Africa ran into this one.  A nice job with very good wages is offered in advertising.  You apply, but don’t get a response and if you do – it is negative.  Later you get a surprise response that now you are wanted, but you must apply in a hurry – right now!

So – now you are excited and hurrying to apply and things are moving forward very quickly.   One small hitch shows up though and you need to send US$500 to the school/recruiter/placement officer to pay for your “work permit” and “working visa” – RED FLAG!  NEVER send money to a school, recruiter, placement officer – ever.

My friend carefully asked for some verification that the person was the person/company they said they were and were send a scan of a very nice and official document noting their license in the country where they were operating.  Big warning sign here – most of the document was in English – but the official language of the country was not English!

Needless to say, once the money was sent, she never heard from that school again.

Now – understand – you will often need to pay for your visa and working papers depending on the country in which you will be working.  However, you will always pay those funds directly to immigration, the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Education or other relevant agencies of the government.  NOT to a school or person via email and/or through Western Union.   And only rarely with the cost of such paper work exceed US$100.   A few countries, such as Saudi Arabia, are more expensive.  Typically expensive countries are where very good wages are on offer.

TED’s Tips™ #1:  NEVER pay anyone for your job.  The demand is great enough that you don’t need to.

Where to find Jobs Teaching English

I don’t usually like to do pages or posts of just links, but the job search is an important part of getting yourself abroad.  While we could probably list 100+ jobs websites, we will focus on the major and more reputable jobs sites.

All the jobs websites will open in a new window, so you won’t lose the list on this page.
And, usually, the link is to the international jobs page – not to the home page of the website.

These jobs lists will be a good taste for you as to just how much in demand YOU are!

Here are some of the BEST Websites with Jobs Teaching English Around the World

Probably the busiest TEFL jobs website in the world:
Dave’s ESL Cafe

A few of the more popular jobs websites with international coverage and LOTS of jobs:

Total ESL



ESL Employment

ESL Jobs Now

ESL Base

TESOL.org – This website is more oriented toward the professional TEFL instructor with a graduate degree.

A Couple Regional Websites with Jobs Teaching English

Jobs Teaching English in China

Jobs Teaching English in Thailand

If you are a qualified and experienced teacher in your home country seeking employment at international schools abroad, check out International School Services They do charge for their services, but they are the exception to the rule that you should never pay for placement.   They aren’t cheap, but their fee is well worth the end result.

TED’s Tips™ #1: IF you work with a recruiter, work with only one at a time.  If your resume shows up at an employer via several recruiters, schools will assume that interviewing you will be a waste of time as you will have so many options.

TED’s Tips™ #2:  NEVER pay anyone for your job.  The demand is great enough that you don’t need to.