Whether you are just looking for a way to continue traveling, are a teacher some where else in the world and want to relocate, someone looking to fill their gap year while making money, someone tired of their current situation and want to move or have just retired and want financial support in your new country, you have come to the right place.
I present you with
A Guide To Start Teaching Abroad
The order in which these are presented could be changed for certain locations. I will show you what I mean later.
When considering teaching abroad you need to ask yourself a few questions.
What am I trying to get out of this?
- Are you trying to further your career?
- Are you planning to slack off for the next year and still have spending money?
- Are you looking for spending money in retirement?
- Are you trying to see the world?
- Are you altruistic and just want to help the worlds poor children?
What ages do you want to teach?
- Children, adults, college students, executives
Where do you want to go?
- You do not need to have a set location at this point. Especially if you don’t know the details of the countries you want to move to. Even if you think you know where you want to go, I would say hold off on making concrete plans until you know enough about your location to make an educated decision.
- If you already hold a bachelors degree (in any subject) you are in luck! Having a Bachelors Degree or better will help secure your chances at a higher paying job and make you more eligible to apply to jobs across the globe.
- If you do not hold anything more than a high school diploma don’t fret. There are plenty of countries out there that only require English to be your first language and could care less about the degrees you possess.
- Do you need a TEFL, TESL, TESOL, CELTA, or DELTA?
- This is a tricky question that you are going to have to figure out what is best for you in your new location. I would argue that I doesn’t hurt to have one of these as it proves to someone that you are more than capable of teaching in a classroom setting.
- I have not applied for a job that did not require the TEFL Certificate or a Bachelors in Education. Since I don’t have a Bachelors in Education this has been a suitable backup and I have never had its validity questioned.
Taking the TEFL Course
- There are literally 100s of courses out there being offered everywhere around the globe. If you are serious about this you need to do some research on which course is right for you. Start trying to decide whether you would prefer online or in an actual classroom. We took an 11 Week online course through The International TEFL Academy. We did not find the class to be difficult and it was easy enough to complete while holding down full time jobs. If you contact me directly I can give you my code for $50 off your tuition. While this school isn’t the cheapest (or most expensive) option it comes highly regarded and I have never had an issues getting a job with it. I have seen courses out there for $200 but that old saying of “You get what you pay for” comes to mind and I wouldn’t dare get one of those.
- The International TEFL Academy also has courses around the globe. So lets say you want to move to Costa Rica. You can take the course there and begin working directly after you finish. The way you choose to take the course is totally up to you.
Choosing A Location
- There may be many factors involved in choosing where to go. Timing is literally everything. Read my article about Moving Abroad which may help you narrow down your destinations.
Creating A CV
- Although similar to a resume the things that are on this CV are foreign to most Americans. The information included is, for the most part, illegal to ask during the hiring process in the United States. The International TEFL Academy gave us help writing ours. Making sure you select a professional photo and highlighting your accomplishments is key.
Getting Your Documents
- Our certificates took a few weeks to come in the mail as they came from England. Make sure to have enough time between finishing the course and leaving your destination. The last thing you want is to leave and not have received your certificate yet.
- Other documents may include but is not limited to passports, visas, college transcripts,transcripts for your children, college diplomas, marriage certificate, birth certificates for you and your children, vaccination cards and insurance cards. Every country is different and for Thailand we needed original copies of everything. That includes our gigantic diplomas from university.
- Also make sure the spelling on EVERYTHING matches your passport EXACTLY! This will save you so much headache later.
Moving to Your New Location
- Now some people might consider it necessary to get a job before relocating and that might be true for some locations but hear me out. I never thought I would be one of those people who would just throw caution to the wind and just go. But we did. We moved to Thailand with literally nothing.Nowhere to live and no jobs and I honestly wouldn’t change that for the world. South East Asia is a great location to just “show up” and decide you want to teach. If you are already in your location you will get a much better grasp of the location and be able to speak to people in person. Not everything is as peachy as it seems over the internet. You will also be able to get a better feel for what part of the city you want to be in. If you are making these decisions from a world away there is no way to truly tell if you will like the school or neighborhood. Also if you are already in your location you will have a much better opportunity to negotiate your pay, especially if it included a flight you didn’t take.
Getting A Job
- As I said before some locations require you to get a job prior to arrival. Like Kuwait for example. This has more to do with your visa than the job itself. The visa process for Kuwait is lengthy and requires paperwork from your school prior to you arriving in the country. Of course there are illegal ways to work for a company prior to getting the proper paperwork but that is a risk I would not advise.
- I would argue that finding a teaching job in SE Asia is probably (for the moment) the easiest place in the world to find a job. Many people find great comfort in being able to land in a city where you don’t need to pay for a visa on arrival and can just walk around to schools in the area you want to live in and ask them if they are hiring. It’s that simple IF you have the right look. Finding a job in Thailand was quite easy for Mr. Ward as he is racially ambiguous. No one can really tell what his nationality is and he fits in really well in just about any location. Once we started our actual job search Mr. Ward had multiple job offers within 3days and started working on day 4. I on the other hand, did not have it so easy. Being black doesn’t exactly put me at the top of anyones call back list.Actually it put me at the top of none. As in no one called me back or even bothered to actually interview me once I showed up. After a few weeks of applying and attempted interviews I had had enough and decided to go to an agency. After they told me they would have to pay me less for being black, I had a job! Yes, being abroad will open your eyes quickly to privileges you are afforded in your own home country.
- There are both positives and negatives to working for an agency although, I would say my experience was mostly positive. I was secure in the fact that if things didn’t work out with the school I was placed in I could just show up the next day and be put in a different school. I also never had to worry about getting paid on time due to the school being short on funds, which happens more than you think. The agency paid you whether they received money from the school or not. The downsides of working for an agency is that you get paid less than someone who works directly for the school. This is because the agency takes a cut from your salary, also known as a finders fee. Another negative to working for an agency rather than a school was the visa situation. When you work directly for a school you can negotiate to have visas paid for as part of your salary. My agency did not cover that and it really does add up to a lot of money.
- There are some good websites to check out if you are uncomfortable with not having a job prior to moving. One piece of advice that I will give you is to NEVER pay someone to find you a job online! It could be a scam so be careful. There are literally thousands of jobs out in the world waiting to be filled. You do not need to pay someone to find them for you. The following sites are not endorsements in any way but rather sites we have been successful in using to find work.
- Again paying attention to hiring season is a big factor here. Most countries only hire at the beginning of the school year and the half term. If you apply outside of those short windows your applications may be all but ignored. Some countries do hire all year round (usually due to high turnover rate) so you may get lucky and end up in a country like that.
- If you plan on getting a job before touching down in your new country it will usually be done over Skype or some other video conference app. Our interviews for Kuwait were done via Skype. Just because the interview is not done in person does not mean it’s not professional. We dressed the part from the waist up. Lol
- Always be weary of suspicious behavior or being accepted too quickly. Call me old fashion but I am still cautious about sending all of my sensitive documents a world away and hoping for the best.
- In Thailand if your interview goes well you will be offered the job on the spot. You can assume that if they didn’t give you an answer it is a no. Just move on to the next one.
Deciding On A School
- There are so many factors to consider when choosing a school. Make sure you ask as many questions as possible in the interview so you can get a gage of exactly what you are getting. If you are already in the location and interviewing at the school ask to see an actual class/classroom. I am sure that you will receive multiple offers because you’re amazing. It’s easier to narrow down your choices if you know what you want out of a school.
- Things to consider
- salary (if you don’t think its enough negotiate)
- visas (reimbursement or pay in advance)
- housing (not included, included or subsidized)
- airfare (if it was included and you are already at the location either ask for reimbursement or coverage of another flight of the same amount to another destination of your choice)
- insurance (health/dental/vision)
- length of contract (If you break the contract do you owe them money?)
- teaching equipment & technology
- number of expected students per class
- how many teaching hours per week
- age of students
- air condition/heating
- career development
- advancement opportunities
- subject(s) you are teaching
- administration support
- tutoring for extra money
- discounts for language courses
- turnover rate
- curriculum (British, American, etc.)
- Do you need to make your own lesson plans or are they already set?
And since I am sure you have now followed every single step I am certain that you HAVE A JOB!
If you have anymore tips you think I might have forgotten please leave them in the comments.
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