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deni's avatar

How do I go about being able to teach English in another country?

Asked by deni (23042points) February 24th, 2010

So basically I’m going nowhere in life and I have no goals but I’d really like to travel and I enjoy English, and conveniently it is my native language so I figure I should use that to my advantage. I have heard great things about teaching English as a second language in many countries around the world and I don’t really know where to start.

Is an Associates degree enough, or do I need a Bachelors? Does it matter what its in? Seriously I’m just not interested in anything right now except volcanos and Michael Jackson. I do think I could teach English though…CAN ANYONE HELP? I believe you need to take a certification test to be able to teach in other countries, but aside from that I hear it’s fairly easy to do….anybody, anyone? Help a brotha out? How can I doooo thissssss

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21 Answers

candide's avatar

There are a lot of organisations that can help you get a job teaching English in other countries, but they will usually be developing countries as the “first world” countries need certain certificates. Look in your local library or university careers centre and they will certainly be able to help you. I know several people who have done it successfully and had a blast – no age limit, either. Good luck and have a great time!

Lightlyseared's avatar

Getting TEFL certified would be a big step in the right direction. It’s a recognised teaching qualification and will make getting a job a lot easier.

Sampson's avatar

This is an article about the subject. Hope it helps!

La_chica_gomela's avatar

If you’re only interested because you’re bored, it’s not for you. “seriously not interested in anything” is not the kind of teacher that any program is looking for.

If you are actually interested in volcanoes, as you claim, why not get a real degree in Earth Science, and study them.

deni's avatar

@La_chica_gomela Because I can’t pass science classes, and Volcanologist jobs generally require a PhD. I’m not only interested because I’m bored, I’m interested because it would involve travel and it would not involve me spending half my life in school. I like English. I’m good at it. I feel like I don’t need 75 more reasons, really.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

I feel that this thread is not for me. I can’t stand it when people are bored a.k.a don’t appreciate all the interesting things that surround them, I also can’t stand it when people are afraid to work hard aka lazy. I feel like I don’t need 75 more reasons either.

jaytkay's avatar

Funny you mention this, yesterday I walked by this place in my neighborhood, and thought it looked interesting.
TEFL Institute

I am not endorsing them, I have no opinion good or bad, but pass it on as an example of a place teaching TEFL.

the100thmonkey's avatar

@La_chica_gomela; @deni : whoah there!

Teaching is a calling; however, some don’t hear it until they’re doing it – this was certainly the case with me: I went to Japan to teach English with no previous experience and no qualifications in the field. Eight years later, I’m now about to start researching my master’s thesis on the subject.

This thread is for you, @La_chica_gomela – judging by your profile, you have a great deal of experience and knowledge in a field directly related to what @deni wants to do. Rather than berating them for not knowing about the field, perhaps letting them know what they might expect when teaching EFL, or letting them know about the complexities of language teaching would be more instructive… Wouldn’t you agree?

@deni: I would be inclined to avoid the tefl institute – any company that will use the Haiti earthquake to advertise their TEFL courses should also be made to carry a health warning, in my opinion. In the TEFL/TESL/<insert appropriate ELT abbreviation here> world, there are a great many organisations that will take your money on the promise of training and give you a bag of shit in its stead.

Be very careful when researching your options

For some ‘organisations’, there is no interest in your being able to teach. All they want is, frankly, a naive native speaker to be bright and bouncy. This is very true in Japan. On the other hand, you can make a great deal of money in some countries if you have the knowledge and skills.

In my opinion, you should (assuming you’re in the US) look for a centre that offers either the Cambridge CELTA or the Trinity cert. TESOL – both are moderated by British universities long, long established in the field, and both are internationally recognised as solid introductory teaching qualifications. They certainly won’t ensure that you’re a good teacher – you are responsible for that by taking teaching seriously and constantly seeking to improve – but they will give you a general idea of what is considered to be good practice in an EFL/ESOL classroom, and a chance to practise delivering it.

The associates degree can be a problem – it won’t get you in to Japan, as teachers there are required to hold a Bachelor’s degree (albeit in any subject). However, I don’t believe this to be the case in many south-east Asian countries – Viet Nam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia.

If you have any further questions, @deni, post away :)

Cruiser's avatar

The Peace Corps can provide many opportunities for what you are looking for!

Judi's avatar

My daughter went to Barcelona and got a TESOL certificate before she had her degree. She taught English in Vietnam for a year, then came back to the US and finished her degree.

johninttown's avatar

Check out Dave’s ESL Cafe
It has a lot of job postings and all kinds of other information about getting a job in another country teaching English.
Personally, I’m thinking about going to Japan or South Korea after college to teach English. The main requirements for those countries are having a bachelor’s degree and being a native English speaker. From what I understand they don’t require any specific major.
There are other countries that don’t require a college degree. Those tend to be less developed countries.

garydale's avatar

Just go! Many people score their jobs quickly through word of mouth when they arrive. If you come to Thailand or Vietnam I might be able to introduce you to some people. Actually if you want this information anyway contact me directly.

*Note: I am NOT an English teacher but I know several friends who are.

the100thmonkey's avatar

@johninttown – for Japan, you can actually get the Specialist in Humanities or Instructor visas if you have undergone 12 years of education in the English language. Nevertheless, the majority of schools seek native speakers or pay Non-NSs less, illegal, but still practiced. If you have any questions about teaching in Japan, I’ll do my best to answer.

I’d counsel anyone against ‘just going’, although it’s ultimately up to the person. I would always recommend taking an internationally recognised certificate course beforehand – it opens up employment opportunities that might not otherwise be available, will help a neophyte teacher to develop faster, and will probably (depending on the country) mean better pay.

It’s worth exercising caution with Dave’s ESL CafĂ© – in some cases, threads on the forums with questions regarding potential employers (who pay for their listings on the job site) will be disappeared, so one can never be sure whether ‘no news is good news’ or ‘no news means that the employer has had negative opinions or uncomfortable information taken down’. As I said above, exercise caution, and research the companies you apply to carefully.

mattbrowne's avatar

In Germany this depends on your employer.

evandad's avatar

You obviously have internet capability. Send out some resumes.

lilikoi's avatar

TEFL certification as others have mentioned. Also depends where you want to go. There is a program for Japan called JET. Just look around the internet there is tons of info available on this subject. Some of the places I have been, I’m sure you could just show up there and offer to teach and they would hire you immediately because there is such a shortage.

the100thmonkey's avatar

@lilikoi: Deni is ineligible for JET as they don’t have a bachelor’s degree. They could get a visa for Thaliand, Cambodia and Laos, though, I think.

The current centre of gravity in Asian EFL is China – there are some 350,000,000 Chinese schoolkids learning English at the moment, which means a lot of teachers – demand outstrips supply, so the wages are still excellent, particularly given the current economic climate.

@mattbrowne: In Germany what depends on your employer?

stardust's avatar

TEFL is a really good idea. I’m doing it at the moment. I’m also studying, but I feel it’s something that will always stand to me. I can take off and teach during the summer months, etc. I think it’s a really good idea if you’re interested in travel. There are some countries that require a bachelors degree. However, a lot of it is based on the interview. I wish you the best of luck with whatever you decide to pursue :)

Betty's avatar

Oh My goodness! I think teaching ESL is a great opportunity to learn about another country while being able to make some money. There is nothing wrong with using an ESL job to become less ignorant about the people and cultures of the world.
I am going on my 5th year now and I don’t have an ESL certificate of any kind, and I have found jobs rather easily. My suggestion to Deni is to not to get a TOEFL or any other ESL certificate. If you are interested, China is by far the best place to start. I’ve worked myself from teaching children to working at Universities. I have lived in 2 places in China, and I have also lived in South Korea. I prefer China over South Korea. I wouldn’t suggest starting out in a country like Japan.
As for LA Chica Gomela, get off your high horse. Who cares if Deni is bored and wants to travel? Most people I know who are teaching are just doing it for the sake of doing it and exploring the world. Also, teaching ESL is the easiest job. It literally requires no skill except patience. Have you seen some of the people who teach ESL? At least Deni is honest about not having interested in much but traveling.
La Chica Gomela, you sound like one of those people who thinks there some special because they teach English in another country. You probably think I am a foreigner and I am either a princess or prince for being about teach ESL. There is nothing special about you…sorry!

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