Published 11th January 2021
Finding a job teaching English abroad is one thing but finding the perfect job for you is another thing entirely. Nobody wants to be miserable in their job so follow our seven easy steps to make sure you find the TEFL job of your dreams. So lets look at finding the perfect job teaching English abroad.
1. Decide where and who you want to teach
There are so many jobs available all over the world that looking for a job teaching anyone anywhere is going to be quite overwhelming. If you can narrow down your options even a little bit it will make your job search easier.
Do you prefer to teach Young Learners, teens or adults? Do you think you would like to work in a school, a summer camp, or a language centre? Would you rather teach Beginners or Advanced students? All of these questions can help you refine your job search.
If this is your first job teaching English as a Foreign Language and you don’t have any preferences as to what age or level you want to teach, think about where you want to live. Is there a specific continent you have always enjoyed visiting, or a particular country you would like to live in? You don’t have to choose just one, there could be a few options on your list which will make looking for a job more manageable.
2. Check out jobs boards online
Once you have a better idea of where and who you want to teach, it’s time to head to the jobs boards. If you are already in the country you want to teach, it is certainly possible to pound the pavement and speak to schools directly but if we’re honest, everything is doable online these days so why make it harder for yourself?
There are tons of jobs boards online which make it super easy to refine your search by country or contract type. Then you simply scroll through the job ads and see which ones tickle your fancy. Important things to consider when reading job ads are:
- Salary and package
- Working hours
- Class size
3. Clarify your priorities
Even if you have decided where you want to teach and what kind of a TEFL job you want, you still need to understand what your priorities are. In other words, what would you be willing to accept and what would you never be happy with?
Some issues to consider here are:
- Would you rather live in a big city or a small town?
- Would you be happy being the only foreign teacher in your school?
- How many hours are you prepared to teach?
- What are you happy doing after-hours?
- What support are you expecting from your school?
- Are you happy teaching other subjects besides English?
These will help you further narrow down your choices when it comes to available positions. If, say, you are not comfortable teaching without a teaching assistant, then you should only apply for jobs that advertise the fact that teachers have an assistant. Or, if salary is very important to you, make sure you consider the cost of living in comparison to the teaching salary, as well as what is included in your contract package.
4. Research the location
The next step is to really find out what you can about where you are going to live. Don’t worry if you have absolutely no knowledge of the area, it’s easy enough to find out about. Simply do a quick Google search and you’re sure to find expat blogs or forums that tell you what it’s really like living there.
Remember, being a tourist in a country is very different to living and working in a country.
This will also give you a better idea of where you want to live. If you are applying for a job in Bangkok, you need to understand which part of Bangkok you would be happy to live in.
Read more: Culture Shock
5. Prepare for your interview
Once you’ve applied for a job and have been invited for an interview, you need to make sure you are fully prepared.
Do your due diligence regarding the school by looking it up online and looking for online reviews – basically look for any information you can find about the school. This will firstly put your mind at ease that the school is legit and it will give you a better idea of the vibe of the school and if you will enoy working there.
Read more: Which EFL School is the One For You?
This will help you prepare for the interview because you can think of relevant questions to ask your interviewers. There are, of course, general questions which you can ask in any interview situation but doing your research on the school will help you ask pertinent questions which will make you stand out from the crowd.
I see your English programme is called Fun English. What does that mean practically in the classroom?
Considering there are about 35 learners in a class, are there classroom assistants to assist the teachers?
Do many of your teachers live near the school? How do people commute to school?
These questions will also help you get a feeling for the school and what it would be like living there. A job is a big part of your everyday life, so you want to be sure you are going to be happy in this particular working environment.
6. Say yes to the …job
If your interview is successful, the next step is to scrutinize your contract. While you should have gone over all the details during your interview, this is the time to read all the fine print. Once you have looked through it, it’s a good idea to ask someone else to have a look at it too to see if they notice any funny business.
If you are unclear of anything or have any queries, don’t be shy to ask your employer. After all, they want you as an employee so they should be happy to answer any questions you might have to make sure you feel comfortable accepting the position. The last thing they want is an unhappy teacher, because an unhappy teacher is likely to break their contract and leave, which means the school will have to go through the recruitment process all over again.
Bear in mind that this whole process is an opportunity for you to assess your school. If you find that they are not helpful or their communication is lacking, then that might be a sign that you won’t be happy in this particular job.
7. Kiss your mom goodbye
By this stage you should be 100% satisfied with your choice of school and city. You can rest easy knowing you’ve done everything you can to make sure your transition to working as a TEFL teacher is as smooth as possible, so you’ll be able to concentrate on being the best TEFL teacher you can be.
All that’s left for you to do is pack your bags and kiss your mom goodbye!