Mature Teachers: Is There an Age Limit for Teaching English Abroad?
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Teaching English as a foreign language abroad is a dream for so many of us, regardless of which stage of our lives we are at. Teaching English abroad is suitable for young adults fresh out of school, 20-something graduates, and 30ish newlyweds. But that’s not all. Teaching English abroad might be just what you are looking for if you are forty and fabulous, or even more mature. While we can’t say that there are zero-age limits on teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), we can say that there are not many, and TEFL age limits should not deter you from finding out more about the world of TEFL.
Why employers like mature teachers
Sure, when we imagine TEFL teachers, what usually comes to mind is the stereotypical image of youngish backpackers jumping around the classroom, inspiring their students with their boundless enthusiasm. But that’s only one possibility and if you walk into any EFL school around the world you’re sure to see a range of ages and teaching styles in the classrooms.
First of all, not all young teachers are overly energetic. Some of them are calmer and more serious. Their demeanour is no reflection of their teaching ability. Some teachers can be bouncing off the wall, singing from the top of their lungs and while they might be very nice people and lots of fun, they could be terrible teachers. The more serious teachers could be equally as bad, or brilliant.
By the same token, the age of a teacher is not an accurate gauge of their teaching ability. And any employer worth their salt knows this. Mature teachers bring with them life experience. Mature teachers are less likely to be a flight risk in a foreign country because they are able to handle the stress of living abroad better than someone doing it for the first time. TEFL age limits should not be a consideration when hiring a TEFL teacher.
Mature teachers have experience
Mature teachers might already have their own families. This doesn’t really make a difference in other careers but when it comes to teaching and dealing with children on a daily basis, it’s a huge plus if you have had the experience of bringing up your own. Plus mature teachers might bring their families with them, which can make a huge difference to their state of mind.
Mature teachers have years of work experience. This might be in the classroom but it could be in any other field. This means that teaching English as a fforeign language is not their first rodeo when it comes to employment. They know how to work with colleagues and be a team player, as well as how best to fit into a company. They also have a range of other skills they bring into the classroom, be it business experience, journalism experience, financial experience – experience in any field is a plus in the EFL classroom.
The difficulty in being a mature teacher
Sadly, some countries have unfortunate laws regarding age and work permits. In other words, you might not be allowed to apply for a work permit or visa if you are older than a certain age. This is often related to the retirement age for the country. So if, for example, the legal age of retirement is 55 for a country, they are not going to give a work permit to a 57-year old teacher, or even a 54-year old teacher for that matter.
Your age might also become an issue when it comes to health concerns. Older employees are more likely to take days off work or need medical attention than younger employees. Having said that, if you are a fit and healthy mature teacher, your employer wouldn’t expect you to fall ill just because of your age. If you take chronic medication, make sure it will be available to you wherever you plan to go. Also, make sure your travel and health insurance is up to date!
Clearly, the disadvantages of being a mature teacher are not enough to discourage you entirely from finding your feet in the TEFL classroom. Where there is a will, there’s a way, so if you’re keen to change your life, don’t let TEFL age limits hold you back.
The only question is: where to?
The best TEFL destinations for mature teachers
You know what we’re going to say here: the world is your oyster! Because it is, but let’s look at a few destinations, in particular, that should be on your radar if you’re a mature teacher. These countries welcome older teachers with open arms because older teachers are respected for the gems that they are.
Read more: The Top 10 Cities to Live in in 2021
Many Latin American countries are popular destinations for mature teachers not only for their teaching jobs but also for the easy lifestyle they are able to offer. Mexico, Nicaragua and Ecuador are popular options for older teachers as it is often easy to retire there later.
If you are eligible to work in the EU, you should have no problem finding a job regardless of your age. However, at a certain age, you may lose certain medical benefits in some countries. Germany, in particular, is known as a top destination for older TEFL teachers.
Eastern Europe is an ideal TEFL destination for many reasons, one of which being its lenient visa regulations. The Czech Republic and Russia especially are known as good options for TEFL teachers older than 40. Many teachers in the Czech Republic are independent teachers, so they find contracts with various companies, while in Russia it is common to be a governess or tutor, which is also a good option for a mature teacher.
Generally speaking, it can be difficult to find a job as an older teacher in Asia. The age of retirement in many Asian countries is as young as 55 or 60, so if you’re close to or older than that you may have trouble finding a job. It’s especially hard to find a job as an older teacher in China and South Korea. However, Japan is considered a good option for older teachers (40+) as they regularly hire for university positions that prefer more mature teachers or teachers with lots of experience.
In the Middle East, you are unlikely to find a job if you are over 60. However, because many Middle Eastern countries prefer teachers to have further qualifications or experience, many younger teachers don’t qualify. This is why Middle Eastern destinations like Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are good choices for teachers in their late 20s to 40s.
Teaching English online
And, of course, don’t forget about teaching English online. If you can’t seem to find a job that suits you, then why don’t you teach English online, where age really doesn’t matter. Teachers of all ages can teach English online. Many older EFL students prefer having more mature online teachers. If you’re worried about the technology, don’t be: most schools give you training and you’ll get the hang of it soon enough.
If you’re an older teacher and you’re interested in teaching English abroad, don’t let a silly number trip you up! Get hold of us today and we’ll get you on your way to teaching English abroad.
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LAST UPDATED: 5th July 2022
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In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that Everything TEFL Ltd securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to Everything TEFL Ltd collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think Everything TEFL Ltd has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the Everything TEFL Ltd processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the Everything TEFL Ltd has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, Everything TEFL Ltd is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the Everything TEFL Ltd.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to Everything TEFL Ltd, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
Everything TEFL Ltd
28 – 32 Pembroke Street,
Republic of Ireland
Telephone: +353 (1) 554 6227
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.