Teaching English in Malaysia

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How to Begin Teaching in Malaysia

Malaysia is an interesting mix of culture and language.

Malaysia is an interesting mix of culture and language. The indigenous tribes are mainly situated in the north and around Northern Borneo, while the Malay, Chinese, English and Indian influences are more seen on the Peninsula. Elements of Persian and Arabic cultures are also still present in the country. This is evident in the numerous festivals that are celebrated by various ethnic groups. Malaysia’s official religion is Islam and Malaysians, who consider themselves Muslim, follow the Islamic celebrations. These include the holy month of Ramadan and the Feast of Sacrifice. Malay of Chinese descent will celebrate Chinese New Year. Although Malay is the dominant cultural group, there can be tension between the Malay and Chinese groups, which can present a challenge in the classroom. Languages are also mixed with Malay, English, Chinese and Tamil among some of the languages spoken. The official language of Malaysia is Malay.

Malaysia is a stable country with many places to explore, such as the modern capital city of Kuala Lumpur, the traditional long houses in Sarawak and the heights of the Kinabula mountain range. Another possibility includes day or night-time excursions to the Borneo jungle, walking high above the trees and looking down at its vast lushness from wooden rope bridges.

Malaysia also has a rich cultural and literary heritage. This includes Malay poetry, which has influenced poetry all over the world. Malaysia is also famous for Batik printing on textiles. Malaysia has its own unique cuisine, with dishes ranging from nasi lemak to the national drink teh tarik. The people are also friendly and hospitable. They are full of fun and enjoy spending time with family and friends, sharing food together.

Once part of the British empire Malaysia was declared an independent country in 1957.

The national currency in Malaysia is the ringgit which is in Malay translates at the word “jagged”. The word referred to the type of currency that was used in Malaysia in the 16th/17th centuries where the currency usually had jagged edges.

There’s 4 recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site across Malaysia. They are the archaeological heritage site of the Lenggong Valley, Kinabalu Park, Gunung Mulu National Park and the ancient cities of Melaka and George Town.

On the island of Borneo, located in Gunung Mulu National Park you will find the largest know cave in the world. Named the Sarawak Cave Chamber, the Cave was discovered by 3 British cavers in 1981. Impressively it measures 2,000 ft long, 1,427 foot wide and 377 foot high.

It’s said one of the worlds undiscovered treasures is at the sea floor of the Strait of Malacca. A famous ship called the Floar de la mar from Portugal was said to be returning back to Portugal with the largest treasure haul the Portuguese navy had ever collected. When it sank in 1511.

World famous Shoe Designer Jimmy Choo is from Malaysia, Penang is his hometown.

 

Teaching Opportunities

Due to the change in the government system in 2012, English was given a higher status in the state education system. English became a subject in its own right rather than being taught in connection with maths and science. This means that English teaching is in high demand in the country. Prospective EFL teachers also have many options to teach in Malaysia. These include private language schools and state school options. However, unlike places such as Cambodia, the key to securing a job in Malaysia is experience; being a native speaker is no longer enough. You will also need to have a degree and at least a 120-hour TEFL certificate. This is also due to the local competition from Malaysians who are amply qualified to teach the subject. When searching for employees, schools and agencies prefer face-to-face interviews in the country. Once you have obtained a job, work dress is also an important consideration. This might mean that in some school situations you might need to dress more conservatively than you are accustomed to.

Teaching Requirements

  • Degree Requirement
    BA/ BS degree required
  • Typical Contract Length
    12 months
  • Peak Hiring Seasons
    All year round
  • Visa Info
    Tourist visa convert to work visa
  • Typical Students
    Business professional, children
  • Average Monthly Cost of Living in Local Currency
    2,000-6,400 MYR
  • Average Monthly Salary in Local Currency
    3,000-9,000 MYR

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