Teaching English in Singapore

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How to Begin Teaching in Singapore

Singapore is a small island nation, located off of the Malay Peninsula

Singapore is a small island nation, located off of the Malay Peninsula. Many know Singapore as a premier shopping destination in the region, but to label Singapore as only this would be misleading. Singapore is one of the safest and cleanest countries to work in, due to the tough laws and fines enacted on those who drop litter or cross at traffic lights when they are red. Chewing gum is also banned. This country is also financially prosperous, having one of the major Asian financial centres on its door step.

Culturally, as with Malaysia, Singapore is a curious mix of Chinese, Malayans, Indians and expats from around the world. This is reflected in the colonial architecture in Singapore City, Little India and China Town, Thian Hock Keng (the oldest Buddhist temple) and the vibrant colours of Sri Mariamman (a Hindu temple). Apart from the architecture and culture, Singapore is famous for its world-renowned orchards. These can be seen at the National Orchid Garden. It is also possible to explore beautiful reservoirs and to experience treetop walks above the lush rainforest canopies. There are four official languages in Singapore. These are Chinese, Malay, Tamil and English. English is seen as the working language of the country and is important for financial trade and tourism.

One of the three only surviving city-states in the world, Singapore includes 63 islands, in addition to its main land. Most of its islands are uninhabited, but it’s possible to escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city without having to spend money on a plane. You may be surprised to know that several islands are accessible just off the mainland. Pulau Ubin is a very popular escape for locals. If you want to be transported back to Singapore in the 60s, take a bumboat from Changi Jetty and explore the rustic roads and rocky shores of Ubin.  For those wanting more amenities look no further than the island resort of Sentosa. Sandy beaches are lined with food stalls, bars and palm trees. Other attractions include Universal Studios Singapore,  S.E.A Aquarium, golf courses, and a casino. Spiritual travelers will find a tranquil break at Kusu Island or Tortoise Island in Chinese. Steeped in local myth and folklore the island is said to be formed by a tortoise which transformed itself into the island to save men, who were shipped wreck. Visit the sacred sites of Da Bo Gong Temple or snorkel in the swimming lagoons and beaches.

 

Teaching Opportunities

The need for English means that there are opportunities to teach English, but they are not immediately obvious, as in other Asian countries such as Thailand or Cambodia. As in Malaysia, EFL teachers from abroad face fierce competition with local English-speaking residents. The Ministry of Education, however, is open to hiring overseas applicants in order to bring new perspectives to the country. Opportunities abound in state and private institutions. Generally, a degree and a 120-hour TEFL certificate will help you to compete with local applicants and to gain better jobs. Once you have obtained employment, you will find that the students are often highly motivated and enthusiastic to learn.

One of the biggest issues facing potential teachers is the cost of living. Rent is a major expense for teachers, but online forums often have solutions for shared accommodation. Therefore, it is important to begin applying a couple months in advance, before your arrival in Singapore, to secure a job before you leave your country. Jobs are generally available all year round, but for Ministry of Education jobs training begins in July for jobs, starting in January. Early application will also give you a better chance to secure a benefits package. This can include a return flight, work permit assistance and possible accommodation allowance. Transport and food on the other hand are cheap, which means you will be able to live comfortably.

Teaching Requirements

  • Degree Requirement
    BA/BS required
  • Typical Contract Length
    12 months
  • Peak Hiring Seasons
    All year round (with the exception of state jobs)
  • Visa Info
    Work visa in advance
  • Typical Students
    Business professionals, children
  • Average Monthly Cost of Living in Local Currency
    2,500–3,500 SGD
  • Average Monthly Salary in Local Currency
    2,500–4,200 SGD

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