Teaching English in Turkey

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How to Begin Teaching in Turkey

A country on two continents

Turkey, split between Europe and Asia, has an amazing cultural heritage. This is symbolised in the former capital of Turkey, Istanbul. Looking at the architecture from a boat on the Bosphorus, it is evident that so many civilisations have crossed these shores. The Venetians, the Byzantines, the Romans and the Greeks have all left their mark here as well as Turkey’s Sultans. Side by side sits Aya Sofia, once a church and a mosque (now a museum) and the blue mosque on the same skyline.

Throughout the country, there is a rich past legacy. The old city of Troy, the ancient library of Ephesus, and Nimrod in the east are to name just a few. Mount Ararat of biblical fame and the southern beach region of Akdeniz have breath-taking natural scenery.

Although Turkey has a large Muslim population, it is unlike its other Muslim neighbours in the Middle East. While some Turks cover their heads and observe religious practices, other Turks are more secular in their approach, wearing modern dress and drinking alcohol. This is because Turkey is also a secular Republic that was founded in 1923 by Ataturk, who reformed the country using a Western-style model.

Subsequently, Turkish people are proud of their country. Turks are famous for their warm welcome and hospitality. They have a spontaneous spirit, and enjoy sitting down over a glass of Turkish tea or coffee to catch up with each other.

The language of Turkey is Turkish. In the 1920s a language reform simplified the Turkish vocabulary by moving from the Arabic script to the Latin alphabet. Turkish is an agglutinating language that strings together morphemes to create complex words. The longest word is the 70 letter Muvaffakiyetsizleştiricileştiriveremeyebileceklerimizdenmişsinizcesine, which translates to ‘as if you are from those we may not be able to easily make a maker of unsuccessful ones.’

One of the most enchanting regions in central Turkey is Cappadocia. Its unique landscape was formed by volcanic erosion, which created distinctive coned-shaped rock formations called ‘fairy chimneys’. The soft rock formations were carved into houses, churches, and over 250 underground cities by early Christians over the centuries. Now visitors can stay in one of the amazing cave hotels that are found in restored historic ruins. One of the best ways to view Cappadocia’s landscape is by floating over it. At sunrise hundreds of hot air balloons float into the sky giving riders the most stunning bird’s eye view. More than half a million people take part in hot air ballooning in Cappadocia every year.

An interesting signature dish in Turkey is tavuk göğsü, or chicken milk pudding. It’s a unique blend of boiled chicken, milk, and sugar, dusted with cinnamon. The dish became a delicacy served to sultans during the Ottoman period.


Teaching Opportunities

There is a huge demand for EFL in Turkey. Everyone needs to learn English, either for entrance examinations, international communication, business transactions or even to secure a good job.

The main locations in Turkey in which to find EFL jobs are Istanbul, the capital Ankara, Izmir and Bursa.  Education in Turkey is a prized and expensive commodity and there are many job opportunities in private language schools, private schools and universities. Contracts generally ask for 20-25 hours of teaching per week. The salary is enough to live comfortably. It is possible to earn more money from private tuition.

Jobs are regularly advertised online. Teachers must be careful about researching these. Some places will ask you to work on a tourist visa, which means that you will need to do a visa run every three months to Bulgaria, Greece or the Ukraine. There are other institutions that do not pay on time or at all.

Having said this, there are also good jobs for those who have a Level 5 TEFL certificate. The first year might not bring you the job you want, but after a year of experience in the country, many quality employers will have openings for you. Many prefer those with experience of teaching in Turkey and who are applying from within the country.

Teaching Requirements

  • Degree Requirement
    Not required
  • Typical Contract Length
    6 - 12 months
  • Peak Hiring Seasons
    Year-round for language schools, September for public and private schools
  • Visa Info
    Work visa
  • Typical Students
    Business professionals, children
  • Average Monthly Cost of Living in Local Currency
    1,500 - 2,500 TRY
  • Average Monthly Salary in Local Currency
    2,500 - 6,000 TRY

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