Whether you are a trainee ESL teacher nearing the completion of your TEFL course or a recently-qualified ESL teacher, you will probably have started thinking about approaching an ESL teacher recruiter or, for that matter, an ESL educational institution. Before you do this, there are two important things you should consider: whether you wish to do paid teaching or voluntary teaching, and the country you wish to work in.
If you are financially relatively comfortable, doing voluntary teaching will not be much of a financial strain. On the other hand, if you have financial obligations you would be well-advised to consider seeking gainful employment; you can do voluntary work when you have discharged your financial obligations. Always consider teaching in a country that offers a salary which will allow you to have a comfortable life-style and simultaneously enable you to discharge your financial obligations.
For those ESL teachers who get homesick easily, ESL teaching at home would, obviously, be the best choice: visit http://www.language-schools-uk.com/ if you would like to see some of the UK ESL schools. If you wish to do voluntary ESL teaching in the UK, you will not have as great a choice of schools as someone teaching abroad; however, if you look for voluntary ESL organisations in your city, you are quite likely to find some – especially in London. For example: if you live in Oxford, you could try http://www.fellow.org.uk/
If you are one of those ESL teachers who wish to teach abroad, you will have to decide on the country you wish to teach in. You should definitely take the following factors into consideration when choosing a foreign country: your salary, the cost of living, the cuisine, the climate, the physical geography, the customs, and the ethnic make-up. You should now carefully weigh up the pros and cons of working in a particular country based on the foregoing factors, as follows: award each factor a score from one (worst) to ten (best); work out the average and if it is above five, that country may appeal to you.
Pick your country carefully because it may be very difficult to change your situation once you have contractually committed yourself. If you are interested in doing voluntary work, be advised that most voluntary work is done in Third World countries. Furthermore, if you are one of those people who simply can’t live without their comforts – you would be well advised to seek gainful employment.
Failure to take these two matters into consideration may put you in a situation where you are unable to properly perform your duties – and this may seriously affect your future career; job references can sometimes be devastating!