Teaching English Abroad

There are many opportunities for teaching English abroad that are open to anybody who is able to speak English fluently. Whether you have a teaching degree or a certificate in English language teaching you can find work almost anywhere in the world.

This article looks at two options for people who want to teach English abroad including private language schools and teaching English abroad in International Schools.

International Schools

International schools are elementary, middle and high schools for expatriate children whose families live abroad. There are international schools that offer an American curriculum, those that offer a British curriculum and many more. The language of instruction in most international schools is English but many of the students have English as a second or third language, and so most international schools have teachers who support these students by teaching them English language.

Teaching English abroad in international schools can be done with the same qualifications that are required for teaching in a private language school however you will be competing with people who have teaching diplomas. With over 4000 international schools worldwide, there are many positions vacant every year.

Teaching in an international school often offers better pay and more benefits than teaching in a private language school. Some benefits you are likely to receive teaching in an international school are annual flights, accommodation allowance, medical insurance and, free tuition for your children in the school.

International schools follow the regular school year, so you will only be teaching for around 200 days, and you will be paid for your vacation time, unlike private language school where you will receive 3-4 weeks holiday in a 12 month contract.

Private Language Schools

Teaching positions in private language schools are easy to secure. English language tuition is a growth business in many areas of the world, in particular in Eastern Europe and throughout Asia.

In order to teach English in a private language school you need to be able to speak English fluently and have a certificate from either Trinity or RSA CELTA. These courses are around 4 weeks long and can even be completed online. Some language schools will hire native English speakers who do not have any ESL qualification, but usually these schools are not as reputable as those that insist their teachers have the appropriate qualifications.

For some countries you will need to have a Bachelor’s degree in order to be eligible for a work permit. You need to check this out if you do not have one because you could end up working abroad illegally. Usually your degree can be in any subject, it does not need to be in education.

Working at a private language school can be rewarding as you learn about the local culture from your students and see the progress they make. You are likely to have a combination of classes with 12-20 students and private lessons where you teach only one or two students.

In Asia you can land an English teaching contract at any time, but in Europe most contracts are from the beginning of autumn in September through to the beginning of summer in June or July.

Having taught English in both private language schools and worked in international schools, I recommend you try and focus on landing a position teaching English abroad in an international school because the pay and benefits are better and you get longer holidays too.