Teach Overseas in 3 Easy Steps!
So you overheard a discussion somewhere that teaching overseas was a great way to see the world and it peaked your interest. You decide to go online to do some research only to find page after page of Top Ten’s, Five Mistakes, and the Seven Reasons to teach overseas. Well I am not here to take you down this path, because I am only going to give you Three Easy Steps to teaching abroad. J
#1 — You will need SOME Cred.
Most internet sites will tell you that you need to have Bachelor’s degree and a certification. This is not entirely true. There are thousands of schools around the world that contract with individuals to teach without a degree. Some of basics, however, would include a instructional certificate of some kind and in most cases you would need to be a Native English speaker (but that is also not required in special cases).
With all that said, your prospects for higher salaries and better locations will increase dramatically with a degree (especially a degree in education or similar field). In addition to some form of education there is a high value in experience. This experience can be in the classroom of a traditional school, tutoring center, or at minimum working with children (if this is your focus). Many adult learning centers around the world are looking for individuals to teach English to adults preparing to work in jobs that require a basic level of language.
The most basic level of education would be the TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Another name for this certification you might find is a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). You can find literally thousands of pages of internet sites offering these certifications online or in person. The cost of these programs can run as low as a few hundred dollars to more intensive certifications that will cost significantly more and provide increased class modeling and instruction. You should make sure you ask a few basic questions before registering for any online or in-person classes.
1. Is the TESOL / ESL course accredited?
2. What does the course include?
3. Does the course offer practice teaching?
4. Is the course taught by qualified and experienced instructors?
5. Will they provide you with references?
#2 — You will want to have some ideas about WHERE you want to teach.
When I made the decision to move overseas I had no idea where I wanted to land. The last place I expected to be in the country I ended up living for almost 4 years. I was lucky, however in that I ended up loving my location and school. Some are not so lucky and end up leaving after one year (sometimes sooner). What I wanted out of my experience was the ability to travel, work with people who were similar in their world view and at a place that paid me enough to feed myself and even save a bit. I was not, however, looking to get rich so it opened up a few more doors as I was willing to take less salary for the freedom to travel.
Salaries for job vary widely and are affected by the cost of living, your contracted hours, the need of the school/center, and competition. With that said salaries can range from $0 (you fundraise to go) in places like Laos to over $100,000.00 in places like Saudi Arabia or surrounding areas.……yes that is correct although these coveted jobs would require higher education, experience, and might have restrictive teaching conditions (thus the high salary to get people to come).
Some great places that are rising in popularity are Vietnam, Brazil, and even Russia where the demand for qualified English teachers is on the rise. In South Korea it is not unheard of for English teachers to save a large portion of their paycheck due to low cost of living and benefits from the schools.
#3 — Apply, Apply, Apply
There really is no silver bullet or special science to finding a job overseas but one thing is for certain. You have to apply to get the job. Yes, there are literally thousands of sites that with many different avenues you can take. Some are free like www.parachuteu.com or sites that charge schools for ad space like http://www.eslcafe.com/. There are also faith-based organizations that require some fundraising but are completely turn-key like http://www.elic.org/ that provide opportunities to earn your Masters or PhD. There are even sites that charge you a fee to search jobs for you. Sometimes even the TESOL / ESL course that you take will offer placement services as a part of their fees to take the course so check into this option if you are paying a hefty sum for your coursework. In the end you should not have to pay to find a good job overseas.
Teaching overseas can be one of the most fulfilling experiences in your life even for those that do not plan on teaching as a career long term. Along with embarking a journey to see some of the most beautiful places on earth you might just gain some valuable skills like language learning, cross culture awareness, leadership, communication skills and the ability to adapt to ever changing situations.
Is 2017 the year you decide to take the next step toward your greatest journey?