ESL Jobs & Info

There are no shortage of potential ways to teach English abroad. From highly paid government jobs to private tutoring there are options galore. The following is a guide to the various different ways one can pursue teaching English as a job or even as a career!

Private Academy

Teaching in a private academy is by far the most common teaching ESL position in the world.  Private schools are businesses which are typically locally owned.  Certain schools are single academies whereas others are large scale franchises with numerous branches.  Contracts tend to be 1 year in length with options for renewal.  Certain countries such as South Korea require that you have your teaching visa in order before entering the country whereas other destinations allow you to obtain a visa while already there.  Private academies are by far the most flexible in terms of age range of your students.  Certain schools have students from all ages whereas others are specific to kindergarten, elementary, adolescent, young adult and mature students.  Salaries in private academies tend be lower than other ESL positions but the barrier to entry is also lower.  Class sizes tend to be smaller than in public schools.  Paid holidays tend to be shorter compared to public and university positions.  Certain jobs require that you have a degree and/or TEFL certificate whereas others require nothing more than a high school diploma.  In all cases, higher level teaching qualifications allow you to compete for higher paying positions with better working conditions.

Public School

Teaching in a government public school is a popular alternative to working in a private academy.  You can potentially find yourself in an elementary, middle or high school.  In more rural locations you may be teaching grades K-12.  Hours tend to correspond with regular government office hours (830 to 430) of an eight hour workday.  Public school positions are more competitive than similar jobs in private academies.  The main reason is that the working conditions and benefits tend to be better in public schools (longer paid holidays, no split shifts, co-teaching).  You can expect roughly 30 students in your class at a time although this can vary widely.  Elementary schools tend to employ more teachers than Middle and High schools.  If you don’t enjoy teaching kids this is not the best option for you.  An advanced degree in Education and/or a TESOL/TEFL certificate will allow you to get a leg up on your competition for the best positions.

University Position

University positions are considered a step up above private academies and public schools.  Almost all university teaching jobs require applicants to have a relevant Masters Degree (Major in English, Education and/or Applied Linguistics) and prior teaching experience.  Coveted positions face a lot competition from other potential applicants.  In more rural areas and in certain countries you can obtain employment at a university with only a Bachelors Degree provided you have teaching experience and good connections.  The benefits of working in a University are less teaching and office hours and much longer paid vacation.  It is not uncommon for certain teachers to receive 4 paid months or longer.  This is the kind of job that will allow to travel frequently.  University students tend to be more mature and eager to learn English although it is not always the case because some are forced to take English classes.  Many teachers who work in a university have first worked in private or public schools as a stepping stone.

Corporate Position

At the top of the ESL ladder are corporate positions.  Typically corporate positions are short-term contracts from large companies that are looking to train their staff.  A corporate position involves a lot of preparation work as you would be hired to create your own course; however, the pay would be well worth it.  These kinds of positions are based on experience, education and connections with the latter being the most important.  These jobs are reserved for ESL veteran teachers.

Private Tutor

Private tutoring is a way many ESL teachers supplement their income while some do this exclusively.  Many students (especially adult students) want 1-1 lessons with English native speakers.  In most cases they are looking for conversation lessons although in other instances they may be studying for a specific test they need to pass in order to enter a university abroad or a certain company.  Private tutoring sessions tend to pay better per hour than private, public or university positions.  The downside of private tutoring is that students can cancel at any time and often involve the teacher having to physically travel to a location preferable for the student.  Private tutoring is a nice way to supplement your ESL income but rarely does a teacher find enough regular hours or a schedule that allows this to be their chief source of income from teaching.

Internet Based Teaching (Skype, etc)

Finally one can consider doing internet based lessons with learners from around the world.  The benefits of doing this type of remote teaching means that you can be anywhere in the world (whether back home or abroad).  Certain individuals have set up their own website and businesses but it is more typical for one to get hired from a company employing teachers for 1-1 lessons with students from around the world.  It’s a less personable form of teaching but it allows you great flexibility with location and hours.



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