How Teaching English Can Open The Door To The World

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There’s nothing like a global pandemic and a prolonged period of lockdown to send those feelings of wanderlust into overdrive. As the days grow shorter and the weather hurtles towards the bottom of the thermostat, we know that home is the last place you want to be. 

Whilst it may be difficult to imagine traveling right now – and hard to even remember how it felt to experience a new culture – you’ll be relieved to know that when the borders open back up, there will be plenty of opportunities for both experienced and beginner teachers to pack up their things and move abroad.

Where can I go?

It’s often said that teaching English is your passport to seeing the world, and we’ve certainly found that to be the case. From Buenos Aires to Bangkok, there is hardly a major city in the world that doesn’t need English teachers for their schools.

Whether you want to live in the mountains, by the sea or in a megacity, becoming an English teacher opens doors to the cultures, lifestyles and places that other professions could only dream of. The beauty of teaching also means that you’ll get the opportunity to travel beyond your place of work. 

Teachers are envied the world over for the amount of holiday time they get, which means you’ll get plenty of opportunities to take a cheap local or domestic flight and see more of the world whilst you’re earning. It’s the perfect job for ticking things off your travel bucket list and making your social media pages the envy of your friends.

Looking out over the bay
Looking out over the bay

How can I do it?

It’s never been simpler to find a job working as a teacher abroad, and the current level of demand for practitioners has reached a record high. There are plenty of websites, agencies and message boards just a click away, each with plenty of vacancies waiting to be filled.

The qualifications and requirements for teachers vary from role to role and country to country. For example, the higher-paying roles in the likes of Dubai and Abu Dhabi can often require teachers to have a formally recognized teaching qualification such as a Bachelor of Education or a PGCE in order to obtain the relevant visa. However, not every country is strict when it comes to qualifications.

Countries such as Thailand and Vietnam are more relaxed. Armed with only a Bachelor’s degree in any subject, it’s possible to find a good job in Southeast Asia that pays well enough to enjoy a comfortable life. Whether you’d prefer a big city like Hanoi or a Thai island to call home, these dreams can become reality with just a few searches online.

When applying for a job, recruiters may ask for a CV, a copy of your passport and copies of your relevant qualifications along with your job application form. Should you reach the next stage of the application process, you will most likely be interviewed online on a video call. Whilst this may seem like a daunting process, it’s important to stay calm, be positive and be honest – letting your prospective employer see the real you is the key to securing the position.

Moving abroad is never easy and, for such a big decision, we do recommend that you find your job from a reputable source. 

Who is it for?

The good news is that teaching abroad is open to everyone. From native speakers to those who are fluent in English, there’s a chance you can find one regardless of where you’re from. If you’re qualified, you’re sure to be considered. Of course, some jobs may be more specific when it comes to age, nationality, and experience, which can be down to both visa requirements and the preferences of the employer. That said, finding roles for those with no teaching experience is also extremely common.

Adding engaging teaching methods such as interactive slide lessons, along with a vibrant personality, is an important factor when it comes to teaching abroad. Many jobs often require their teachers to be bubbly, smiling and active in lessons, who always have a game up their sleeves to keep their students entertained. In fact, for many jobs with younger students, you might find that employers rank personality above qualifications.

There may be other prohibitive factors for finding employment abroad, such as health conditions or criminal records. If either of these apply, we recommend contacting the embassy of the country you’re interested in working in to find out if it will affect your application.


What if I have no experience in teaching abroad?

If you have never taught abroad before, we recommend studying for a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification. Not only will this provide you with practical skills and knowledge that will benefit you in your teaching career, but it is also bound to set you apart from job candidates who don’t have one. 

Even for teachers who are already qualified, studying for an English teaching qualification can provide you with an understanding of the challenges that ESL students can pose and how to reach them in the most effective manner.

With jobs hiring year-round and schools already planning for the next academic year, there’s no better time to become qualified and work on finding your dream job. What are you waiting for?

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Lenny is one of the contributors here at Backpacker Travel. Her favorite destination is the Philippines.

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