English in an Overseas School
|By Lovelyn Hunter
just graduated from college and are still unsure about what you want to
do. Maybe your nine-to-five-grind has grown tiresome, and youíre ready
for a change. If youíre looking for adventure, you might want to consider
teaching English aboard.
teachers are in demand throughout Europe and Asia. Some jobs require that
you have a TEFL/TESL certification, but there are also quite a few
jobs that only require a bachelorís degree in any subject.
contracts are for a year, it is also possible to get six-month contracts
from some companies. There are a few things you should consider before
packing your bags and boarding a plane to a foreign land.
I want to go?
Asia is overflowing
with ESL teaching jobs. Japan and Korea have the biggest markets. If you
want to build up your bank account, itís best to go to one of these countries.
Many ESL teachers who teach in Japan and Korea use these countries as their
home bases. They work for a while, save up money, then travel until their
money runs out. Then they return to find more work and save up more money.
It can be an endless cycle, if you want it to be.
China and other areas of Asia can be fun and culturally rewarding but donít
pay very much money. You can make enough to live but canít really save.
Working in Europe is not as lucrative as working in Asia, and because of
the European Union, itís also hard to obtain a working visa if you donít
have an EU passport.
go to Europe and teach illegally on tourist visas, but I wouldnít recommend
it, unless time in prison and deportation is your idea of fun. You can
get work legally in a country that has not yet joined the EU, such as Portugal
or The Czech Republic.
|I have found
ESL Café to be a good tool for ESL teachers. The site contains
job boards, teaching advice and forums on which teachers can chat with
each other. Teach Abroad is also a job site for locating a teaching
I want to teach?
I taught English
for five years in Korea, during which time I taught both adults and children.
There are some pros and cons to both. If you like to play games, sing songs,
and donít mind disciplining unruly little ones, you might enjoy teaching
children. If you teach in a public school, your hours will be good, but
your classes could have 30 to 50 students in them. If you work at a private
language school, you work after-school hours, for example from three to
nine, but your classes will be smaller, maybe ten to twenty students.
Offshore Resources Gallery
|In Asia, teaching
children almost always means teaching on Saturdays, unless you teach in
an English preschool. This is a big con for most people.
If you teach
adults, on the other hand, you donít usually teach on Saturday, and
have no discipline problems, but the hours can be difficult. Many language
schools for adults offer classes before and after work. For teachers, this
means early morning and late evening hours. For example you might work
from six thirty to ten in the morning, then start again in the evening
from six until nine. If you teach adults you have to be very sure about
your grammar, because they will ask you a lot of grammatical questions
that you have never thought about before.
I expect for an interview?
will give you a phone interview, but some do have recruiters in various
cities that they will want you to meet in person. These interviews are
just like any other job interviews. Dress professionally and be prepared
to answer their questions and ask some of your own.
looking for people who will be culturally sensitive and will adjust easily
to different living situations. Oftentimes they will ask for an example
of how you would teach a certain grammar point or vocabulary word. Think
of some ideas ahead of time so that youíre not caught off guard by the
question. Daveís ESL Café can also help you with ideas.
For the phone
interview, they will arrange a certain time to call you. Be sure to be
home at that time. It will usually be in the evening hours. Keep any notes
you might have made before hand next to the phone so that youíre prepared
when it rings.
my contract contain?
a contract, there are a few things that must be considered. Only take a
job that offers visa sponsorship.
impossible to get a working visa on your own. The school should send
you the information you need to obtain a visa from the nearest embassy
before you leave the country. Some companies will pay for or reimburse
you for your airline tickets. If itís not mentioned in the contract or
interview, be sure you ask.
first year in the country, it is best to sign a contract with a school
that will provide your housing or at least provide you with temporary housing
for the first month while you look for your own. You donít want to be stuck
in a foreign country with no place to live. Housing should be mentioned
in your contract. If it is not, that means they donít provide it.
that it is written in your contract that youíre to work no more that thirty
hours a week; anything more should be overtime pay. Itís difficult
to find a job that will pay you in US dollars. You have to be aware of
the exchange rate. Use Yahooís Currency Exchange to find out what
youíll be making.
I avoid getting into a bad situation?
a contract, ask if you can talk to one of the teachers currently working
at the school. If they refuse to give you the faculty room phone number
or a teacherís email address, donít sign a contract. Once you talk to some
of the teachers you should ask about the following things that may be important
to you. Ask about training, do they train new teachers? What are the students
like? How is the management? Do they have good teaching materials? How
is the teachersí housing? How much are living expenses? Can you save any
money? You should talk to more than one teacher at the school to get an
I also strongly
recommend that newcomers start out at a large well-established school or
even work for a government sponsored teaching program, for example JET
in Japan. Korea has a similar program called EPIK. Smaller schools
may promise more money for fewer hours, but once you get to the country,
you might find they donít deliver on these promises. After a year of work,
if you want to teach at a smaller school, you can find out from other teachers
which places are good and which are not.
youíve got your contract signed and your ticket bought, I suggest that
you go to the library and read up on the country youíre going to and buy
a phrase book. Learn some basic greetings in the native language before
you get there. Use that knowledge; it will be appreciated. While youíre
there, take advantage of the opportunity to travel and enjoy your adventures.
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