Teach English

Do You Really Need TEFL to Teach English Abroad?

TEFL or “Teaching English as a Foreign Language” is often used as an acronym for the qualification or certificate itself. TEFL is not one single qualification but is a term used to describe courses normally similar in length and depth, most notably CELTA and Trinity. They are designed as entry level courses although experienced teachers often take them to improve their career prospects. Being TEFL certified is by far the most useful qualification for new teachers. This is now widely regarded as the industry standard.

From the employers’ point of view, the most respected, for new teachers is a certified course lasting between 100-130 hours which includes some (usually 6 hours) actual teaching. These courses typically take place over an intensive 4 weeks. Some centres have a part-time option, spreading the programme over a number of months.


A lot is crammed into a tight schedule. TEFL courses will cover language analysis, teaching methodology, observations of experienced teachers and actual teaching practice, amongst other things. Some find it hard going but almost all come away feeling it was well worth the time, effort and money and are ready to teach English abroad.

There is no escaping the fact that TEFL is expensive. Courses range from $1300 to $2000. Inevitably this puts many people off. There are cheaper options but they will not be as comprehensive and will not help your prospects of finding a good job nearly as much.

The standard 100-130 hour intensive TEFL course is also sometimes distinguished from shorter ones by being referred to as “full TEFL”. This is the area most covered in this chapter. (more…)

Applying for Teach English Abroad Jobs

It sounds pretty obvious, but to teach English abroad you will need to conduct an organised campaign. Have all your information to hand, just as you would for any other job. If you are posting out letters have at hand copies of your resume, cover letters, passport photos, photocopies of your qualifications/certificates as well as stamps and envelopes. If you intend using email organise folders on your PC. Get scans of documents and photos if you don’t already have them.

All teach English abroad applications, whether speculative or in response to an advertisement, need to contain an introduction, which is a cover letter either in letter or email form at, and a resume. It may be tempting to make a template and use it for most of your applications. This will likely just produce a large number of ineffective applications. Each needs to meet the requirements of the specific job, whether it be advertised or not. Visit the employer’s website, see what they do, the courses and classes they offer and think about the profile they are looking for in an ideal candidate.

Teach English Abroad Jobs
Make sure you keep records of all the applications you make, both direct and to other organisations like recruitment agencies, in order to coordinate follow-up letters and phone calls later. Register the date sent as well as the contact person if there was one, and any follow-up or response. It can be easy to confuse the names of different schools and staff, particularly when teaching English abroad as you will be dealing with a foreign language. Keep all the info in one place, a log book or Excel file on your pc.

Check and double check anything you write and/or get someone else to check it. When sending out a number of similar emails or letters it is easy to make silly errors. More than in other lines of work, poor grammar, misspellings and typos need to be avoided like the plague.

Make certain you clearly specify the date you can start. One of the first things anyone reading an application for a teach English abroad job will check is availability. Also make sure you state the minimum time you are likely to stay. Putting your availability as being less than 10 months may damage your chances.

If you have arrived and are looking for teach English abroad work, get a cellphone/mobile. Not only will you be able to respond to calls immediately, it will show you are organised and easily contactable, two things which are very important to any employer. It is well worth making follow-up enquiries, especially if you applied from home and have now relocated. It is essential to update any phone and address details and make it known that you are available for interview immediately or give a date on which you will be.

Where to Teach English Overseas

There are many reasons to teach English overseas such as seeing the world, escaping the rat race or just wanting a new experience. Few occupations give you the flexibility to choose where you live and how you work. Another major attraction is the relative accessibility of work. Unlike in other professions, initial training is usually short, typically a few weeks, although learning and acquiring the skills to teach successfully can take much longer.

In most teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) jobs there is a degree of uncertainty. Each student and class is different and no two days are the same. Furthermore, starting a new job in a far-off land you may not have been to before, starting a new job can be daunting especially having few or no contacts there.

The job can be certainly challenging. The key to finding work as well as teaching itself is keeping an open mind. With good planning and preparation the rewards more than outweigh the challenges. Teachers enjoy the satisfaction of seeing pupils improve, developing their own language skills, meeting people from all walks of life, some of whom may become lifelong friends, as well as the flexible lifestyle and the opportunity to travel and see the world.

Teach English Overseas

There is a huge variety of potential work for anyone who wants to teach English overseas. Teachers for classes of different sizes and levels are needed for schools, companies, language academies and universities. A job instructing a company director in downtown Tokyo will be quite literally a world away from one teaching in a village school in the Peruvian countryside. Knowing all the options from the outset puts you in a position to choose who and how as well as where you teach. (more…)

Teaching Jobs in Thailand – Private or Public Schools?

Teaching Jobs in Thailand can pretty much be split into two categories, private schools and public schools, colleges and universities. Each have their own pros and cons and the type you prefer pretty much depends on you. It’s not really a case of which one is better but really which one is more suitable for you. One thing you need to understand though is that not all teaching jobs in Thailand are equal!

Public School Teaching Jobs in Thailand

Public schools, colleges and universities are government run. As a general rule they are very over crowded with even the more upper class ones having fifty or sixty pupils in a class! That may seem like too much too deal with and it probably is which is why you get a Thai teaching assistant to help you. A lot of schools will also provide a microphone and speaker.

With such vast numbers in your class it’s pretty hard to get anything done and the amount that the kids learn is really limited which is why so many parents send their children to private lessons after school. It also means there are lots of teaching jobs in Thailand!

At public schools you work Monday to Friday, from around 8am to 3pm. You have a syllabus to teach from but a lot of the time it’s up to you to prepare your lessons which means extra unpaid work. For these kinds of jobs you will need a teaching certificate and quite often a bachelors degree as well although in rural areas they might not require the degree.

Having a bachelors degree means that you can apply for a work permit though, which enables you to have 100% legit work. This is important for some people but others don’t seem to mind.

You will also get a contract which means you also get paid throughout the school holidays. This is a major bonus although some schools get around this by only giving you a 9 month contract which means you won’t be paid during the 3 month summer holiday. So that’s something to watch for.

Pros: Fixed pay, paid holidays, weekends and evenings off

Cons: Too many students, no air conditioning, no real sense of achievement


Private School Teaching Jobs in Thailand

Because the education system in Thailand is pretty poor, many wealthier parents sent their kids to study extra classes on the weekends and after school. This means there are lots of small private schools in Thailand but in particular, Bangkok. Most big shopping malls contain private schools where the parents drop their kids off while they go shopping. (more…)

TEFL Courses

If you’re on a gap year, looking to take a career break or just want to try something different, teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) could be the answer. It’s the perfect blend of travel, adventure and giving something back. And as an increasing number of people all over the world want to learn English, there’s no shortage of opportunities.

From teaching young children the alphabet to discussing international business with a group of adults, the chance to make a difference is one of the main attractions to TEFL. There’s no better feeling than when you see a student suddenly understand what you’ve been teaching them, and their face lights up. Knowledge is the greatest gift at all, and it’s right there to be passed on.

It doesn’t matter if you have any prior teaching experience or not, as a native English speaker you’re more than qualified. Of course if you’re a total beginner it’s probably better to start off with younger children who are less linguistically demanding than say a group of university students. Once you gain confidence in yourself and your ability to control a classroom, in addition to delivering fun and interesting material during lessons, then you can go almost anywhere.

An important point to consider is that teaching isn’t for everyone so you really have to want to do it. Standing up in front of a class can be daunting, so make sure you’re under no illusions as to what it entails. Don’t waste the students’ time either- they are there to learn and in some cases are only able to attend one lesson a week. If you can’t tell them something useful then either ask for some help or take yourself out of the situation. Before you jet off to exotic locations to teach, why not see if you can do it at home first? A few hours at a community centre or sports club can be invaluable experience. Suddenly realising what you’ve got yourself into halfway into your flight is a terrible feeling, so make sure you’re prepared. (more…)

How Much Can I Earn Teaching English in Thailand?

If you decide to become an English teacher in Thailand you aren’t going to become a millionaire! However you can earn a considerable amount of money compared to what Thai people earn. This means you can live very well in Thailand, enjoy yourself and have regular holidays!

If you’re thinking of getting a job in a government school you can expect to get a starting salary of between 30,000 – 35,000 baht per month. There may be added bonuses if you complete your contract extra. You will also earn that salary through the school holidays as well. If you have a 12 month contract that will also include the 3 month summer holiday.

If you are thinking of working at a private school on the other hand then you will get paid by the hour of by the period. Sometimes a period is only 50 minutes. When you are starting out you can expect to start at somewhere between 250 – 340 baht per hour. If you have a good TEFL certificate then you will be starting on over 300 baht per period.

Some private schools will give you extra money per period for teaching advanced classes and for teaching on the weekends. This can all add up to quite a bit of money. In fact during busy times of the year you can earn between 80,000 – 90,000 baht per month if you want to work all the hours you can.

The thing with working with private schools is that there isn’t always enough work. If you are a good teacher and the students like you then you will have a good constant flow of work. Some private schools will also offer you a contract as well if that’s what you’re after. This will guarantee a minimum number of hours work per month but will also mean that you can’t refuse classes if you don’t want them.

When you consider the cost of living in Thailand for foreigners you’ll see that you can live very well. If you work in a government school and part time at a private school you can earn a lot! Likewise if you work all the hours you can in a private school and do some online writing jobs between classes you can perhaps earn even more.

Living in Thailand is pretty cheap, especially once you get the hang of things. You can easily earn 30,000 – 40,000 baht per month. If you want to work as much as you can you could double that amount once you’ve got a bit of teaching experience.

Teaching English in Thailand Without a Degree

There are still many ways of teaching English in Thailand without a degree. Although having a degree is required to obtain a work permit that shouldn’t stop you from getting a very good teaching job in Thailand. There are some risks of working without a work permit in Thailand, but that shouldn’t put you off. I’ve been teaching English in Thailand and without a work permit for over 10 years without any problems.

Is Teaching English in Thailand Without a Degree Still Possible?

Although the authorities have started to crack down in recent years you can still find plenty of work in Thailand. To make it a lot clearer for you, if all the teachers in Thailand without a degree suddenly left the country then that would be about 80% of all the English language teachers gone! The reason is that most people who spend 4 years getting a bachelors degree don’t decide to go and live in Thailand and teach English. They usually just stay in there home country and get a well paid job!

Why Is a Bachelors Degree Required To Get a Work Permit?

This is just the Thai authorities being stupid and making it difficult for foreigners to work in Thailand. Another reason is that in Thailand if you don’t have a degree you’re worthless. This is because the education system is so bad. In fact going to university in Thailand and getting a degree is roughly the same as finishing school in any western country!

Although I don’t have a degree I always tell my students I do otherwise they’ll think ‘how can this guy be my teacher when he doesn’t have a degree’. The truth is though it makes no difference and the real point is that if you can speak English then you can learn how to teach it. (more…)

What Do I Need to Teach English in Thailand?

The more cynical people would say that having a pulse is all that is required to become an English teacher in Thailand. Although that’s not too far from the truth in some circumstances, the reality is that you will need to get some sort of teaching qualification like a TEFL certificate. Don’t worry though because a TEFL course isn’t that difficult and can be quite cheap if you do it online. More about that later, first lets look at the reality of teaching in Thailand and what’s needed.

The first thing you have to realize is that there are many different types of English teaching jobs in Thailand. You can find jobs all over the country and not just in Bangkok. Like anywhere else there are good jobs and bad jobs. There are well paid jobs and badly paid jobs. You can find more information on the different types of teaching jobs elsewhere on this site.

So basically the more qualified you are the better English teaching job you can get. Lets start at the very bottom though. If you can speak English and you’re not a native speaker (European, Asian, South American) and you have absolutely no qualifications, you will still be able to find a teaching job. Even if your English is not that great, you’ll still be able to find work, although if will be at a really bad school with really poor pay.

If you get yourself a TEFL or TESOL certificate (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) then you will be able to find a much better job even if you’re not a native speaker. If you are a native speaker (English, Australian, American etc) then you have a definite advantage. For the majority of decent teaching jobs in Thailand a TEFL or TESOL certificate is the bare minimum.

Now, if you have a bachelors degree as well as a teaching certificate then you will have access to the very top jobs in universities and and private schools. Although lots of jobs say they require you to have a degree they may still accept you even if you don’t or they will make ‘arrangements’ so that your lack of degree isn’t a problem.

There are many rules and regulations in Thailand but there are lots of ways to get around them. It’s definitely a case of ‘who you know’ rather than ‘what you know’. And in these cases it’s about ‘who your school knows’. This may seem strange if you have never been to Thailand but the reality is that corruption is rife!

To summarize. If you have got a TESOL/TEFL and you are a good English speaker/native speaker then you can get work in most places. If you have a real bachelors degree to go along with it then you can apply for just about every teaching job available. As you pick up teaching experience along the way even more doors will start to open for you.

Exciting Career in Teaching

Teaching is quite often a career people fall into rather than a first choice, that’s exactly what happened to me; the desire to travel led me to teaching and I’ve never looked back since. There are fewer rewarding occupations and fewer that provide such a variety of opportunities, anyone who complains about teaching being a boring job has clearly not taken advantage of the numerous options available. To learn more about starting a career as a teacher click here.

My own teaching journey began with a tefl course in London; following university the desire to travel and explore the world had got to the point where it was now or never, but due to an inherent failure in saving money I needed an alternative means to fund my trip. After a brief look into various visa options in particular countries a friend of mine recommended teaching English abroad and my research into tefl began. Tefl courses are not overly strenuous, provide the basis for your teaching methodologies and how to cope in a foreign environment, give an opportunity to meet likeminded people beginning the same adventure, and are essentially a ticket to anywhere in the world. Whilst there are some countries where a university degree is enough to be able to teach, many have tefl certification as a strict requirement and it also gives a greater chance to land the better paid positions.

I had a list of destinations that I wanted to see on my travels, and almost all were recruiting for English teachers following completion of my course. English is in great demand throughout the world due to its importance in so many aspects of global life. Initially I arranged a 6 month placement in Thailand and was lucky enough to receive a relatively high salary and have accommodation costs covered too, and this ideal location meant I could explore almost all of South East Asia. As a teacher I was embraced by the locals and soon slipped into the Thai way of life, but most of all it was seeing the progress of young children speaking English that I enjoyed most. And all of this meant that I found it impossible to head home and it was on to China which turned into an 18 month stay! I managed to progress into teaching English to university students and suddenly I began to realise that the urge to travel was leading into a profession from which I could never see myself leaving.

On my return to the UK I was nervous that I would find it difficult to secure a job in a school, after all in my eyes I had spent the last 2 years on holiday really. However to my surprise, after completing my PGCE, the experience I had abroad was held in pretty high regard, and I had a number of interviews almost instantly. And after almost 3 years enjoying my position in the History department of a wonderful school in Kent, my itchy travelling feet have got the best of me again and I am heading to Chile to be part of a teacher training programme, something which I am really excited about, and a part of the world I cannot wait to see.

I can’t imagine there are many careers which provide so many exciting, interesting and exotic opportunities, and even if you are not interested in teaching for the long haul, I whole heartedly recommend teaching English abroad.