So You Want To Teach English As A Second Language

Teaching English as a second language is a popular way for many expats to earn a living while overseas – but how do you start if you have never been a teacher?

The first step is having a plan.

You need to work out where you want to go, who you want to teach and how you want to develop your career.

Openings for English Second Language (ESL) teachers are available in all types of institutions – from schools and universities to businesses.

If you prefer teaching children, teens or adults, then you need to pick the appropriate employer, which could be a private language school, a university or business.

ESL teaching qualifications

Some ESL teachers take up the calling to fill their time while a partner is posted overseas or to earn some money to fund their travels, while others seek a career and promotion out of the classroom.

ESL teachers do not have to have a degree, but most employers want someone with a university education so they can earn the best qualifications as a teacher.

The qualifications to consider are CELTA – a Certificate In Teaching English To Speakers Of Other Languages – or CertTESOL – a basic grounding in teaching English as a second language.

To go further in your career, more specialist qualifications are available.

Once you have your plan and a qualification, looking for a job is the next hurdle.

The best time to apply for jobs is at the end of the school year. As the academic year varies between countries, even teachers have to do some homework to make sure they put in their applications at the right time.

What ESL teachers earn

Other important points to bear in mind include how much you want to earn.

Teaching in London is worth around £1,200 a month, while Rome offers around £740 a month and Tokyo around £1,400 a month.

Salaries do depend on experience, location and qualification, while overseas postings can come with perks such as flights home, accommodation and health cover.

Checking out the finer details of the contract is imperative as the local cost of living and health cover can take a big chunk out of what looks a decent salary on face value.

If you are looking for countries with the greatest need for ESL teachers, try China, Saudi Arabia and Brazil.