There are many employment options for individuals who obtain the TEFL Certificate. One need only look on the numerous internet websites (1) that post such positions and see the variety of offers available around the world. By far, the most advertised jobs are teaching in elementary and secondary schools. (2) Careers are even available at the University level in many countries. Private language schools and private businesses also are looking for teachers. Tutoring, either privately, through a school or an agency is yet another option. Many who work at teaching jobs will take private tutoring jobs as a way to enhance their income (3). Future teachers who lack either experience or perhaps a college degree may want to look into volunteer work. Many TEFL students come to the course and know exactly what age group they want to teach and where. There are students that have promises of employment upon completing the course and some who are already teaching somewhere and just want (or need) to gain their certificates. Others have less of an idea of what jobs are out there. For these people, there are a few things to ask themselves before they even apply. For example, why work with young learners if you don?t even like children?
Teaching in the public school systems in foreign countries can have many benefits. Many schools will offer competitive salaries. They may also assist you with finding housing, arrange for your transportation to and from work, provide the necessary paperwork (i.e. work permits and proper visas), and offer end of contract bonuses. (4) Some may even pay for a round trip ticket at the end of your contract. These can make an offer for employment quite attractive. On the other hand, there are some negative aspects to working in the public school systems. Teachers may discover that they lack the ability to be creative, having strict guidelines on the materials to be taught or the materials they are to teach with. (5) This includes outdated textbooks, textbooks with misinformation or no books at all. Overcrowded classrooms and the lack of air conditioning can also make teaching and learning almost unbearable. Another problem can be isolation. English teachers may discover that they are not too popular with other faculty members. A common reason for this is that their salaries are not likely to be as high as yours. (6)
Private language schools may offer more of an opportunity to work with adults, but certainly there are parents who send their children to these schools as well. Adults who are studying English tend to be more motivated. Most are there because they either want to find a better job or they want to be promoted in their current positions, and learning English is a way to achieve that promotion. (7) Smaller classes can allow you, as the teacher, to work more closely with your students and may provide the freedom to be more creative as well. Jobs in this market may also pay well and provide some of the amenities you will find in the public school arena. Another area to consider when searching for a teaching job is that of working for a private business. Many companies, especially those who rely on the internet or have a clientele that is outside of their own country, will hire TEFL certified teachers to teach their employees to better communicate with customers. They may also want these teachers to help with grammatical issues when creating websites, brochures and miscellaneous documents. Other companies may want you to teach ?business English? for letter writing purposes. Certainly, having knowledge of the language spoken in the particular country in which you are seeking employment can only help.
Private tutoring can give teachers the opportunity work one-on-one with their students. It can allow one the freedom of setting their own work schedules or working around another job. You will be responsible for creating your own lesson plans and the scope of materials to cover (teaching points). There is also the benefit of getting to know the locals, making new friends and therefore enriching your appreciation and knowledge of the community and culture in which you will be living. (8) On the downside, private tutors often complain about the lack of financial security that comes with working as a private tutor. It is not unusual for students to cancel at the last minute or not show up for there lessons at all. (9)
There are a number of websites that are targeted at specifically recruiting volunteers. (10) This can be a very rewarding experience for many. It can also provide those that are new to teaching an opportunity to gain experience. Volunteers may end up doing more than just teaching. You may find yourself actually helping to build a schoolhouse or even helping to build a bridge. Many volunteers will live with host families and therefore will be completely immersed in the local culture. Volunteers are not paid for the work they do, so financing can be an issue. If you are a student, you may be able to get financial aid for foreign study as well as earning college credits (11).
There are many types of employment options to choose from and certainly not all of those options are mentioned here (such as teaching at TEFL schools in exotic locations, teaching those students wishing to gain their certificates). It would be worthwhile for those wishing to be TEFL teachers to do their own research and decide just which employment options to pursues, and which to avoid. References
(3)http://www.eslbase.com/forum ?New to TEFL? Help and advice to new teachers.
(5)http://www.eslbase.com/forum View topic/t-110
(8) http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/work/esl/index.shtm l
Author: Karen Townsend
Date of post: 2006-11-20