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Finding Good English Teaching Jobs

English teaching jobs come in all shapes and sizes.

There are opportunities like doing volunteer work with a local charity, working in remote corners of the globe through the Peace Corps or other international volunteer groups, working in exotic cities at good schools or some little backwater village in the middle of nowhere.

You can teach at a foreign college or university or even one in the USA, or teach a few private students right out of your own home.

As an English teacher truly the world can be your oyster. Native English teachers are in demand so you can pick and choose among the best places.

You can go to places that pay well and travel the world or you could go to a place that doesn't pay so hot but the surroundings and other opportunities available do more than make up for it. Getting a great English teaching job overseas is not only possible but very doable.

There are many sites on the Internet that will help you find work all over the world. Some sites are free, others you gotta pay a fee to be listed. Some will actually help you find work. Some schools require English teaching certification (also known as TESL Certification), others don't.

But I think though that the most important thing you need to do is put together a resume (in some parts of the world a resume is called a CV) You can either do it yourself or have one professionally done.

What to look for in your search for ESL jobs

There are places all over the Internet where you can get info about English teaching jobs.

There are a few things to be cautious about though...

If in your searches you pull up a website and you get a popup that gives you some kind of advertisement not related to ESL (English as a Second Language), I would be VERY careful about submitting your email and information. It's not that the site is necessarily bogus but probably it's main focus is to try make money off you.

(This is a good reason to turn off your pop-up blocker. It helps tune you into the credibility of a site. Cheesey, off-topic pop-ups are definitely not sites you want to spend your time or submit any of your personal information.)

Of course, most of these sites are selling something but some sites are reputable, others aren't. Credibility is important on the online world. Make sure that the site you are using looks and feels credible. (But this, however, still doesn't absolutely guarantee the site is worthwhile.)

Flashing graphics, popups not related to English teaching, testimonials signed with just initials (like "H.J.", Kansas), banner ads that are not on the topic should be looked upon with suspicion.

There are hundreds of English teaching jobs sites on the Internet. Some have fees, others not. I would just be wary about places that charge fees. There are so many FREE sites that have listings for ESL jobs that it would take hours maybe even days to exhaust all possibilities.

So, to help you out I found a couple good English teaching jobs sites that I like. www.tefl.net is a nice site that's not only a good source for ESL jobs but for other ESL resources as well.

Thar's ESL jobs in them thar hills...

Teaching English is a big business and is growing. Since there are so many English teaching jobs out there chances are very good you'll be able to find what you are looking for.

At the same time there are thousands of teachers looking for English teaching jobs along with you. I'm not going to say competition is fierce but let's just say it's getting more educated and sophisticated simply because there are so many opportunities available.

As you cruise the different ESL jobs sites and look at some job postings you'll see that schools usually require an TESL or TEFLteaching certification and/or some kind of teaching experience.

There are many places you can go to get certified either at home or abroad. You can even get your ESL certification through correspondence and online courses.

I recommend ICAL for excellent English teaching certification. It is the oldest and the most respected of online TESL certification schools. It is inexpensive and you can get trained and certified quickly or take your time. It is set at the pace you are willing to go. They have expert teachers and mentors who have been in the English teaching business for years.

If you have neither experience nor certification don't fret.

If you have a college degree or post graduate degree you might be able to land a decent job.

One of my first English teaching jobs was Seville, Spain. I had no experience or certification but I did have a Master of Fine Arts degree and got hired on the spot. (I stumbled upon that opportunity and has become a career. I've been teaching ESL on and off for years.)

I dunno. Maybe that school in Spain was desperate for teachers and I woulda' gotten hired anyway. Which is another thing you may have to your advantage. Many schools need teachers and will hire anyone who presents themselves professionally and has good communication skills.

Here's another site to get started on your job hunt. Check out ESL Teachers Board for ESL jobs, resumes and resources.

Impress 'em with a good, genuine resume...

...a well thought out cover letter telling them why you are qualified for the job and a professional attitude and you just might get hired without having either experience or certification. Remember, the cover letter is very important. You can find info online about writing a good cover letter or get a book at your local bookstore.

The thing is this: Just because someone is certified does not mean they can teach. Teaching well is a skill and in some ways an art and the most important things about it are--

  • enthusiasm,
  • good communication skills,
  • patience and
  • a love of teaching.

But I wouldn't let any certification school tell you that you can't get one of the many esl jobs without certification. It just ain't so. I am the perfect example of that.

I have been teaching for years with no certification. None of the English teaching jobs I've had have required it. I've gotten hired because of my experience.

Another thing to remember is NEVER send money to any recruiter or potential employer. Genuine recruiters and schools will pay for visas and any other teacher's fees. If any recruiter or school asks you for money up front it's bogus.

Remember, if it smells fishy... it probably is.

Your own site's the thing...

I highly recommend setting up a simple webpage that contains your resume and a little bio about yourself. This bio would be like your cover letter if you were sending your resume by mail.

I definitely would include a really good photo of yourself, of course, dressed professionally. (I know AOL has an easy way to set up your own site for free. Your ISP probably has a free service in which you can do this, too.)

In this way when you email a school inquiring about employment you could include your website address. This way they can check you out immediately.

Also, I would snail mail them a resume and cover letter and your photo (which I would imbed in the page of your resume. You can do this from your computer or at Kinko's). I wouldn't make the resume any longer than two pages.

What they really want to know is your name, nationality, whether or not you are certified and your experience if any. (I personally think experience counts for more than does certification.) Of course, they want to know your education and background and anything else that would be relevant to teaching.

Remember... you usually do not need any experience teaching English to get your first position. So don't let "Geez, I got no experience teaching English, I can't get a job" stop you. Schools are looking for native speakers. And a lot of times that is all the qualifications you need.

There are places all over the world that are looking for good English teachers. If you are professional, committed and consistent and a little creative you can find yourself one of the good English teaching jobs that's right for you.

You could wind up in some exotic location in some far flung corner. If you get there and you have some time send me a postcard, I'd love to hear from you.