There are many ways to earn money when you are living abroad and one of them is teaching English. English teaching, called ESL or TEFL, is probably the most popular way to make money abroad because it’s easy to find a job doing it and the pay is usually enough to cover basic bills. There are several different types of gigs you can get, but language institutes work is probably the easiest type of job you can get abroad.
Language schools and institutes cater to students who are trying to improve their English for a variety of reasons, like travel, job promotion, study abroad, personal enrichment, or getting ahead at school. You can have students all the way from elderly grandmothers all the way down to preschoolers and everything in between.
Qualifications to get started in these institutes are quite low. Some require nothing but being a native English speaker. Others require a 4-year degree or some sort of TEFL certification, but this is more to qualify for a work visa than anything else. A few higher end language institutes do try to put out quality and expect quality applicants. Be on the lookout for schools that provide their own training to new teachers. If you have no other qualifications, these can be a very good option.
Classes are typically not more than 10 to 12 students and the levels are usually on the low end. Teachers are provided with a textbook and CD to use in the class and progress in the class in simply progressing through the book. Teachers usually teach 25 to 35 hours a week so available teacher prep time is limited, but that’s hardly a problem once a teacher gets to know the structure of the book 5 to 10 minutes should be all that is required for your prep time.
It’s important to know from the get-go that language institutes are not started because they have some grand desire to improve the world, despite what they say on their website or brochures, they are simply started to make money. If you can help the language institute earn more money, then you are considered a good teacher. The profit motive should be understood clearly and the successful language institute teacher keeps this in mind while teaching. Happy students re-enroll course after course, unhappy students don’t.
How do you keep your language institute students happy? Make it entertaining for starters. Make it a fun experience for them. Get them involved in the lesson, give them plenty of conversation time and make sure you play games with them. It’s also important to build relationships between your students. If your students enjoy their class time, they’ll keep coming back because it’s social time rather than just learning time.
How to get a job at a language institute? You can usually do a web search for language institutes and then get phone numbers from their website. You can also find online job advertisements or even personally walk into the language institute and ask to speak to the director. If you are responding to any kind of advertisement, it’s usually best to call rather than use email, if given a choice. While people respond quite quickly to emails in the US, it’s unusual for email accounts to go days and weeks unopened in many third world countries.
Indeed, teaching English abroad can be a very rewarding experience and a great way to earn money outside the US. Language institutes aren’t the only place to teach, but they can be an awesome springboard to a quality expat life.