Five Tips for Securing Professional EFL Employment Abroad
For many newly certified teachers, August signals the end of the Summer School in the UK for many, with thoughts obviously moving towards other opportunities post-summer. The questions arises: “What next after the Summer School?”. There are essentially two opportunities offered for newly certified EFL teachers, after the busy summer months. Either you continue to pick up work wherever you are based in the UK or you consider teaching abroad. Teaching EFL abroad offers additional opportunities such as continuing professional development, learning more about a particular as well as earning an income other than just the summer months.
In this blog post, we are looking at five tips for securing professional EFL employment abroad and things to consider when apply for EFL teaching jobs in another country.
1. Searching For A Job
There are many places where EFL teachers can search for a professional English teaching job. The more professional the job, the greater the expectation that the applicant holds a CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL. There are other jobs which accept the more affordable online TEFL courses from potential applicants. Nevertheless, many of those teachers who are finishing their Summer School contracts will have the more recognisable CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL, due to British Council employment requirements for individuals employed at a British Council Accredited English school. So, where do English teachers start searching for a job abroad? There are some particular websites that I would always recommend our teachers to register with when searching for employment abroad, not just the Job Board here.
British Council Jobs Portal
The British Council Jobs Portal offers potential applicants opportunities to develop their teaching experience and to work for a reputable and professional organisation. There are selected English teaching jobs which require at least 2 years classroom experience, yet some jobs which are happy to employ newly certified English teachers. All applicants are expected to hold a CELTA or the Trinity CertTESOL and there are further opportunities to undertake other courses (such as the DELTA or a young learner course) and the British Council will fund your additional studies.
If an English teacher had already secured employment for a Summer School in the UK, it is likely that they had used one of the most popular websites to seek their position: TEFL.com. After the summer months, there are many job posted to entice potential EFL teachers to dip their toes abroad. There are also some schools and agents willing to take on EFL Teachers who hold an undergraduate degree or online TEFL course but do not yet have a CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL, with the majority of these being located in South East Asia. However, jobs within Europe will require EFL Teachers to hold a recognised certificate such as the CELTA or equivalent.
Dave’s ESL Cafe
Dave’s ESL Cafe was one of the first websites that I was introduced to when I sought an English teaching job. Job posts are updated each day and you can search according to the geographical location. The majority of job posts are located within China and Korea with other jobs located within the “International Job Board”. Scanning some of the jobs for China located on this website, the majority of jobs require EFL teachers to have experience in the classroom, an EFL certificate (non specific) as well as being under a particular age.
2. Job Interview
If you have found a suitable job to move onto from when you leave your current Summer School position, congratulations. It is the first step. The majority of job interviews are conducted over the internet with Skype being the preferred method. There are a couple of things that I would recommend when preparing for the job interview.
Find Out About The School
Try to search for some information about the school and put the school name into Google. If the school have a website, check the website to see how often it is updated and check to see if there are any forums about this particular school or chain of school. See if the school has a Page on Facebook and check out the photos to see how they market themselves.
Dress For Success
If you have a job interview scheduled, then make sure you wear something formal. It is important to show that you are professional and make an effort when preparing for interviews.
Speak To A Teacher
When you have an interview and the school ask if you have any questions, ask if you could speak to a current teacher or the teacher that they are planning for you to replace in their free-time. This will show one of two things. Firstly, if they are apprehensive, then they may have something to hide and say “No”. Secondly, should they say “Yes”, then they probably have a good relationship with their employees.
Once you have an opportunity to chat to a current teacher or the one that you are replacing ask a few things to get an idea of what is expected with from the school:
- Do I have to write lesson plans for all my lessons?
- Tell me about a typical day at the school.
- What are the pros and cons for working with the school?
Based upon the answers provided, it will give you a greater insight into your potential employer. If you still feel that the school is unsuitable, then you can then move on to the next interview.
Plan Possible Interview Questions
You have some time to plan possible interview questions and it is always good to think about the different aspects of teaching. Here are some common questions that schools may ask you during an interview:
- Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an unexpected issue in the classroom.
- What is it like being taught by you?
- How would you teach the [INSERT GRAMMAR POINT HERE]?
- What is your opinion of coursebooks?
- Why do you like teaching English?
- What difference or similarity is there between teaching adults and children?
Have a think of some possible answers and give a personalised example for each. If you plan well, you will be able to tackle any difficult interview and do not forget to smile.
3. Employment Contract
So you have passed your job interview with the possible school, you have spoken to a current teacher at the school and you feel quite excited about starting your new job. Well hold you horses, there are still a few things to consider before jetting off to the school. You still need to review the Employment Contract and ensure everything is included in it. Before you sign away, just go through the contract to make sure that nothing is missing and that everything that was within the advertisement is included in the contract: holiday entitlement, monthly salary, sick pay, accommodation, return flights, bonus, etc.
If there was anything promised during the interview, make sure that it is included within the contract. If there is any disagreement during the course of your employment, then the contract will be referred to. If the potential employers suggest what was promised not be included in the contract, then there could be an underlying reason.
4. Visas and Country Information
So you have decided to take the job offer, signed the contract and have already got your bags packed. Well wait a moment! You must still consider whether you need an Employment Visa and, if so, apply at the in your country Embassy. You can find out about employment and Visas for the country you intend to work by checking the Embassy’s website.
As well finding out about Visas, you need to get some information about the country so that you are prepared. I would always recommend to either refer to your Embassy website in that country. So for example, you wish to live and work in Beijing and you are from America check the American Embassy in Beijing. As well as checking for the local Embassy in the country you are planning to travel to, you can also check for foreign travel advice from the Government. For American citizens, this will be the US Department of State and for British citizens, this shall be Foreign and Commonwealth Office. If you wish to gain some general information about the country you are planning to live, then the World Travel Planner can help.
5. Arriving In-Country
Congratulations, you have passed the initial job interview, reviewed and agreed to the employment contract, applied for your Employment Visa (if required) and you are now booking your flight. Time to celebrate? Not just yet, I am afraid. You are almost there but you still need a few things to organise before you celebrate. Obviously, you shall be arriving alone in a foreign country and you will need to arrange meeting your employers. Most employers meet their new teachers at the airport, and if this is not suggested, then request that they meet you or arrange a taxi to the school or accommodation. If the school is booking your flight, then let them arrange it. They will most likely book the cheapest flight possible. If they are not paying for your flight, then consider booking the most convenient to meet your needs.
Before flying, make sure that you are not teaching the same day that you arrive. You will still be getting over your jet-lag and it is completely unacceptable for anyone to work the same day they arrive. Make sure there are a few days for orientation, finding suitable accommodation and knowing your way around the place where you live. And include this in your contract.
What advice would you have for newly certified teachers wanting to teach abroad? What did you learn when you first started teaching? What are your favourite websites to search for potential employment?