Recent global events, together with advanced technologies, have resulted in many people working from home. For the last few years, many have been learning to adjust to the challenges and benefits of remote working.
This year, however, it appears that the passion for travelling and in-person interaction have been ranking high in the list of people’s priorities. As a result, a large proportion of the workforce is looking for alternatives in order to find a way of earning money that allows travel and flexibility.
In a recent report, it has been estimated that over 1.5 billion people will have been using and learning English as a foreign language (TEFL) by the end of 2023. As a result, the demand for English teachers is expected to increase, currently making TEFL one of the most prolific industries, offering the options to teach online from home or while travelling and to teach in-person in a foreign country.
If you are looking for complete flexibility, look no further – online teaching could be the solution.
You can choose to start teaching English online as an independent freelancer. In this case, you need a certain level of business skills. A large proportion of your time will be taken up by admin, marketing and lesson planning, and it all requires effort and determination.
However, this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and it can get overwhelming at times, even for the most enthusiastic entrepreneurs. A way to avoid this is to rely on the support of established online language schools.
They sort out all the legal and admin stuff, find students and put them in contact with their pool of teachers.
Most of them organize the teaching timetable according to their teachers’ availability and provide ready-made teaching materials and lesson plans. In return, the school takes a cut from your earnings or pays you a pre-agreed hourly rate.
In-person teaching abroad
While teaching/learning English online has been a very popular option for teachers and students alike, it cannot replace the rewarding experience of living and working abroad.
Although the fascination with teaching abroad has never faded, there has been a change in trend regarding teaching destinations. Perhaps due to the current global crisis affecting many countries worldwide, many TEFL teachers are considering moving to areas where salaries are higher.
So, if teaching English abroad is the right job for you , what are the highest paying countries for TEFL teachers?
This is one of the richest countries in the world, despite its small size. There, professionals who specialise in teaching Business English and English for Specific Purposes (ESP) are highly sought-after, due to the nature of the English learners in this country – often professionals involved in banking or the oil industry.
An attractive tax-free monthly salary – between $2,600 and $4,000 – and generous perks, such as medical insurance, transportation to and from work, housing and bills, and return flights to your home country when the contract ends, make Kuwait a very desirable destination.
To find a TEFL job in Kuwait, you need a university degree and a TEFL certificate, but newly qualified teachers are welcome, as previous teaching experience is not necessary.
With a low crime rate, extremely efficient public transport, and a fascinating country, Japan has always been a sought-after destination. Monthly salaries are in the range of $1,300-$4,100, depending on where you teach.
If you are interested in working in the public education sector, consider applying for one of the government-led programmes, like JET. If selected, you would be hired as an Assistant Language Teacher to support your local counterparts during their lessons.
This country, just off the coast of China, is gradually gaining popularity among TEFL teachers, not only because of its modern and efficient infrastructure and services – including free WI-FI across the island – and fascinating places of interest to visit, but also for its generous salaries.
Although the visa application process can be strict and lengthy, an average monthly salary of $2,200 makes it all worthwhile.
In the TEFL scene, South Korea has rapidly become as desirable as Japan for the modern lifestyle and high salaries it offers – between $1,350 and $3,100 per month. This varies depending on the geographical region and the institution you work in. Just like Japan, South Korea has set up specific programmes – EPIK, SMOE, GEPIK – international teachers looking to work in public schools.
Alternatively, you could apply for a teaching position at one of the many private language schools – known as hagwons – dotted around the country. Find out more in this teaching English in South Korea salary article from The TEFL Org.
Whether you decide to teach in-person or remotely (or both), obtaining a TEFL certificate is the best starting point. You can choose to attend a classroom-based course, online, or hybrid, as long as it is a 120-hour course from a reputable provider.
With such a vast range of courses available, it can be difficult to choose the right course for you. In reality, however, the core modules should be the same.
Before committing, check that the course covers areas such as language awareness (including grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation), classroom management (understanding and meeting your learners’ needs, setting up activities, classroom layout), as well as use/creation/adaptation of course materials and lesson planning.
Once you have completed your TEFL course and started teaching, learning doesn’t end there.
You can attend further courses to specialize in teaching specific age groups (adults, teenagers, young learners, very young learners), language skills (speaking, reading, writing, listening, exam, academic), areas of English (general, business, for specific purposes), teaching skills (increasing students’ engagement, reducing/refocusing teacher talking time, managing a mono/multilingual classroom), and to improve the delivery of your lessons online and/or in the classroom.