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Getting Ready for Teaching Outside of the UK

By Joseph, published on 03/01/2019 Blog > Tutoring > Advice for Tutors > Teaching Outside the UK

“Making a big life change is pretty scary. But, know what’s even scarier? Regret”

Did you know that more and more teachers are choosing to teach outside the UK?

There’s a growing market for English speaking teachers around the world. In fact, teaching English abroad is arguably the most popular job for British expats. Once you’ve attended a TEFL course and got your TEFL certification, you can start teaching your mother tongue to foreign students who are learning it as a second language.

That said, not all TEFL courses are the same or accepted everywhere. The CELTA is far more widely accepted than an online TEFL qualification. There are also international teaching opportunities for plenty of subjects.

While an English teaching job is probably easier to find when looking for jobs abroad, there are plenty of rewarding jobs abroad for those interesting in teaching overseas in other subjects.

However, moving abroad to teach is sometimes harder than it looks. The first question you need to ask yourself is what administrative steps you’ll need to take before you can start teaching abroad.

Fortunately for you, we have the answers in this article.

Which Qualifications Do You Need to Teach Abroad?

Whether you want to teach English, modern foreign languages, PE, etc., you’ll need to get the necessary qualifications and experience.

However, before you start any application process for heading abroad, you should know that there are different ways to get teaching jobs in other countries:

  • You could teach in state schools.
  • You could teach in private schools.
  • You could teach privately as a tutor.

How do you become a teacher? Sometimes being a teacher can be stressful. (Source: JESHOOTScom)

Each of these jobs comes with different requirements in terms of experience and qualifications.

Firstly, PGCEs aren’t usually accepted abroad. If they are, they usually need to be translated.

There are four main ways to work abroad as a teacher:

  • Working abroad temporarily.
  • Living abroad permanently.
  • Being recruited in the UK and working abroad.
  • Finding a job abroad.

Living abroad permanently is arguably the best way to find a career in a given country. However, in the modern age, you can do interviews over the phone or by using video conferencing services such as Skype. That said, you’ll probably still need to:

  • Gain a recognized teaching qualification or become a certified teacher.
  • Get some experience teaching.

The length of the contract that you’ll be offered may vary. For example, you may be employed to cover maternity leave for a few months or be expected to head up a department for several years.

Gaining residency is also an interesting possibility. Having residency in certain countries will entitle you to more rights and, in certain circumstances, the better working conditions and benefits.

Generally, it takes around five years of permanent residency in the country to be entitled to residency status.

In fact, some establishments may require their employees to be residents. That said, there are plenty of establishments that don’t. For those that do, you probably have to provide proof of this either during the application or before you start work.

In some cases, establishments may be willing to accept candidates who don’t meet all the necessary bureaucratic requirements. A lot of those who want to teach English abroad can find teaching positions where the language school will help them gain a work visa and start teaching English overseas.

As you’ll have understood, there are plenty of different administrative hoops you’ll have to jump through. Whether you’re looking for ESL teaching jobs for your gap year or starting a new career abroad, the first step you should take is finding out what you need to do and in which order you’ll need to do it.

Establishments for Helping you Teach Abroad

The British Council, for example, has plenty of useful resources for those living, working, or studying outside of the UK. They also have plenty of useful resources for those teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), one of the most commonly taught subjects by British teachers living outside the UK.

Of course, the British Council isn’t the only place you can find information and help for those who have decided to teach abroad. But it is the first site we recommend you visit.

Where can you find teaching jobs abroad? Which is the best type of teaching for you? Take the time to work out what works for you. (Source: Free-Photos)

From their website, you can do things like:

  • Apply to be an English language assistant around the world.
  • Find resources for teaching English as a foreign language.
  • Learn more about different countries around the world.
  • Get practical information on aspects of life in other countries.

Similarly, the British Council is a great point of contact for anyone needing more information about teaching outside of the UK. Additionally, they also have information about living abroad and in different countries.

So what steps do you need to take in order to start teaching abroad?

The Administrative Steps You Need to Take to Start Teaching Abroad

You need to make sure you’re prepared to move to another country. Different jobs come with different requirements and different processes. It’s important to respect the application procedure for the job that you are applying for:

  • Complete the application forms as instructed.
  • Remember to include your qualifications.
  • In order to command a higher salary, make sure to include your past experience.
  • Don’t forget to attach any proof of your language skills and your CEFR level.
  • If requested, you may need to attach copies of your qualifications (or translations of them).
  • You may also need to attach copies of all other documents requested.

How long does it take to become a teacher abroad? You need to plan carefully if you want to become a teacher abroad. (Source: TeroVesalainen)

In addition to standard qualifications you may have, it might be useful to include whether or not you can teach disabled students, students with special educational needs, are first aid trained, etc. It won’t hurt to have previous teaching experience, either.

Instead of an entire year teaching, there are also placements and training programmes you can do. These are a great way to gain professional experience while improving your teaching skills.

If your application is successful for a given job, you also have various legal requirements to meet before you can live and work in certain countries. However, you should be aware that some countries have very stringent visa requirements and procedures for immigration. In fact, the administrative procedure for many countries can be an absolute nightmare.

Additionally, these procedures can be completely different from one country to another. For example, the procedure in Korea won’t be the same as it would be Spain, Thailand, or Vietnam.

Of course, even after you’ve done all this and got a job, there are still there other things you have to do.

Additional Steps for Teaching Abroad

You need to keep in mind that being accepted for a position doesn’t mean they have completed all the necessary steps for becoming a teacher abroad. There are also administrative steps that your new workplace may need to take in order for you to stop working with them such as:

  • Requesting visas.
  • Preparing accommodation (if this is included in your contract or provided by the establishment).

Where can you teach abroad? If you want to teach in state schools abroad, there are usually a lot of steps to take. (Source: Wokandapix)

Not forgetting the administrative steps that need to take place before you can start working:

  • Finding accommodation, contracting water, electricity, and gas, for example:
  • Opening a bank account and using it.
  • And getting an international driver’s licence, if you’re going to need to drive.
  • For researchers, you may have a different visa to complete.
  • In some cases, you will also be expected to register upon your arrival in the country.

Don’t forget that you also need plenty of useful teaching resources to effectively do your job. Your new job may be completely different to what you’re used to, which may mean changing, replacing, or developing the teaching resources that you usually use.

Don’t forget that your new job may also be a stepping stone towards greater things.

So are you ready to develop your professional skills in a foreign country in either in primary schools, secondary schools, private schools, or universities?

If you can’t get a job as an English teacher, you could always volunteer or do a placement as a teaching assistant. This is where you work in a classroom alongside a qualified teacher. This might be a good experience for teachers who are interested in working abroad or in an international school as it gives them an opportunity to see what TEFL teaching involves and the methods that an ESL teacher can use to teach English to those who don’t speak it as their mother tongue.

Whether you go to Africa, Asia, Europe, or the Americas, you can earn a living in a foreign classroom and travel abroad to enjoy new languages and cultures.


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