How to Find a Teaching Job Overseas in 10 Days or Less

Have you ever dreamed of working your way around the world? There are a massive number of teaching jobs available around the world and there are not enough English teachers to fill them.


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    Decide where you want to go. Reasons for wanting to teach in a particular country (or countries) will be many and varied. It may be somewhere you have always wanted to visit, or one that you know well and want to settle in for a while whilst earning a living, or possibly because it presents a challenge.
    • Whatever your chosen country, and whatever your reason for going there, you will find receptive pupils who are wiling to learn and who will be grateful to you for teaching them English. It is no exaggeration to say that most of them will remember you for the rest of their lives. Thailand remains the world's most popular TEFL course destinations.
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    Book a flight. You can find cheap flights online or try one of the many student travel agencies. Book a room for one night then you can negotiate a good monthly rate once you have arrived and are happy with the room. Don't go for the cheapest. Quality, security and comfort are more important than the price. Air Asia is a good reliable budget airline for the region..
    • Find out if your chosen country requires a visa, travel on a tourist visa. When you find a job, your employer should be able to arrange a work permit.
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    Sell yourself. Put together a professional resume or curriculum vitae before leaving. Save a copy in your iPod, or Gmail, Hotmail email folder.
    • Don't Forget:
      • Your TEFL Certificate
      • College diploma/degree if you have one
      • Any other relevant certificates
      • A summary note which emphasizes any teaching or training experience you may have, lists everything you have learned on your TEFL course
      • Your references
        • Most employers will ask for references. Arrange these before departing. Former employers, teaching colleagues and co-workers make the best references. Ask each to write a brief letter which recommends you as a teacher. Ask them to leave the letter undated - so that you can use it for a long time into the future. But each letter should include an address, phone number and email address for the person writing your reference.
        • If you do not have any relevant teaching experience, ask your TEFL trainer to write a reference about the skills you have learned.
        • Take at least two paper copies of all this with you with you in a protective case. Where possible, save everything in your email account and keep a back up copy in your email folder or on your iPod/Phone.
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    Pack Nice Clothes. Your employers may well be more impressed at an interview by your appearance than your qualifications. Dress like you would for a job interview at home.
    • For men, this means a shirt & tie, dark pressed trousers and polished shoes. For women, long dark skirt, white blouse and covered shoulders. Go easy on jewelry.
    • Earrings are normally considered acceptable for women, but nose and other visible body piercings (for both sexes) are generally seen as setting a bad example to the students and should be removed.
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    Arrive - and hit the ground running. If possible, ask your hotel to pick you up at the airport. Alternatively you should book a taxi from the taxi desk inside the airport arrival hall. You might pay a bit more, but it is safer and less troublesome. On the first day in a new country, this can really help to set you on your way. It's best not search for jobs on your first day. Take a stroll, and let your body and mind adjust to the new environment.
    • Unpack your interview clothes. If they are wrinkled, find a laundry service to have them ironed(your hotel or guest house should be able to help). Once ironed, hang up your clothes. Polish your shoes and prepare your resume. Finally, have a beer, or other drink, and relax.
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    Buy a mobile phone. Prospective employers will want to call you. Asking them to leave a message at a hotel or guest house is unreliable and the employers will not be impressed. It is best to get a mobile phone with a local number. Mobile phones in most places are cheap and easy to find. Before leaving the shop, ask the staff to switch your language options to English.
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    Find the job. There are three basic methods you can use (though these are not the only ones)
    • Internet Search - Go to and apply for any jobs that sound promising. Email a cover letter and your resume (from your email account) to each employer. It may be better to paste the resume into the body of the email rather than attach it as a file (many schools will not open attachments). Send one personalized every email address they could get their hands on.
      • TIP: Call first and get the head teacher's or school director's name. Have a quick chat with them before sending your resume. Then follow up with another phone call. In the cover letter, tell the school that you are currently in the country and are interested in a position immediately
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    Check your emails often and respond to inquiries right away.
    • Buy the local newspaper(s)
      • Go to a newsagent (or coffee shop) and look through any English language or local newspapers. Sit down and scan the classifieds. These always contain advertisements for English teachers. Circle them and immediately call those that list phone numbers. Mention that you meet their requirements and that you are interested in a position. Arrange an interview. Email any contacts that could not be contacted by phone.
      • Beware of unscrupulous agency ads, which are usually easy to spot by their vague offers.
    • Walk In
      • This can often be the most effective way of finding a teaching job. Spend a day or two visiting local private language schools. Put on your best business clothes, gather a stack of resumes, TEFL certificate copies, and reference letters. Almost all schools will ask for a recent photo when you apply, so make sure you have a supply of 12 or more.
      • Compile a list of 4 to 6 schools and visit them. In my experience, this is the most effective way of job searching and it helps you to get comfortable talking to employers. When visiting schools, greet the receptionist, ask to talk to someone about a teaching position and hand the ma resume.
      • Always Smile and show enthusiasm. You may get an interview, and a job offer, on the spot. This happens more often than you would ever believe! But do not be discouraged if nothing happens right away. Walking into a school will help you grow more comfortable talking to employers.
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    The interview
    • If you have done all of the above properly, the interviews and offers should begin rolling in. When being interviewed, always dress smartly, but conservatively - even if you are applying for a temporary or casual post. In fact, dress like a Sales Executive. After all you are selling yourself!
    • Smart appearance is especially important in Thailand and Asia, where many employers will often judge you by your appearance, smile, and enthusiasm above qualifications or work experience.
    • If you arrive at the interview wearing jeans, sandals and a low cut top, or you look like you just fallen out of bed, you simply will not get the job. So make sure you get a good night's sleep the night before and dress appropriately.
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    Consider your job offer.
    • But do not automatically accept the first job you are offered. Examine the contract carefully.
    • Ask questions:
    • How many hours a week will you teach? 45 hours is a normal week but over 25 actual teaching hours is too much.
    • Will they sponsor a work visa? They should!
    • Will they help you find an apartment? They should.
    • How much do they pay?
    • Insist that the school provides you with further training on their teaching methods and some peer observations. If possible, talk to other teachers at the school and confirm that they retreated well and paid on time. Sign the contract when you are satisfied - but only when you are satisfied.
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    Sign the contract.
    • Congratulations. You will be teaching English to grateful pupils in a fascinating country - as well as embarking on a fulfilling and life changing experience.


  • You do not need a BA Degree to teach English abroad unless of course you want to teach at a university or government school. Some countries may require a degree for work permit purposes but many employers just require a recognized TEFL certificate. This issue remains a gray area in many countries resulting in the majority of English teachers working semi illegally.
  • Engage your class
  • Most of all, you will be able to walk into a room full of expectant faces and conduct a lesson with confidence.
  • A good TEFL course will provide you all the basic skills you'll need to start your career abroad as an English teacher. You will learn how to:
  • Plan lessons
  • Keep discipline
  • Teach grammar, vocabulary, speaking, listening, reading and writing.


  • So, the best way to find a teaching job is to get on a plane, fly to the country of your choice, and search once you get there. This can seem intimidating as many worry that they will arrive with a tight budget and not find any work.
  • DON'T write to schools before leaving home
  • ESL schools do not have the time or patience to go through 200 to 300 emails per day, knowing from experience that the teacher they select will probably not turn up.
  • The pool of traveler teachers on the spot is appropriate to the unpredictable needs of the schools in most countries. Also, sending your Resume/CV to every school in the local Internet directory will most likely be fruitless. Why? Because that's what everyone else does, and most
  • Written applications to the majority of schools in Asia or South America (assuming you could compile a list) are a waste of time as most have been let down too many times to even bother replying.
  • DON'T assume your students are beginners
  • The 10 steps cover the do's. The following are most certainly don'ts:
  • DON'T attempt to teach before you have obtained a TEFL Certificate.
  • This cannot be emphasized strongly enough. Few people can stroll into a classroom and begin teaching without any prior training. Any assumption that you can speak a language - therefore you can teach it, is a false one.
  • One of the biggest mistakes you could make would be to think that all ESL students are beginners. In most cases your students will have been learning English for a year or more. Not all students will ask on your first day in class to ask you to explain the difference between the 'present continuous' and 'past perfect' tenses, but make sure you can answer an informed question. Again, you will learn how to teach grammar and how to handle difficult questions as part of your TEFL training.
  • DON'T rip off your students
  • Most foreign students are desperate to learn English - and it may be costing them a small fortune. It is not only important to the students that you are willing to teach them in return for the appropriate payment, it is vital for your own integrity. Without integrity, you will have nothing of value as an outsider in a foreign country - many of them suffer enough corruption locally without having to import more from abroad. Your TEFL certificate is recognized worldwide. It gives you an elevated status. Do not abuse it.
  • And finally:
  • Nervousness is normal, but......
  • You will inevitably have some butterflies in your stomach as you set off - but if you are enthusiastic and genuinely care for your students, the World truly is your oyster. There is no country where students can be fooled about your motivations. If you are unenthusiastic and just there to pick up your paycheck, they will soon spot it. But they will be equally quick to recognize a good teacher who can make a difference to their education - and their lives. The gratitude they will have for you will far exceed anything you could experience as a teacher back home.

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Categories: Teaching