I want to work in ..... TEFL and Teaching Abroad

 

The Careers Service receives many TEFL vacancies throughout the year – too many for us to personally check the organisations’ credentials. Therefore, before you apply for any vacancies, please do some research of your own. You can find a checklist of points to consider at www.kent.ac.uk/careers/int/TEFLChecklist.htm

You may also be interested in our pages on Teaching in Further Education and Higher Education

What is TEFL? or TESOL? or is it TESL?

TEFL = Teaching English as a Foreign Language.
TESOL
= Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
TESL
= Teaching English as a Second Language

The terms TEFL and TESOL both mean teaching English to people whose first language is not English and who are normally resident in a non-English speaking country. These students may wish to learn English for many reasons – for business purposes, to improve their educational or career opportunities or to travel.

TESL normally refers to teaching English to people who have moved from their own country to the UK (or another English-speaking country) and need to develop their English language skills in order to work, study, access services and/or develop social networks.

See www.prospects.ac.uk/links/ Occupations for detailed job profiles of TEFL and TESOL teachers (under Education)

Jargon buster

Qualifications

For many of the better jobs in Europe you need a TEFL qualification. The TEFL Certificate is the preliminary qualification and the one sought by most language schools when recruiting teachers. Courses are open to undergraduates and graduates of any subject who are native speakers of, or completely fluent in, English. They take about 1 month and costs around £1,000.

Cambridge ESOL courses (CELTA) and Trinity College London (TESOL) are known to be well established and respected worldwide and these qualifications are often specified by recruiters. See the Listings section below for lists of these courses

However, there is a great variety of TEFL courses available. Anybody can set up such a course – there is no requirement for any accreditation in this field. Always find out exactly what a course offers before signing up to it.

We have an excellent reference book called "Teaching English Abroad" (available at Reception) which includes a chapter covering 'The Value of ELT Qualifications' and the range of courses, which provides a useful overview of the types of courses available and some of the potential pitfalls. It also lists CELTA, TESOL and other courses in the UK and abroad.

Free TEFL E-Book from onlinetefl.com "TEFL Uncovered: How to teach your way abroad with TEFL". Described by Kenneth Beare as “an excellent starting point for anyone interested in teaching English abroad. It is a workbook that will provide useful time and time again when making decisions about and applying for work.". You can download a copy here

You will see Diploma and even Master's courses in TEFL but it is not necessary to have one of these to teach: most students on these courses already have a TEFL certificate plus teaching experience and are often preparing to train teachers themselves.

TEFL course listings

TEFL course providers

These are just a few, mentioned here because they are based locally or regularly provide the CAS with details of their courses. See the “Listings” section above for comprehensive lists of courses

All the above offer the four-week Cambridge CELTA course in Canterbury

General TEFL sites: advice, information, courses and vacancies

Sites carrying recruitment information and job vacancies

TEACHING ENGLISH IN THE UK

There are many language schools throughout the UK , with the largest number being in the South-East and along the south coast. They may offer vacation employment opportunities for activity leaders and social organisers (who will not need a TEFL qualification) as well as for qualified English language teachers. Much of this work is seasonal, from June to August. Again, we are only able to list a few of the many language schools individually.

See our pages on Work Experience and Vacation Work at www.kent.ac.uk/careers/vacwork.htm

VOLUNTEERING

Assessment Centre Report: ESL teacher Canada with the British Council  

Questions asked in 15 minute interview with 2 interviewers

  • How would you cope with home sickness?
  • What would you do on a snow day? (I applied for a position in Canada)
  • If you had to market Montreal to foreigners, how would you do it?
  • How would you meet new people or integrate yourself into the community?
  • What did you feel could have been better about this morning's session?
  • What tests were you given if any?: no value How long did they each last?

Group Exercise

There was a group exercise for an hour and a half. We had to come up with a 30 minute lesson plan which related to British culture then present it as a group.

They asked questions such as
  • 'what would you do if the projector broke?',
  • 'what would you do if one child was misbehaving?',
  • 'what would you do if no one wants to speak English?',
  • 'what would you do if the children couldn't understand you?'.

Tips: Research the country you are applying to really well. Even if you have lived there it might not be enough. Also have a lot of ideas of what kind of lessons you would plan and be forceful at getting your answers across during the group interview.

Most of these organisations do not require a TEFL qualification and some will provide introductory TEFL training

TEACHING IN OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

Some private language schools known to the CES

The above list is only a selection, of schools which regularly advertise vacancies through us or which have recruited Kent graduates, and does not imply any recommendation.

TEACHING IN ASIA
Japan

 

The JET Interview - information from interviews with Kent students

When you arrive at the Embassy you are escorted in pairs to watch a video, and take the grammar test at the same time. Before the interview you are able to talk to previous JET candidates and ask them questions about their experiences. Visiting the Embassy is a fantastic experience, the ex-JETs are very friendly and keen to answer your questions. It is a very nerve-racking experience, but also very rewarding.

How many interviewers were there?

Two, a Japanese woman and a previous JET participant. Lasted 20 minutes, plus a 10 minute grammar test.

Questions asked at the interview

  • Why JET? What do you know about JET? (Forensic science student)
  • How does the JET Programme and your future career relate to each other?
  • Are you nervous about the prospect of living in a foreign country?
  • Do you have any questions for us?
  • About teaching
    • What is it about teaching in Japan that particularly appeals?
    • What age students would you prefer to teach?
    • What challenges would you face?
    • Why do you think you would be a good teacher?
    • How would you cope with non-interested students?
    • How would you deal with a problematic relationship with the Japanese teacher of English you worked with?
    • What would you do do if your supervising teacher is very strict about teaching methods, and wants you to merely recite sentences in front of a class?
    • If you spent weeks preparing a lesson only to be told by the teacher that it wouldn’t go ahead, what would you do?
    • If you had planned a holiday with some fellow JETs, and your school informed you that an important school festival was taking place at the same time, what would you do?
  • About the UK
    • What ideas would you have for a day of activities at your school concerning your home country?
    • If a Japanese person was staying with you, what three towns would you take them to and why?
    • If you had to take a Japanese person to 3 places in the UK, where would they be?
    • What is the difference between the House of Commons and the House of Lords?
    • What would take with you to represent the UK?
    • If you had to deliver a presentation on “Greatest Britons” what three Britons would you choose and why?
    • How would you explain the difference between Great Britain and the UK?
    • How would you explain cricket to a class of Japanese children?
  • About Japan
    • Why do you want to go to Japan/what interests you about it?
    • In your application you said that you found Japan intriguing.  Can you elaborate on that?
    • Apart from the language what other aspects of Japanese culture do you enjoy?
    • How would you adapt to living in a very rural area, with very few English speakers?
    • You are a vegetarian; how will you cope in Japan where fish is considered a staple food?
    • Why Fukishima? (this was my first choice placement)
    • In England we have the Queen.  What does Japan have?
    • If there was a similar position going in China, would you apply for that?
    • Name the 4 main islands that make up Japan.

What tests were you given?

I was given a grammar test which lasted about 10 minutes, which also covered spelling. The test also asked you how you would explain popular English phrases, such as ‘hit the nail on the head’ to a non-English speaker. We were given three tests - one on English grammar and usage, one on British culture and one on Japanese culture. Don't worry too much about the tests; I made quite a few glaring mistakes on them, but it didn't make any difference! Studying British culture as much as Japanese though, as British questions were the hardest.

  • English Grammar
    • The meanings of three words (of increasing obscurity) had to be defined from a choice of three. E.g. explain briefly and simply the difference between 'naughty' and 'mischievous'; “to listen” and “to hear”.
    • Choose the word that best describes the phrase/implication e.g. if you don't agree with someone's action are they amoral or immoral?
    • Edit and punctuate a short paragraph. “The sun has got its hat on and its coming out to play”: add punctuation as necessary.
    • The test also asked you how you would explain popular English phrases, such as ‘hit the nail on the head’ to a non-English speaker.
    • The meanings of three words (of increasing obscurity) had to be defined from a choice of three.
    • The spellings of three words (of increasing obscurity) had to be defined from a choice of three.
    • Correct a sentence for spelling, grammar, punctuation.
    • “The sun has got its hat on and its coming out to play”.  Add punctuation as necessary.
    • Pick the most different word from a choice of four.
    • Explain the difference between two sentences.
    • Put a choice of 3 words into the sentence, that makes most sense.
  • British Culture
    • Who do you think is a good representative for Britain?
    • What is the difference between the Scottish and Welsh parliaments? (multiple choice).
    • Name the patron saints.
    • What inventions are British?
  • Japanese Culture
    • Where is Japan listed in the World economy leaders?
    • What do the Japanese call Japan?
    • Name a Japanese designer

Tips

  • Don't let the setting or interviewers overwhelm you, as it can be quite intimidating! Be very polite and respectful, dress smartly and demonstrate your dedication to the programme, and to teaching. Leave plenty of time to get there. I think that being friendly and honest helps. I was really nervous, as the interview takes place at the embassy (which is very grand), but I joked about it and the interviewers said that they understood. I chatted to them briefly about Canterbury when I went in to the interview room, and smiled a lot. When answering their questions I was enthusiastic, and tried to appear as flexible as possible.
  • It is very daunting to have an interview at the Japanese embassy, but don't be intimidated!!! Remember they gave you an interview because they liked you. Make sure you are pleasant to everyone you meet, and most importantly, be yourself!!
  • Visiting the Embassy is a fantastic experience, the ex-JETs are very friendly and keen to answer your questions. It is a very nerve-racking experience, but also very rewarding.
  • Before the interview you are able to talk to previous JET candidates and ask them questions about their experiences.
  • I think that being friendly and honest helps. I was really nervous, as the interview takes place at the embassy (which is very grand), but I joked about it and the interviewers said that they understood. I chatted to them briefly about Canterbury when I went in to the interview room, and smiled a lot. When answering their questions I was enthusiastic, and tried to appear as flexible as possible. Don't worry too much about the tests; my fiance and I made quite a few glaring mistakes on them, but it hasn't appeared to make any difference! Studying British culture as much as Japanese would be a good idea though, as it was the British questions that were the hardest!

China, Hong Kong and Taiwan

Korea

Other countries and general information

 

Teaching Abroad - subjects other than EFL

Australia

UK teachers will need to have their qualifications evaluated by Australian Education International (see link below) a division of Australian Department of Education and Employment. Teaching qualifications are assessed in the visa application process: you need a PGCE and to have completed your NQT year. The visa application requires certified copies of certificates from A-levels onwards. Accreditation and registration requirements are stringent: accreditation of overseas teaching qualifications is done at state level, with the relevant body in each state responsible for registering teachers working there. Chances of getting work are higher in priority subjects such as science. The Graduate Teacher Programme is currently not recognised in Australia, so you should take the PGCE training route. Teachers qualified in Australia can teach in the UK for up to 4 years as unqualified teachers, during which time they must obtain Qualified Teacher Status through the Overseas Trained Teacher programme.

It is possible to work as an NQT in Australia with a UK primary PGCE. It does vary by state and there is a centralised body within those states that advises on that matter. For example a student might have their qualifications assessed by VTI (Victoria Teachers Institute). They then apply for a job through the Victoria government website for jobs, not to the school directly. It would be best to apply to teaching temp agencies  as a casual teacher. The student will have to apply for a work visa as it can be quite tough. He/she could apply to teach in the Northern Territory as it is easier and he/she can get government sponsorship toward the visa.

United States

Requirements for teachers in the US are controlled by each individual state. The web site of each state education board has a 'teacher certification' section - some of which outline the certification requirements and process for international teachers.

You are also required to have a US recognised teaching qualification and a licence to teach. To teach in a public school you would need at least a PGCE (or equivalent) qualification.  

The best way to teach in the US is to get a PGCE in the UK first and then apply for US jobs. You then have to apply for a visa to work in the US. It would be very difficult for a UK citizen to train in the US as they would need to have the appropriate visa and sponsorship and all courses are of 4 years unless they could enter via a lateral entry program which is similar to the GTP route. You need to have a recognised teaching qualification: a UK PGCE is accepted in most places whilst the GTP is often not, YOu also ned to register with the professional teaching body for the state that you wish to work in.  If moving permanently you would have to meet the immigration criteria, or get a temporary visa. You can find the professional teachers’ body for each state via the web e.g. North Carolina www.ncpublicschools.org/licensure/beginning

You need to consider how long you intend to stay in the US and what type of visa to apply for. You could study for a post graduate teaching qualification at a US university - but this would be expensive and you would still have to get a a visa at the end of the course. For visa information see https://uk.usembassy.gov/visas/

The Illinois Education Board states:  'In order to become certified in Illinois, foreign applicants must have been prepared as an educator outside of the United States, meet all coursework and testing requirements, be legally eligible for employment in the United States, and meet all other requirements detailed in Illinois statute and rules.'  Qualifications then have to be assessed by an agency appointed by the State Education Board which can take time. Details of teacher certification requirements for each state are at http://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/Programs/EROD/org_list.cfm?category_cd=SEA

The qualifications needed for private schools are similar to those for public schools. A master's degree or PhD will help greatly. A school will normally make it very clear if certification is required in the first instance. A school may hire  provisionally if it feels a candidate can meet the state certification eligibility requirements within a reasonable time. Most states will require evidence of your degree and a background check before approving a teacher hire in a private school. Apart from this, most state education authorities take a hands off approach. The bottom line is that private schools can hire whoever they wish. http://privateschool.about.com

 

Last fully updated in 2013