So, the hard work is done and you have studied, put in the hours and obtained the TEFL certification so how do you go about finding your perfect first job? If you try a job search in Google, you will be overwhelmed with the results many of which just talk about TEFL and are not necessarily job orientated so, how do you find your first or indeed any TEFL job?
You know from your own experience of internet usage in other areas of your life that there are some sites you rely on and trust to source things and others that you wouldn’t so how do you know which are the genuine TEFL job sites and which are the ones to avoid?
Well, there is a huge demand for TEFL teachers abroad, it’s just a question of knowing where to look for the right jobs. The presence of TEFL jobs online is only part of the TEFL story; not every country will have a strong internet-based employment offering, for example, South America fits into this category; its much more common for teachers to find work when they are already resident in the country and the same can be said of some parts of Europe -the best jobs go to people who are already living there. If your destination of choice is one of these countries then you might need to find a different way around the problem. Find a local or national directory for that country and contact language schools direct. Join ex-pat groups on Facebook and other ex-pat forums which are not social media-based – these are a great way to get your finger on the pulse and hear about jobs which never make it to the advertising board. If you have friends or family in these locations then even better as they will have their ear to the ground which can be so much more productive than trying to search online.
Online TEFL jobs
Some people are interested in teaching English online, as a sideline to other work or to fill in gaps in employment or as a fledgeling new career. In lockdown, a lot of TEFL sessions went online and many people discovered just how flexible and rewarding this type of work can be.
The online English teaching sector has been steadily expanding for years, you can find online teaching jobs on all of the jobs boards listed above or you can often find them on freelancer sites like Upwork, PeoplePerHour and Fiverr. These sites have freelance work in many different areas but you can put a filter on to just search specifically for online English language teaching jobs. There are quite a few companies and agencies who will advertise for online teachers via these sites which are international in reach; they don’t always pay the highest rates but they are a good way to get started and find your feet if you are a new teacher and help you to understand the parameters of teaching English online.
Stay safe when applying for jobs and don’t get scammed
As with any internet-based negotiation or dealings, when you are not speaking to people face to face there is always the risk of falling victim to a scammer or hoaxer. The TEFL industry is just as much an area for rogues and fraudsters as anything else online so always stay alert for scams and check out who you are dealing with very thoroughly.
TEFL job interviews
These are generally conducted by video conferencing – Skype or Zoom – and there is lots of online information about how to prepare for an interview and the type of questions you may be asked. The main tip is to be prepared and do your homework thoroughly so that you are familiar with both the host country (beyond the usual tourist information) and you have done your research about the school that you are applying to.
If this is your first TEFL job abroad, expect the employer to ask how you will cope with living and working abroad if you have never done it. A good way to answer this question is to cite other situations when you have been thrown in at the deep end and coped. A prospective employer will also want to see a level of interest and commitment to both his school and his country; a candidate who comes across as more interested in turning the role into a glorified free holiday will not impress.
Always have your TEFL certificate and any other relevant accreditation to hand both in physical format and scanned as files on your computer ready to send across if you have not already done so as part of your application. Try and choose a location for your video call which is quiet and where you won’t be disturbed and also one which has a suitable backdrop to convey a good impression