A Practical Guide to Teaching English Abroad

Frank and Friendly Advice written by a Retired Teacher-Trainer, Experienced EFL Teacher
& Former Peace Corps Volunteer Living & Working Abroad since 1989

I hear only flakey things about
teaching English abroad!

Do people respect TEFL as an occupation?

Is this business full of misfits?

No, this business is not full of misfits. 

But it is an unconventional occupation and some people "back home" will have trouble seeing it as a real way of making a living.  Though you will often be able to save MUCH more per month than they can, though you'll usually be working fewer hours and have more paid vacation time! 

At my very first teaching job in Korea, I was able to save more than double what I could at my best paying position (business manager for a medium-sized non-profit corporation) before I went overseas.

What's up with this TEFL business?

You will probably find a higher percentage of "misfits" in the EFL occupation.  People who went overseas as they just didn't feel that they were able to fit into anything conventional back home.  There are also those who are running away from their problems - only to find their problems came with them - themselves!  But there are also lots of very normal people looking for a more exciting and interesting life than they had in their home country.  People like you and me.

What about respect for the occupation?

In most countries, you will find that the local population and culture respects teachers much more than  "back home".  Many cultures, and in particular Asian and Latin cultures, place teachers near the top of the list of high status professionals.  Enjoy it!  And make sure you earn it.

 People "Back Home" Don't Understand

Most people are afraid to leave their safe nest of work and debt, and a standard and familiar life.  Don't expect them to truly understand your desire to head overseas and see and experience a broader world. 

We who live overseas -  are not "normal"

Normal people work nine-to-five, have 2.4 children, drive an SUV, drown in debt, struggle to pay the bills.

Normal people don't head overseas to experience the world.

I am no radical - believe me - in fact, I am a bit square and very conservative financially.  But, still, I had the desire, interest, and gumption to head overseas and make a very unusual and interesting life for myself.

You can too - if you really want to!


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