Spouse and Kids
in the TEFL Life?
a TEFL lifestyle fit well
with a family?
Teaching English Overseas - as an occupation - presents
special problems for those with partners, spouses,
and/or kids. Let's talk about kids first.
Unless you have a relevant graduate degree and can land
a good TEFL job in the Middle East or are qualified for
teaching at an international school, children can be an
extreme financial burden. If your kids are too young to
go to school and your partner is going to stay home to
take care of them then perhaps no problem. However,
many international schools charge fees that are
sometimes even greater than your monthly salary as an EFL teacher.
There are exceptions to the rule. The better jobs
in the Middle East will provide for an international
school education for two (sometimes more) children as
part of the benefits package. Also, international
schools often provide free tuition for the children of
their faculty. It never hurts to ask if such benefits
are provided - but they are unusual in most EFL jobs.
am aware of at least two families that used home
schooling as an alternative to the costs of an
international school education. While I am sure it can
be done well, the working schedule and burden on the
parents to provide such instruction - I think -
ultimately lead to a very poor education for their
These two families rather quickly headed back
to their home country. I can't recommend this as an
alternative to a "real" education.
Spouses and Partners
you have a "working" partner in EFL, it only makes
things even easier! Some schools even look for couples,
as it reduces their cost of housing: providing only one
apartment versus two. One caution though, working with
your partner all day can add stresses to your
relationship. And these stresses will come at a time
when you are already a bit stressed by moving to a new
country, culture, and job. I've worked at the same
school with my wife before, and at least for me,
wouldn't recommend it. But, I have known many people
for whom it worked just fine.
Some spouses or partners will have difficulty adjusting
in a country where they don't know the language and even
TV offers limited English language programming - if they
have nothing to do. It may be best if they come either
to work - or with a specific project in mind: Writing a
novel? Setting up a website?