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

TEFL and Job Security:
Is there any job security in TEFL?

Yes and no. Read on . . .

To a large extent it depends on the employer you select and the country in which you decide to work.  The TEFL world is not really any different from working in your home country - there are excellent employers and there are shady characters you hope you never work for.  So . . . just like back home - take your time and select your employer carefully.

It is up to you to create your "security"

There are many people in this business, and I am one of them, who will tell you that you should always consider yourself a "private contractor".  That you should always think of yourself as working for yourself.  Don't count on any one employer looking out for you or assuring your future.  If you do, you will surely be disappointed. 

Case in point:  A good friend who worked for a university in Korea for over ten years, only to find that they had decided to implement a policy which would limit foreigners to THREE years.  At first, he was told that they would "grandfather" him into his position - but the reality was that he had to leave.  He had put down roots in the town where the school is - had made himself very comfortable in a good job - did his best every year for the students and school.  Yet, he found himself out the door.

Year-to-Year Contracts

Year to year contracts are the norm in this industry and that should tell you something.  Namely, that you should be prepared to hunt down a new job every year (but you won't really have to).  Some jobs, in some countries offer longer contracts.  Such jobs are not rare but they are not common either.  Though contracts tend to be year to year - many people work for numerous years at all kinds of schools.  If you do a decent job, you will usually be renewed.

It's not all that bad

The good thing about all this is that, as noted in the subheading at the top of the page, you will have to learn to create your own security and will find a deep sense of satisfaction in building your own financial world - independent of your employer(s).  You won't find yourself in the same boat as the people who worked for Enron or Worldcom, or those who relied on defined benefit retirement plans from some of the largest corporations in the world.

What to do - Where to find out more

Check out the pages of this website that discuss building a sound financial future while working in this business.  Find out about medical plans independent of the minimal plans offered by your employers.  Learn to take care of yourself - it's not a bad idea - it's a GREAT idea.


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