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

Where might you fit best in TEFL overseas?

Finding your Special TEFL Skills

Most people just grab the first TEFL job that comes their way - I certainly did.  No big deal.  But, the really smart people (I said I didn't do it, remember?) analyze their previous job experience and try to find a TEFL job related to that.  This is assuming, of course, that you enjoyed something you did in the past.

What you Know

Believe it or not, I have taught with, and taught (as a teacher-trainer) petroleum engineers, accountants, lawyers, nurses, ship's pilots, factory managers, artists, designers, social workers, journalists, travel agents, and many other people from very diverse backgrounds. 

All these people had very specialized skills that are needed in the TEFL world.  They had knowledge of specialized vocabulary, processes and procedures that schools and businesses value.  You too, probably have such skills.

The Best Way to Market Yourself

One very nice way to upgrade where you might teach, is to go and find a college, technical school or university that teaches that special skill your work history has given you. 

Wouldn't an engineering school prefer an engineer to someone with no knowledge of their field?  I know nothing of design and mathematics!  Wouldn't a nursing school prefer a nurse or medical assistant who knows the specialized vocabulary of the field and understands the stresses and pressure their students are under?   Wouldn't a large international accounting firm prefer an experienced accountant? 

If you can't find such a job at first, don't forget to keep looking.  They are out there, usually pay better - and  you will enjoy yourself more.

Other Benefits

  Other than the fact that teaching ESP (English for Special Purposes) usually pays better than teaching General English, you will also find people with whom you share similar interests and knowledge. 

Where better to find friends in your new country?

Learn More!

You'll find similar articles over at TEFL Newbie

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