There are a few arguments going around about Teaching English. Some would say it’s a shite career move, others would say it’s perfect if you like to immerse yourself in another culture. This article will look at the different types of people that go into Teaching English abroad and why. Traditionally Teaching English would be viewed as an easy way to travel around the world, earn money, and then head home to start a real job. This would include the graduates and gap year students who need some extra cash. In some countries like Korea it is possible to earn decent money and also save owing to the free accommodation and cheaper living costs. From this point of view Teaching English is the best way to travel. Unfortunately what you might get is a lot of younger people who are not really bothered about teaching English but just want the cash and are focused on having fun and travelling, and quite right, but it can lead to a poor misunderstanding of what Teaching English is about. On the other hand there are a lot of Teach English jobs available at private language schools and therefore private enterprises, that of course want to make a profit for themselves, and little for you. Naturally with millions of people around the world wanting to learn English, and a lot of these schools in developing countries, they and the teacher are open to exploitation. The accusation is that you can grab a qualification over the weekend and then head over there and blag your way in, and this is true. In the countries where proper accountability and checks are yet to be put in place they will gladly put an English Teacher in there just to show a face which is really unfair for to the student. Of course as long as there are hundreds of schools around the world willing to employ teachers without qualifications, or employment practices, then of course people will not bother to get properly qualified, and the industry will have its detractors. I say industry but it’s not a formal industry that is correctly moderated.
The other problem which may even be a good thing is that no longer is Teaching English an excuse for a bit of fun. New graduates are finding that there are no longer good jobs in their western countries and are having to go abroad to get a half-decent job that pays well. Why work your arse of in a marketing company in London, working all those hours for say 25k a year, and then also pay up to £800 pounds plus expensive living costs, when you could go to the Middle-East and earn 35 – 45k a year tax free, no accommodation costs, plus cheap living costs. It’s the equivalent of 45 – 55 k a year without the workload. Even if you take in China you are still on a better wage than back home. It comes to something when the youth of our country have to fly to despotic regimes and dictator ships to get a good job that pays a wage and offers good living conditions. As more and more people get involved in English Teaching the profession will tighten itself up and better conditions will prevail. In the meantime teaching and travelling is still far greater than staying at home and struggling.
Fantastic article David and so true. I started teaching English when I was 25 with the intent to return to Canada after a year. But my move to Southeast Asia landed me into marketing work there and in the Middle East, both of which paid very well.
I’ve come back to teaching English now in my 40s by my own choice for the simple matter that there are few careers that pay decently while affording you much time and a low cost of living, for the very reasons you’ve mentioned in your post. I now work 14 hours a week, have only food and leisure to pay for, and a stress-free life. Besides the money and work/life balance, I’ve never been happier nor in better shape.
Anyone interested in a career change and open to exploring new cultures should consider a career teaching English abroad. If you’re primarily driven by income, then begin your job search in these top paying locations:
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Thanks Adil and great to hear it from someone who has more experience. I have been doing it for two years and want this as my main career, of course when I say career I mean not to much work so I can write. Cheers
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Yes, absolutely. I know several teachers well into their 40s happily teaching and working on a passion project or second income. It really is a fantastic way to accomplish your goals and get some time away from the ‘churn’.