5 Steps to Start Teaching English Abroad
If you’ve made it this far… congrats! You’ve decided to learn more about how to teach abroad. The choices you make next are important, as they can determine your experience teaching abroad (no pressure though). But don’t panic, we’ve broken it all down for you to make this process a little bit easier. So, before you start packing your suitcase, read these steps to get started teaching English abroad.
Step 1: Decide where you’d like to teach English
Where you choose to teach abroad might have the biggest impact on your experience. It’s great to have options, but sometimes too many is just overwhelming. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to narrow things down. First, think of a place where you’ve always wanted to go. If this is where you’re going to be living, you might as well start there! Second, think about how you want to spend your free time abroad. Do you want to spend it exploring different new cities, relaxing on the beach or hiking massive peaks? Breaking down your options will make it easier to determine which country is a good fit. Of course, you’ll have to consider the kinds of teaching positions available, but we’ll get to that next.
Step 2: Browse the teaching options in the country of your choice
As you can imagine, each country has very different kinds of teaching positions available and no two classrooms are the same. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, this kind of search might help you determine what kind of teaching position is right for you. As well as narrow down the correct location. Do you want to be a lead teacher or a teaching assistant? Do you want to work part time, or full time? Is salary a major factor? Answer these questions honestly. Teaching abroad is more than just a fun hiatus, you’re assuming an entirely new job, potentially unlike anything you’ve ever done before. So, think this all through, it will have a huge impact on your experience.
Step 3: Research, research, research
Let’s say it one more time for the people in the back. Research! You’re going to be astonished by the amount of information out there, but after following steps 1 and 2, hopefully it will feel a little less overwhelming. Some things you should be looking out for are qualifications (degrees, language experience, TEFL certification), required paperwork (Visas, work permits), salary, housing accommodations, hiring processes, and time commitments. You can start doing this by reading blogs and reviews on programs, places, and schools to teach with. It also might be helpful to consider a program provider to assist with all of these details, but it can be done alone for those who are up for the challenge!
Step 4: Decide to fly solo or with a provider
While all of this can be done on your own, a reputable program provider can be very helpful for those who would like extra assistance. There are pros and cons to both routes, but it all depends on what is best for the individual. Program providers such as CIEE, offer specific programs with a set fee that covers many of the small details that could go unnoticed for first time teachers abroad. These include visa assistance, pre-departure preparation, international insurance, connections to schools abroad, and more. However, there may not be programs available to the country of your choice. And paying for extra services may not feel necessary to all people. But for those who do find comfort in extra help, finding a reputable provider is an excellent step to take!
Step 5: Start the process early
We’ve just thrown a whole lot at you, so the last and final step is to start early. None of this process can or should be done last minute. Procrastinating and cutting corners will lead to unwanted mistake such as late visas or missing qualifications. However, with enough time and preparation, this process doesn’t have to be stressful! You’re embarking on an exciting new adventure, and although the next chapter needs a little planning, in the end it will all be worth it!
As I sit on the train on my way to my first day of school, I share some reflections on my first week as an Aux in Madrid.