Congratulations! You’ve poured blood, sweat, and tears into getting your TEFL certificate. You would like to teach abroad and might already have an idea of where you would like to go. Or you might be filled with doubts about what to do next. Either way, and anything in between, you want to make your qualifications work for you and earn some money while starting a new career. Excellent.
You might be surprised to know that your hard-earned qualifications can open a few professional doors for you. Let’s see what your options are.
- Teaching via online school platforms
Freelance teaching can give you plenty of flexibility in your everyday life. You can teach from the comfort of your own home or anywhere in the world, as long as you have a fast and reliable internet connection.
The main advantage that established online school platforms offer is that they look after the admin and legal aspects of things. With their support, you only need to focus on what you do best: teaching.
There are many different platforms to choose from. Some are age-specific, e.g., teaching only children or adults; others focus on learners from set geographical areas, like Japan, Latin America, Europe, etc.
Of course, there are other features that make these platforms different from one another. While all will make your profile available to thousands of students, some will also allocate specific students to you. Some platforms will give you the freedom to choose what topics and language points you want to teach, while others will provide you with lesson plans to follow.
It’s entirely up to you to choose which kind of platform you want to work for. You could even work for more than one. But remember that most platforms will require you to commit to a certain number of teaching hours per week or month.
Most of these platforms don’t allow you to choose your own hourly fee. In terms of pay, some online schools pay more than others, but many offer some perks and bonuses, depending on your performance and students’ feedback.
- Developing your own online teaching brand can definitely give you a sense of accomplishment like nothing else can. Perhaps it is for this reason that many are choosing a different way to earn money. But there is a lot of time and effort spent behind the scenes that often goes unnoticed and some teachers sharpen skills in English teaching.
- Become a social media butterfly. You need to have a strong social media presence to be noticed. You need to show what you can do and the quality of your work. To do this, think about giving free short sample lessons, free worksheets,
- Build your own website and social media pages. This can be a lot of fun, but it’s also very time consuminworksheet g – especially if you aren’t a tech guru.
- Cover your T&Cs. Student contracts, cancellation policies, and payment transactions are among the very important legal things that you must have in place for a smooth running of your business.
- Find and engage with students. This can often be the biggest challenge of a freelance teacher.
On top of these, you will need to design bespoke lessons for your students and deliver them. It takes a lot of time and dedication, but the result can be extremely rewarding.
- Conversation classes are probably the easiest way to make some money online or in person. Speaking is the best way to develop language skills in a foreign language and conversation classes are simple to advertise and set up, either on free online platforms or face-to-face in coffee shops.
- Posting language videos or blog articles is another way to make some money. Don’t be discouraged by the number of existing YouTube language channels and blogs. Finding your ‘niche’ would be ideal, but it’s also quite tricky. Oftentimes, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel—just look at things from a different angle and offer ideas from a different perspective to attract an audience and make some passive income.
- Selling your teaching materials is a way of making some extra cash that is becoming increasingly popular among TEFL teachers. There are a few platforms that allow teachers to upload their own lessons and worksheets and sell them at a reasonable price. So, if you have a lesson you’re particularly proud of, sell it!
- Teaching abroad in physical classrooms is the last, but not the least important, option in this list. In this case, there are many aspects to consider, from what kind of teaching approach to use to what you want to teach—general or business English? Exam preparation or academic English classes? But a crucial decision that has to be made when teaching abroad is the type of institution you want to work at.
- Private language schools seem to be the most popular employers in most countries. They are usually well equipped in terms of technology and resources, and offer a solid support network and development opportunities. However, they don’t always offer the best salaries.
- State primary and secondary schools offer a reliable and steady income and a set timetable, which is usually pretty busy. You could also work in these schools in the capacity of an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT). In this role, you would support local teachers in creating and delivering English lessons. You would also be encouraged to introduce your learners (and colleagues) to your own culture. These roles are assigned upon successful application to government-led programs and are available in countries such as Spain, France, Georgia, Chile, South Korea, and Japan. Have a look to find out about the JET Program in Japan and if it’s something you’d be interested in.
- International schools usually offer great salaries and professional development. They often prefer to hire experienced teachers, but it’s always worth a try.
- Teaching at university gives you a light timetable, excellent pay, and a great environment to work at. As you can imagine, it’s a competitive world. You should have a few years’ teaching experience, hold a bachelor’s degree as a minimum, and a TEFL qualification.
Please remember that working conditions, such as pay, holidays, bonuses and perks,
vary greatly depending on which country you choose to work in.
To sum up, you can expect your TEFL qualification to help you start a new career in teaching English as a foreign language. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to teach in-person or online, sell your teaching materials, work freelance or not. Or all of the above.