Locations to TEFL: Teach in Dubai

There are very few places in the world that have transformed quite like Dubai. The most populated city of the United Arab Emirates, this Middle Eastern paradise definitely won’t let you down in terms of comfort, hot weather, and entertainment. So, if you’re interested in teaching English abroad, experiencing a fascinating culture, and making a good wage (almost tax free!) then Dubai could be the place for you.

Want more incentives? Here’s 5 extra reasons why you should consider teaching English in Dubai!

1.  Range of spectacular hotels

Here at i-to-i we enjoy a bit of luxury and it seems the residents and tourists of Dubai do too.  Home to the only seven star hotel in the world it would be rude to TEFL here without treating yourself to a couple of nights in a deluxe setting (and don’t worry, your TEFL wage will mean you can afford to indulge!)

If you aren’t used to working in high temperatures then it’s likely you’ll become exhausted quite quickly, so a weekend pampering yourself in one of Dubai’s premium hotels will be a great way to revitalise yourself.

Top Tip: Be sure to book your dream hotel in advance as occupancy rates are high and you don’t want to miss out.

teach in dubai

2. One of the best-placed cities on Earth

I have no doubt in saying that Dubai is situated in one of the best places on the whole planet.

It’s not far from the Equator so it’s hot, hot, hot and you’ll get plenty of sunshine. It’s also positioned in the middle of Europe and Asia, so you can fly direct to hundreds of different places, and only be in the air for 6-8 hours (give or take). So, if you’re looking to easily explore lots of different countries on your time off, and perhaps meet up with fellow TEFL teachers, you’ve picked the right place to base yourself!

The location of Dubai has also given it a great variety of environments to explore. You’ll experience a mix of white-sand beaches, bustling marinas, rolling deserts full of wild grasses and date palms, the impressive Western Al Hajar mountains, and verdant natural parks in the city itself. There’s a part of the landscape to suit everyone!

teaching english in dubai

3.  It’s a shopaholic’s dream

Ranked second in the world for shopping, ahead of the likes of Paris and Hong Kong, Dubai truly is a great place for a bit of retail therapy after a long day in the classroom. The big shopping malls offer you just about anything you could want, but there are also some great specialist malls, that concentrate on one type of product. An example of this is The Karama which has a huge array of clothing shops. If you want to fit in with the local fashion then this is where you want to be.

BONUS: Dubai offers some of the world’s best prices on premium products, from clothing to watches and even to cars! So you won’t have to part with too much of your TEFL wage!

dubai mall

4.  The active nightlife

This is one for all you party animals out there: the nightlife in Dubai is lively, wild and expanding. There is a range of bars and clubs from trendy cocktail lounges to traditional English and Irish style pubs.  A big part of teaching English abroad is getting a feel for different cultures so there are also some typical Arab places to enjoy as well. Most of the bars and clubs serve food and put on some fantastic entertainment, like pianists and singers so you can really make a night of it. Find out more about teaching English in Dubai here.

dubai nightlife

5.  The incredible sights

Underwater hotels, the world’s tallest tower and manmade islands, all in one city? That’s Dubai for you. It’s crazy to think that just a couple of centuries ago Dubai was just a very small and poor fishing village.  Now the city is considered extremely modern and is inventing things we never would have ever dreamed to be possible, like buildings that spin! (Yes, really!) If you choose to teach in Dubai you’ll definitely feel like you’re at the forefront of the technology movement and you’ll get to see all the latest gadgets first!

dubai palm

So, are you itching to get yourself to this mind blowing city to experience all of this?  Then I only have one question for you… WHAT are you waiting for?!

All you need to do to get started is get your TEFL qualification. Head to our courses webpage to find your perfect match!

Already TEFL qualified and ready to start looking for roles? Head to the LoveTEFL Jobs board for all the latest vacancies!

Top 10 Things to do in Vietnam

Thinking about teaching English in Vietnam? Good choice! With the prominence of China and the ever-popular Thailand lurking close by, Vietnam, unfortunately, often slips through the cracks. Being a TEFL teacher in Vietnam will not only open your eyes to incredible cuisine but also some of the most beautiful landscape and architecture known to (wo)man; so take a look at these top 10 things to do in Vietnam – guaranteed to keep you occupied at weekends and holidays for a long, loooong time!

1.  Hanoi

As the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi has a got a thing or two to show off! Spend time in the Old Quarter to relive traditional Vietnam, step round the corner and you’ll find remnants of French rule. Vietnam’s rich history is plain to see – with old and new sitting side by side.  Make sure to watch a traditional puppet show too at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre.

2.  Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Like a good cave? Here’s the place to go! This UNESCO World Heritage National park is home to 104 km of caves and underground rivers which makes it one of the most spectacular eco-systems in the world. Cave-tastic.

3.  Ha Long Bay

One of the most recognisable sites of Vietnam is definitely worth a visit. It looks like it should belong on a postcard.


4. Head out on an adventure to Ho Chi Minh

It’s Vietnam’s biggest city and it has everything, this is where East meets West. A fast paced lifestyle, French colonial architecture, some of the best day trips around and motorbikes (everywhere!). Check out the Cu Chi tunnels to explore an elaborate underground system used during the war.

5.  Sapa Trek

Need some fresh air? Sapa is located 1650m above sea level and is known for its stunning scenery, hill tribes, rice terraces, lush vegetation, and Fansipan, the highest peak in Vietnam. Such a location draws in plenty of tourists all wanting to trek around Vietnam’s remote northwest mountains. No harm in joining in.

6.  Street Food

The cheapest (and probably the tastiest) dinner you’ll find. If cultural immersion is your aim, then eating from street vendors is certainly one way to go about it. Obviously each region of Vietnam has different specialities, there are said to be nearly 500 traditional dishes.

If in northern Hanoi, trying Bun Cha (Grilled pork noodle soup) is a must. Likewise the Canh Chua Ca soup is a speciality of the Mekong Delta. Sweet, sour, spicy, mild, the Vietnamese cuisine has it all. Quick Vietnamese lesson: ‘Pho’ = noodle soup and ‘com’ are rice dishes.


7.  Mekong Delta Floating Markets

These floating markets along the Mekong River are the local’s way of trading great photo opportunity too.

8.  Phu Quoc Island

Mountainous and forested with magnificent white sanded beaches and quaint fishing villages

9.  Take a boat out to the stunning ‘Con Dao’ Islands

White beaches, crystal clear waters, coral reef, this collection of 15 isles, with Con Son as its biggest island, are famed for their natural beauty. 80% of the islands are part of the Con Dao National Park to protect the large collection of sea turtle nesting grounds.  Mass tourism to this area has been kept to a minimum with mainly only day trip excursions visiting the island.


10.  Hoi An

Having escaped a lot of the destruction from previous wars, Hoi An is steeped in history, known for its stunning temples and pagodas. Another popular phenomenon in Hoi An is its cooking courses. They are increasingly popular amongst Western tourists who want to learn more about Asian cuisine. Also if you want to have tailored made clothing this is the place to get your suit or frock made at bargain prices.

Tempted by Vietnam? Almost taste the noodle soup? Why not check out the Vietnam Internship?!


20 Online companies that don’t require their TEFL teachers to have a degree

Have you been thinking that you can’t teach English online without a degree? Well, think again! There are tons of online TEFL companies that do not require their TEFL teachers to have a degree. To prove it, we’ve pulled together a list of the best 20 companies/platforms, to make it easier for you to get started teaching English online!

1. Berlitz

Berlitz is a well-established global language company. Alongside its in-person classes, Berlitz now also delivers virtual lessons to students from across the world.

Pay: $8-$15+ per hour.

Minimum hours: 5 hours per week.

Technical requirements: PC / laptop, strong internet connection and webcam.

Other requirements: To work for Berlitz you must be a native English speaker with previous teaching experience. We would also recommend that you get a TEFL Diploma first, to make sure you’re prepared for online classes.


2. Cambly

Cambly is an app-based platform, where you chat to students from across the world (they have students from over 190 countries!) via your phone or tablet.

Pay: $10 per hour on average but you’re actually paid per minute you chat.

Minimum hours: No minimum or maximum hours – you set your own schedule.

Technical requirements: Smartphone / tablet, strong internet connection, webcam and headset.

Other requirements: The only essential requirement for Cambly is fluent English but we would recommend getting a TEFL qualification first, to make sure your students get the most from your classes and keep coming back!


3. Classgap

Classgap matches up tutors with students from all over the world, with lessons being delivered via the platform’s virtual classroom.

Pay: You set your own rates and then Classgap take a commission. Classgap states that you can earn $1,200+ per month – but realistically it will take some time for newbie teachers to get up to this level.

Minimum hours: You set your own hours and availability.

Technical requirements: Laptop, PC or tablet with a webcam and microphone plus Google Chrome to connect to the teaching platform.

Other requirements: None stated – but you will get reviews from students that are added to your profile, so the better job you do, the easier you’ll find it to build up your student list. How do you do this? Get TEFL qualified first.


4. Fiverr

Fiverr is an online marketplace for freelancers to offer services to customers worldwide. Once you’re signed up to Fiverr, you can list your online teaching services and students will contact you directly to book lessons.

Pay: You set your own rates. Fiverr deducts their commission from your payment, so make sure you build this into your rates.

Minimum hours: It’s up to you what hours you work – you agree lessons direct with your students.

Technical requirements: No specific requirements to join the platform but, to teach English online, you’ll need a laptop, PC or tablet with a microphone, webcam and strong internet connection.

Other requirements: As Fiverr is a generic freelancer marketplace, there are no specific requirements for TEFL teachers but the more qualifications and experience you can offer, the more likely you are to attract students. Get TEFL qualified first to boost your appeal.


5. Engoo

Engoo offer English lessons to students from all over the world via their own video lesson style platform, that students can access on their smartphone/tablet or PC/laptop. Their system allows students to search and book lessons with available tutors.

Pay: Up to $10 per hour.

Minimum hours: None specified.

Technical requirements: PC/laptop, high-speed internet connection, webcam and headset.

Other requirements: To work for Engoo you must be fluent in English. We would also recommend that you get a TEFL Diploma first, to make sure you’re prepared for online classes and to help you stand out from the crowd.

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6. Eigox

Eigox offers one-to-one English lessons via their online teaching platform to a wide range of ages and levels of students, who are mainly based in Japan.

Pay: Up to $10 per hour plus incentives – native English speakers are generally paid at a higher rate than non-native English tutors.

Minimum hours: No minimum hours – you open up your schedule for the slots you’re available to teach.

Technical requirements: Laptop / PC, high-speed internet connection, webcam and headset.

Other requirements: To work for Engoo you must be aged 18 or older and proficient in English (although we reckon that last part’s fairly obvious!) Want to access the higher rates? We’d recommend you get TEFL qualified first then!


7. Learn Light

Learn Light is a global language company, delivering both in-person and online language lessons across the world.

Pay: $12-$14 per hour.

Minimum hours: 10 hours per week ­– unlike most online TEFL companies, you need to commit to a fixed schedule for a minimum of a year.

Technical requirements: Laptop / PC, headset, webcam, minimum of 10Mbps Internet connection.

Other requirements: To teach with LearnLight, you need a TEFL qualification and at least two years’ teaching experience. You’ll have an even better chance of being picked if you also have a business background and speak a second language!


8. Lingoda

Lingoda delivers one-to-one and small group language lessons to adult students from across the world via Zoom.

Pay: Varies, based on qualifications and experience but expect around $8-$13 per hour.

Minimum hours: No minimum hours but Lingoda states that, on average, tutors work 5 to 20 hours per week.

Technical requirements: PC / laptop that can run Zoom, high speed internet connection, webcam and a high quality headset.

Other requirements: For Lingoda, you need C2 or above level of English, a TEFL certificate and 2 years of teaching experience.


9. Native Camp

Native Camp is a Japanese company that employers TEFL teachers worldwide to teach English to Japanese students.

Pay: Based on performance, with bonuses available if you hit targets.

Minimum hours: You can work when you choose – there are no minimum hours.

Technical requirements: PC / laptop that can run Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, strong internet connection (minimum 2Mpbs upload and download), headset with microphone and a webcam.

Other requirements: You must be at least 18 years old and score of a minimum of 70% in an English Proficiency Test, on your first attempt, to be able to teach at Native Camp. Teaching experience is also highly desirable. Want to access the higher rates and retain students? To do this, we’d recommend you get TEFL qualified first.


10. Open English

Open English is one of the most established online platforms in Latin America. It offers both group and one-to-one lessons for adults and young learners across the continent.

Pay: $10-$15 per hour

Minimum hours: 10 hours per week.

Technical requirements: PC / laptop with a strong internet connection (speed check is included in the application process), webcam, and microphone.

Other requirements: A TEFL certificate and teaching experience are both required, and you need to pass a grammar test as part of the application process. Preference is given to teachers that can speak Spanish and those that have a North American accent.

How to teach English guide

11. Pop on

Pop on are another app-based platform. They offer short sessions (3 to 15 minutes) of either English tutoring or conversational practice, known as Chat Pals.

Pay: You set your own rates, which can be anything between $1 to $60 per hour – realistically, new English tutors will start towards the lower end of that scale and build up.

Minimum hours: None specified but each session lasts between 3 to 15 minutes.

Technical requirements: Smartphone plus strong internet connection.

Other requirements: To work for Pop On you must be a native or near native English speaker who is good at engaging students in conversation. To access the higher rates and retain students, we’d also recommend you get TEFL qualified first.


12. SkimaTalk

SkimaTalk, a Japanese company, offers one-to-one, 25-minute English language lessons via Skype. Students pick a tutor from those available and leave reviews to help other students make their selection.

Pay: You set your own rate. SkimaTalk takes a 20% commission of what you earn, so bear this in mind when you’re deciding on your price.

Minimum hours: You set your own schedule.

Technical requirements: PC / laptop, Google Chrome (recommended for compatibility with Skima Talk), Skype, good internet connection, webcam and microphone.

Other requirements: To work for SkimaTalk you must be aged 18 or over and be a native English speaker from the UK, USA, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or Australia. No experience is required but your lessons will be rated by students and you must have a consistently good score to remain on the site, so it’s best to get TEFL qualified first.


13. Twenix

Twenix offers 26-minute online one-to-one English conversation classes for adults in Spain and Italy. You can work as much or as little as you choose by simply opening slots in your schedule and the system matches you with students. Plus, Twenix supplies all lesson materials, requiring minimal preparation and no homework grading. It’s ideal for both full-time and part-time work.

Pay: Up to $15 per hour

Minimum hours: You set your own schedule and hours, there are no minimum requirements.

Technical requirements: Any device with a webcam and microphone i.e. PC / laptop, good internet connection.

Other requirements: You’ll need a fluent level of English and registration as a freelancer in your country of residence. Other that that, no experience, degree or TEFL certificate is required (although a TEFL certificate is preferred).


14. TUEX

TUEX is a Canadian multi-language app-based marketplace. Tutors set up a profile to showcase what they offer, and students can then search for tutors and request to book lessons.

Pay: You set your own rates.

Minimum hours: You set your own schedule and arrange lessons with students at a time that works for you both.

Technical requirements: Smartphone / tablet, internet connection and a webcam.

Other requirements: TUEX checks applications to ensure tutors have suitable qualifications and identification. Students will then book tutors based on your profile – so the more relevant qualifications and experience you have, the better your chance of getting bookings. Getting a TEFL qualification is one way to improve your application.



15. Tutlo

Tutlo offers structured, one-to-one English language lessons for both adults and children. Tutlo has its own curriculum and provides tutors with lesson plans prior to each lesson.

Pay: Up to $11 per hour

Minimum hours: None specified.

Technical requirements: PC / laptop, strong internet connection (5Mbps upload and download), webcam and headset.

Other requirements: Tutlo prefers native English speakers from the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, or South Africa – although they do say that non-native English speakers can apply. You must also have at least six months’ teaching experience and a TEFL certificate.

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16. Preply

Preply began as a platform for tutors to help students with SAT prep. In more recent years, they’ve evolved to offer different types of lessons, to all ages, in nearly 50 languages! So, if you’re not a native-English speaker, you can teach both your native language and English to students.

Pay: You set your own rates.

Minimum hours: You set your own schedule.

Technical requirements: PC / laptop, internet connection, and webcam.

Other requirements: High fluency in English (obviously) and it helps if you have teaching experience, as this will increase the likelihood of attracting students to your profile. If you don’t have any experience, having a TEFL qualification could also help your profile to stand out.


17. UpWork

UpWork is a global freelancing marketplace for all types of services, including online English tutoring. You set up a free profile to market your services and attract students.

Pay: You set your own rates. UpWork takes a service fee, so make sure you take account of this when setting your prices.

Minimum hours: You set your own hours and agree the schedule directly with your students.

Technical requirements: PC / laptop, reliable internet connection and a webcam.

Other requirements: As a generic freelancer platform, UpWork doesn’t have any specific requirements for TEFL teachers but you’ll have a better chance of attracting students if you have a TEFL qualification and teaching experience.


18. Verbal Planet

Verbal Planet offers one-to-one lessons via Skype with native speakers in a range of languages, including English. You can register for free and create a profile on their marketplace. Students then book lessons direct with you.

Pay: You set your own rate of pay and get to keep 100% of what you charge.

Minimum hours: You set your own schedule. Students can book in at times you show you’re available.

Technical requirements: PC / laptop, Skype, reliable internet connection, microphone and a webcam.

Other requirements: You have to submit your profile for approval – you’ll normally need to have a TEFL qualification, excellent English skills and some teaching experience to be approved.


19. Verbling

Verbling offers one-to-one language lessons, including English, to students worldwide via Verbling’s own live video chat platform. You can teach from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a suitable device and good internet connection.

Pay: You set your own rates.

Minimum hours: No minimum hours required – but you’re likely to increase your profile and attract more students if you open a decent number of teaching slots.

Technical requirements: PC / laptop that can run Google Chrome, strong internet connection, webcam and a headset.

Other requirements: You must have some teaching experience to work for Verbling. You will also normally need to be a native English speaker and have a TEFL certificate.


20. VivaLing

VivaLing is an online language platform delivering customised one-to-one lessons via video conferencing for both adults and children aged three years old and up. VivaLing have a more in-depth onboarding process than many of the other online language platforms with 2 to 4 weeks of training followed by 2 to 4 weeks of teaching practice before you become a fully-fledged coach.

Pay: Initial pay rate is based on your application and experience but is usually between $13 to $20 per hour. This can then be increased during regular reviews.

Minimum hours: At least 12 hours across four days per week. You must be available during after school hours / weekends in European time zones.

Technical requirements: High quality PC / laptop (4GB RAM or higher, and at least 2 GHz processor), strong internet connection (minimum 1.2 Mbps upload and download speed), webcam, and headset.

Other requirements: To teach English for VivaLing, you must be a native English speaker with a TEFL certificate and have at least two years’ teaching experience.

Study guide


Need to get TEFL qualified before you start your job applications? We can help you there! Check out our great range of TEFL courses and kickstart your online TEFL journey. Need more advice? Arrange for a free call back and one of our TEFL Experts will be happy to speak to you. You can also take our quick course matching quiz, to find out which TEFL course is your perfect fit.

How to Teach Mixed Ability Classes

You’ve got a student, let’s call them student A, who has finished the worksheet before you’ve even had chance to finish handing it round to the entire class. And then there’s another student, student B, at the back, who isn’t even sure how to tackle it at all.  Not an ideal situation, right? Unfortunately, it sometimes happens and it can be a worry for all TEFL teachers (not just new ones). So, what do you do?  Do you leave student A to sit there and twiddle their thumbs whilst the rest of the class catches up, or move on and leave poor old student B to keep their fingers crossed and hope for the best? Neither seems great, right?

Never fear! It’s all a bit of a balancing act but there are ways to manage situations like these, and you might even find that you enjoy teaching mixed ability classes by the end of it!

Find our 5 Top Tips for managing mixed ability classes below:

1.  Structure your lessons so that activities have more open-ended possibilities

For example, put your class into small groups and suggest an activity such as ‘write as many sentences about X, in X amount of time’.  This will mean that all groups will be able to contribute to the best of their ability without feeling either inadequate or under-challenged.

2.  Create ongoing activities

As there will be students who finish their work ahead of the rest of the class, why not create ongoing individual projects for students to resume once they’ve completed all set tasks?  This is a great way to avoid exasperated sighs and ‘this is far too easy’ glares. E.g. get students to keep a journal.

Teach English Abroad Guide

3.  Use level-specific material

If the ability levels between students are very distinct, then you can include adaptations to your exercises to make them suit both levels, providing a harder and an easier option. Make sure you don’t make this distinction obvious however, as the student receiving the easier activity is likely to lose confidence in their abilities, if it’s made clear to the whole class that they aren’t at the level of the highest performing student.

4.  Communicate equally with the whole class

Remember when you were in school (yep, for some of us that was a while ago now…) and your teachers picked the same students again and again? Felt kind of irritating, didn’t it? Make sure not to make this mistake in your teaching. Rotate the people you call on and treat every student as an individual. You can also make sure they all know their contribution to the lesson is valued, by praising each student often. Remember the ratio 1:5, for every 1 negative thing you say, you need to counteract it with 5 positives.

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5. Use positive pair-work

Pairing up weaker and a stronger student for activities will allow the two to communicate and help each other in a less public environment. The stronger student will feel like they have more responsibility and the weaker student will receive one-to-one help.  However, never (never, never) make it obvious this is why you are doing the pair work. Be sensitive to students feelings and discreet.


Teaching mixed ability classes might feel like a minefield initially, but armed with these 5 Top Tips you’ll be breezing through it in no time, and teaching these types of classes will do wonders for your teaching skills.  Not only does teaching different levels of ability keep you finely tuned-in to your students’ needs, it also provides you with a great opportunity to be more creative in the classroom.  Plus, think how satisfying it will feel to know you’ve kept everyone busy/challenged/happy!

One best teacher award coming your way!

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Still need to get qualified but aren’t sure which course to pick? Arrange for a free call back with one of our TEFL experts, and they can help you out!

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Already qualified and ready to start looking for your perfect TEFL role? Head to the LoveTEFL Jobs Board, where lots of the latest TEFL vacancies are advertised!

5 Classroom Warmers Every TEFL Teacher Should Know

Starting a lesson with a simple, fun speaking activity (also known as a ‘warmer’) creates a great buzz that will last for the whole class.  When your students arrive, they may not have spoken a single word of English for a week, and so they’ll probably be nervous.  Your job is to make them relaxed and comfortable speaking English again in a positive environment; and a great way to achieve this is by planning an effective warmer.  If you’re not sure what an effective warmer looks like, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered…

First off – Rules of thumb for a great warmer:

• Get students talking to students in pairs, in groups, or mingling and changing partners/groups. (The teacher talking to one student at a time is not a warmer!)

• Make sure the language is familiar – we’re not teaching anything new here!

• Don’t correct students, as it will inhibit them

• Think of ways to include physical movement

• Make it fun!

Here are 5 warmers every TEFL teacher should know.  Feel free to use them as they are, or create your own variations. They’ll work with almost any level of ability – if your class is very high or very low ability, you can adjust to make the language more complicated or simpler, as required.

1. True/False Game

1)  Ask students to write down three statements about themselves: two true and one false. (You can do an example for yourself – don’t make the false one too obvious!)
2)  Students mingle, and tell each other their three statements.  The others have to guess which are true and which one is false.
3)  Finally ask students to share things they found out with the whole class.

2. Picture Mingle

1)  Each student draws three things in their life on a post-it (e.g. their house, dog, and a neighbour).
2)  Get students to stick the post-it to their front or their arm.
3)  Play some music.  Students dance around the room.
4)  When the music stops they ask the person nearest them about their pictures.
5)  Play the music again and repeat several times.

3. Hot Seat

1)  Put the students into small teams.
2)  One person from each group sits with their back to the whiteboard.
3)  The teacher writes a word they’ve recently learned on the whiteboard.
4)  The rest of the group, who are facing the whiteboard, then have to describe the word to the person with their back turned, without saying the word.  This student then has to guess what they think it is.
5)  The person who guesses correctly wins a point for their team. They stay in the seat out the front, and the others have to swap with another team member.

(Variation: The students with their backs to the whiteboard ask their teams yes/no questions to work out the word.)

4. Line-Up

1)   Ask the whole class, ‘How long does it take you to get to school?’. Elicit several answers.
2)  Tell the students to line up against the wall, from the shortest time taken at one end, to the longest time taken at the other (students will need to mingle and ask each other to work this out).
3)  Once the students are lined up, divide them into pairs.  Ask them to talk about a related topic (e.g. what happened on the way to school?)
4)  Repeat the line-up with a different question.

(This works with any question that will let you sequence students: ‘When’s your birthday?’, ‘How long have you been in the UK?’ etc. It has to be something they need to ask each other to be able to do – it doesn’t work, for example, with height!)

5. Find Someone Who…

You’ll need to prepare a set of ten ‘find someone who’ questions (preferably related to one topic), and make a copy for each student. For example:

Find someone who:
… has met a celebrity__________
… has been on TV or radio __________
… has sung in front of a large group __________

1)  Do an example on the whiteboard. Elicit the questions students need to ask (e.g. ‘Have you ever met a celebrity?’).
2)  Students mingle and ask each other the questions.  If someone says ‘yes’, they should write the person’s name on the line (there should be a different name on each line).  They can ask for more detail but don’t need to write this down.
3)  Finally, ask the class to share something interesting they’ve learnt about someone.

For more warmer ideas, have a look at our Essential TEFL book, which contains over 300 warmers and activities – perfect if you need a bit of inspiration!

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Teaching English in Saudi Arabia as a Female

Few countries in the world today offer such riches and rewards for English teachers as Saudi Arabia. With excellent salary packages and high standards of living, Saudi Arabia, at the heart of the Middle East, offers foreign teachers the ideal opportunity to experience true Arabic culture and Islamic traditions, exploring the large, modern cities, bustling markets and bazaars, rich, glorious coastline or living out amongst the small desert towns, surrounded by miles upon miles of the mystical Sahara desert.

Whilst many new teachers are sold on the rich potential and rewards of Saudi Arabia, many female TEFL teachers can be hesitant, or completely put off by the idea of teaching in the region, due to laws and attitudes towards women, but that really doesn’t need to be the case.

What’s life like for women in Saudi Arabia?

All foreign teachers, no matter their background, beliefs or culture, will be expected to respect and comply with local laws and customs in Saudi Arabia. All female teachers in Saudi Arabia are expected to not only be aware of the customs, but to incorporate them into their daily routines, with very few exceptions. But, while Saudi Arabia can be a very male dominated society, it is also a safe one for females living here, as communities are built upon strong bonds of interdependence, and ultimately respect between the sexes.

There aren’t as many challenges and restrictions as there used to be (women are now allowed to drive themselves) but there are still some to be aware of. It is generally not acceptable for women to talk to men in public, and all women, foreign and national, are expected to use a male guardian when mediating (you should discuss with your employer who will act in this role for you, before you arrive in-country). Whilst this may seem very alien to new expatriates, a guardian is someone who not only mediates ideas and conversation, but who traditionally offers help, advice and support, especially with regards to travel, education and employment.

Among the social laws and expectations for foreign teachers in Saudi Arabia, all women are currently required to wear an abaya; a loose over-garment which covers the head and length of the body, occasionally also covering the face (the look and style of the abaya depends on the region). Social segregation is also very important, and many shops, restaurants, cafes and other social locations will have designated areas for women, that are set apart from male-only and family areas. Education centres are also either all female and all male, with female teachers only being allowed to teach female students, and male students only taught by male teachers.

What is the housing like for female teachers in Saudi Arabia?

Most foreign English teachers in Saudi Arabia will be provided with housing, and expected to reside in a group compound. Benefits to this will usually include lots of shopping and entertainment options, as well as all travel provided. In such compounds, western laws and customs usually apply, so foreign teachers are usually not required to use or need a guardian. Compounds are typically very comfortable, even luxurious, with all the finest facilities one could expect back home, and more, including gyms, pools, saunas and lots of tech, communication and sports facilities. Within these compounds foreign teachers will have excellent opportunities to socialize with fellow westerners. Though outside these compounds female teachers will be expected to live wholly by local laws and expectation, they are given far more freedom and liberation within the large living complexes.

Other things to consider

Alcohol is prohibited, so don’t expect to find any bars or clubs. If you’re looking for entertainment, however, is a popular past-time and Saudi Arabia is filled with modern malls and concept shopping centres, rivalling any western city for it’s quality and standards of shopping emporiums. The only difference you’ll find from western malls is an absence of changing rooms within stores, as women are forbidden from changing in public buildings.

While some of the rules and expectations may seem difficult to live by from a distance, few female TEFL teachers fail to adapt to Saudi life, with most finding a country beautifully rich with religion and family orientated life. Those looking for a taste of western culture often make trips crossing the border into Bahrain, which is far more tolerant and relaxed regarding foreign cultures, and has bars, clubs and lots of opportunity for socializing.

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5 Ways to get your TEFL students ready to learn

You’re the teacher. So, this means your students will hang onto your every word as soon as you walk through the door. Right?

Hmm… well… we don’t want to scare you but… (whisper it quickly) they might not.

True, TEFL teachers rarely have to deal with the sorts of behaviour issues you might find in a UK classroom, but it takes more than simply writing your name on the board to get your students’ undivided attention!

Rather than crossing your fingers and hoping that the standing-at-the-front-and-trying-to-feel-brave technique will magically work, let’s take a more practical approach. So, how do you get learners ready for a lesson? Here are our top five ways of getting your TEFL students ready to listen and learn!

classroom 2

1. First impressions count

Here’s a question for you. If you walked into a classroom, what would make you more excited?

Option 1: Rows of desks, a board full of writing and the teacher slouched over her phone.

Option 2: Chairs in a circle around a table filled with different types of food plus a teacher welcoming you in at the door.

We would go with option 2. You?

It doesn’t take much to make a TEFL lesson seem more appealing! Try putting pictures or keywords up on the wall. Bring along a few everyday objects as props. Even setting out chairs in a different format makes the room look more intriguing. Oh, and go with your friendliest smile! It really does help.

After all, if you’ve got your students’ attention in a positive way, before you even open your mouth, you’re off to a great start.


2. Warm up the lesson

The scene-setting worked. Your students look interested. Now what?

Bring up the energy levels with a quick TEFL warmer! We find a short, fun activity that gets students speaking in English, and getting rid of any excess energy with movement, works best.

For example, tell students to find someone else in the room who has seen the same film / been out at the weekend / done their homework (complete as appropriate!). Or why not ask the class to line up in order based on the length of time it took them to get to school that morning – speaking only in English to work it out.

It’s amazing how quickly a fun game can transform even the most bored of teenagers into relaxed, engaged students. Or, to put it another way, a class that is ready to learn.

Want some more TEFL warmer activity ideas? Check out our 5 warmers every TEFL teacher should know blog post for some great ones.


3. Keep it positive

The ratio should be 1:5, so for every 1 negative statement you make, you need to balance it out with 5 positive ones, to keep the overall classroom environment positive and learner friendly.

It’s scary speaking out loud in front of your peers. Particularly when you don’t really understand the sounds you are making – let alone the order they should be in.

And a scared student is much less likely to learn.

Your job, as a TEFL teacher, is to make the environment positive and make each student feel confident enough to open his or her mouth.

Give lots of positive feedback. Use simple, clear words to explain activities. Include pair and small group tasks to make the lesson less intimidating. Make sure your lessons are both fun and challenging. And then give even more positive feedback.

If students understand what they are doing, enjoy themselves and aren’t scared to make mistakes, they are far more likely to want to learn!

TEFL students in classroom ready to learn

4. Make it personal

Here’s another question for you. Would you pay more attention if a lesson was about your favourite song or some abstract grammar rule?

You don’t really need to answer that one!

One of the best ways to make your students eager to learn is to find out about their interests and create lessons based on them.

Of course, you can’t always play everyone’s top music choice. But you can get students to talk about their holiday plans or debate how much social media will change over the next three years or imagine what will happen now that their country has scored that winning goal.

All far more likely to get them racing back for their next class than telling them to practice the future continuous tense!


5. Be prepared

Make it your mantra: prepare, prepare, prepare.

Boring as it might sound, the best way to make sure your class runs smoothly is a well-constructed lesson plan packed full of different types of activities that will appeal to your students. Top this off with an organised classroom, where your teaching materials are ready to grab when you need them, and you’ve got a great chance that your lesson will go well.

Say it again: prepare, prepare, prepare.

If you don’t believe us, think back to your own school days. Whose lessons did you turn up to expecting to learn? The teacher who fumbled around looking for the worksheet and spent the first five minutes of every lesson telling you the same thing that he had droned on about the week before? Or the organised one who expected you to arrive on time with your books out ready – because she would do the same?

Enough said.

Need more tips on lesson planning to feel prepared? Check out our Lesson Planning short course, that will take you through everything you need to know.

Just so you know, we may have put this tip last, but it’s actually our most important one! If you expect your students to be ready to learn, you need to be ready to teach them. When you are, you might just find yourself standing in front of a class, with all your students looking back at you in awe. Well, it could happen!

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Want to learn even more and get started on your own teaching adventure? It all starts with completing a TEFL course! Check out our range of amazing courses and kickstart your TEFL journey today!

Need some advice on which course to pick? Arrange a free call back with one of our TEFL experts, who will be happy to help.

Already TEFL qualified and want some advice on finding teaching roles abroad or online? Then contact our jobs support team, who know everything there is to know about finding a great TEFL role!

TEFL vs CELTA: which course to choose?

So, you want to teach English? Great choice! TEFL is the best way to teach, travel and explore as well as change lives. But, which course should you choose – CELTA or TEFL?

What is a TEFL course?

A TEFL course is a generic term for any course in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. There’s heaps of TEFL courses out there ranging from basic introductions to advanced diplomas. So, you’ve got plenty of options to choose from – amazing!

The minimum requirement to teach English online or abroad is a 120-hour TEFL certification. You can get this through various providers but you might want to do some research before you buy!

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What is CELTA?

A CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages or Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults as it was formerly known) is a specific brand of the 120 -hour TEFL certificate course. It’s the most widely recognised teaching certificate out there which is probably why you’ve heard of it!

CELTAs are part of the Cambridge Assessment in English, a highly respected TEFL provider.

Should I do a CELTA?

CELTA courses are both rigorous and well- known which is why they’re appealing to teachers and employers. If you’re looking to teach in a native English speaking country, schools might ask for you to have a CELTA qualification. But, the CELTA name comes with a big price tag attached. On average, CELTA courses cost around £1,000 – £2,000. Whereas other TEFL providers cost around £250 – £500 for similar content.

CELTA courses often have fixed start and end dates which doesn’t leave much room for flexibility. So, if you’re looking to become qualified whilst studying or working this can be pretty tricky! Plus, you need to be over the age of 18 and have a formal educational qualification (like a degree) before you can apply.

Will other types of TEFL courses get me a job?

Of course! The minimum requirement to teach English online or overseas is a 120-hour teaching certification. Employers tend to look for candidates who have studied with an accredited and regulated provider – like us! This means that they’re looking for good quality certifications rather than specific brands.

You don’t need to have studied a CELTA to land a top TEFL job so, don’t be afraid to look at other avenues! Not only do they cost a fraction of the price but they also offer more flexibility – amazing!

To help you stand out from the crowd, pick a course that:

  • Takes longer than 120-hours – Studying a longer TEFL course like our Level 5 180-hour TEFL certification or our Level 5 300-hour TEFL diploma will give your CV a well-deserved boost. This means that you’ll gain access to some of the biggest and best TEFL jobs around. Plus, you’ll earn some of the highest teaching wages!
  • Is accredited and regulated – Companies tend to employ candidates who have studied with an accredited and regulated provider. This means that their certificate is of the highest quality possible as it’s been approved by recognised bodies such as Ofqual.
  • Teaches you practical TEFL skills – Ideally, you want to look for a provider that offers online and in-person training. This can be pretty tricky with ongoing lockdown restrictions, but it’s not completely impossible. The best TEFL providers are ones that offer Practical Classroom Courses so you can put your TEFL skills to the test.
  • Has good reviews – You know a TEFL provider is good if it has outstanding reviews. So, make sure you do your research. If previous students are happy with the course content and delivery, you know you’re in safe hands!

World TEFL Guide

Should I choose CELTA or TEFL?

It’s completely up to you!

CELTA is great if you want to teach English long-term or in a native-English speaking country but it’s by no means necessary! You can still gain access to some of the hottest teaching jobs around with just a TEFL certification- yay!

Need help?

If you’re struggling to decide and need some extra info, feel free to get in touch with our team! Our friendly experts are on hand to give you the support, guidance, and advice you need.

Good luck and happy TEFLing!

5 Reasons to Become a TEFL Teacher in 2021

As 2020 draws to a close (what a year that has been), you may be reflecting on your life and what you want to do differently in 2021. Here at i-to-i, we believe that life should be an exciting adventure. If you feel stuck a rut, perhaps you aren’t enjoying your job, or you don’t currently feel fulfilled, then taking a TEFL Course could be the answer you are searching for. Traveling the world, earning money, living in exotic countries, changing the lives of many… Sign us up! Keep on reading for our top 5 reasons why you should become a TEFL teacher in 2021!

1. Escape reality

Dreaming of freedom? Want to explore new cultures? Excited by the prospect of meeting new people?… There are so many reasons why you may want to move abroad. Getting qualified to TEFL opens up the world to you. Whether you want to settle down in China. Or, maybe you just want to do some travelling for a few years and earn some extra money at the same time. With your TEFL certificate to hand, anything is a possibility. The world is your oyster. China, Vietnam, Italy… wherever takes your fancy – there are tons of TEFL jobs out there for you.

Woman sat on boat in Thailand


2. Change the lives of others

If you have to work, then you might as well enjoy it, right? Many people train to become a TEFL teacher because of the satisfaction the job role brings. You will literally be changing the lives of students all around the world. Inspiring, right?

Whether you are teaching English online, or abroad in a classroom, you set the rules. You can decide how to teach your students, so you have the freedom to inject as much fun into the lessons as you would like. Of course, you need to remain professional and patient. But learning is supposed to be fun!

3. Make money

Although many TEFL teachers pursue this career because they feel full of satisfaction by helping and teaching others, we can’t ignore the fact that teaching English online or abroad can bring in a healthy amount of money each month!

If you choose to teach English online, you have a few options. You could choose to freelance, where you will be setting your own rates (anything from $15 an hour and up!). Or, you could choose to work for an online company, where you can still earn a decent wage. Check out our blog post to find out what salaries different online companies pay. You could also take our quick 2 minute quiz to find out how much you could earn teaching English online!

If you are looking to travel the world and teach abroad, your salary will vary depending on the country you decide to teach in. Our World TEFL Guide is full to the brim of information, including how much you could expect to earn.

World TEFL Guide

4.  Learn your own language

It probably seems a while ago since you were at school learning your own language. Hands up if you can actually remember the difference between a pronoun, conjunctions and interjections?! Don’t panic if you don’t know what these are. When you are studying for your TEFL certification, you will be taught everything you need to know about teaching the English language. So, when the time comes around that you are teaching your own class, you will be a complete whizz!

5. Realise who you are and what’s important

When we speak to our TEFL graduates, the feedback we often get is that becoming a TEFL teacher will help you realise who you are and what’s important. One of our TEFL graduates, Baz, who has been a TEFL teacher for several years, shares his story.

“I wanted to escape England, travel the world, and live the dream. But it was during this adventure that I realised what is really important in life: I’ve always been close to family, but it’s not until you have to live alone, especially through tough times and family occasions like Christmas, that you realise what you have.  One of the best moments of my trip was when my parents and sister came out to visit me in Thailand – it was a proud moment seeing them in my class with my students!  There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about them all back in England.  It’s hard being away, but it makes the times when we’re together more special, ahh!

When I first set out on the TEFL adventure I never would have guessed that becoming a TEFL teacher would lead me to my wife.  I’m settled here in Seville now and happily married.  I often miss those crazy days I had on the road, but that was just a small part of the TEFL journey that I’m on.”

Feeling inspired? Chat to one of our TEFL experts who can give you all of the information you need to kick-start your TEFL journey and make 2021 the best year yet.


Top 5 female travel bloggers

Bucket List Journey

After overcoming extreme anxiety, Annette White now says “yes” to opportunities even when fear is screaming out “no”. She combines running an Italian restaurant with a dedication to living her bucket list. She’s kayaked with beluga whales in Mantioba, fed swimming pigs in the Bahamas, hiked an active volcano in Guatamala – and even made a fleeting appearance in a Bollywood movie.

She says: “As an obsessed new experience collector, my passion is for checking the world off my bucket list one adventure at a time.”

Fact file:

Blog: https://bucketlistjourney.net

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bucketlistjrny (40.5k followers)

Intstagram: https://www.instagram.com/bucketlistjourney/ (90.6k followers)

woman blogging

The Shooting Star

At the age of 23, Shivya North quit corporate life to travel the world. Seven years later, she’s hitch-hiked along Romania’s northern countryside, lived with a Mayan community in Guatemala, swum with black tip sharks on Malaysia’s east coast and much, much more. Read her Shooting Star blog and be inspired to step out of your comfort zone.

She says: “The thing about solo travel is, you can never feel 100% ready. There will always be a tiny voice at the back of your head asking, ‘Are you crazy?’”

Fact file:

Blog: www.-the-shooting-star.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shivya (26.4k followers)

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shivya/ (47.9k followers)

Be My Travel Muse

Since 2012 Kirstin Addis has dedicated her life to adventuring solo around the globe – from hitchhiking across China, to hiking for two months in Patagonia to becoming a Buddhist nun (well, for 10 days). Her practical advice, images, experiences and tips are designed to awaken your wanderlust and help you experience more as you travel.

She says: Be my travel muse is “a travel blog geared towards the adventurous, cultural experience-seeking, off the beaten path-loving traveler.”

Fact file:

Blog: https://www.bemytravelmuse.com/blog/

Twitter followers: https://twitter.com/bemytravelmuse (36k followers)

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bemytravelmuse/ (113k followers)

friends taking a selfie

Keep Calm and Travel

Clelia Mattana has been travelling and enthusing people of all ages and budgets across the world for the past six years. With a strong desire to inspire people to do what they really want, her writing is a blend of travel, practical advice and motivating talk to help ensure you never give up on your dreams.

She says: “Life is too short to wait for the right moment”

Fact file:

Blog: www.keepcalmandtravel.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KeepCalmkle (13.5k followers)

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cleliakeepcalm/ (59.5k followers)

The Blonde Abroad

Kiersten left a career in corporate finance to become a world traveller, experience new cultures and support non-profit organisations. She’s now travelled to more than 50 countries, with Jordan, Thailand and Bolivia topping her list. She wants her blog to inspire you to live a life you love and settle for nothing less than extraordinary.

She says: “You are never too old, too busy, or too blonde to pause what you’re doing and take some time to follow your dreams”

Fact file:

Blog: https://theblondeabroad.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/theblondeabroad (28.5k followers)

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theblondeabroad/ (491k followers)

woman taking photo

And a few more …

There’s so many fantastic and inspirational female travel bloggers out there, it’s almost impossible to narrow it down to a top 5. Here’s a few extra that didn’t quite make our list – but we wished we could squeeze in!

Going somewhere slowly: http://www.goingsomewhereslowly.com

Lose the map: http://www.losethemap.com

Girl tweets world: https://www.girltweetsworld.com

Solo traveler: https://www.solotravelerworld.com

Find Us

i-to-i TEFL
4th Floor, Wilson House, Lorne Park Road,
Bournemouth, England, BH1 1JN,
United Kingdom

i-to-i TEFL is a part of Teach and Travel Group Ltd.
Registered Company No. 7935847.