One of the most common questions that we’re asked here at i-to-i is ‘Am I too old to teach English abroad?’
The simple answer is NO! First things first, and we will never get tired of saying it – you’re never too old to teach English! Let’s take a moment to appreciate some advice from Katie, a retired i-to-i TEFL teacher who has taught in both China and Vietnam:
“You’ve got EXPERIENCE! You’ve got time, you’ve got patience. I’m not saying that younger people don’t have these qualities, but you shouldn’t ever put yourself to the back of the queue, or worse still get out of the queue entirely just because of what’s on your birth certificate.”
Unfortunately it’s not plain sailing finding TEFL jobs in your later years, as some employers and visas do have age restrictions in place. Many schools will think of a younger teacher as the ‘ideal’ candidate, but we know that’s not necessarily true, so here are some tips to make sure you don’t lose out to the younger generation.
1) Sell Yourself and Your Experiences
Don’t be afraid to big yourself up. You’ve got lots of life experience which will be invaluable to you in the classroom. As an older TEFL teacher this will make you stand out from the crowd.
2) Be Confident
Confidence sells. A nervous candidate won’t come across as well as a confident one does. If you appear to be nervous about becoming a teacher due to your age, then the employer will be too.
3) Don’t Give Up
If you find that you don’t have any luck at one school, then try then next. There is a huge demand for teachers worldwide, so there are plenty more TEFL jobs in the sea. Don’t get disheartened if you don’t have much luck at the start, keep at it and it will be worth it in the end.
Don’t let this put you off though, there are loads of TEFLers of a ‘more mature’ age. Just check out this group on Chalkboard if you don’t believe us!
Stand up! Be proud of how far you’ve come in life! The amount of times we’ve seen people post things on Chalkboard like:
“I want to teach English overseas but I’m worried I’m too old”
Who is it out there giving you this impression? Tell us and we’ll go and find them for you and give them a telling off!
Stop asking yourself am i too old to TEFL? You want to teach yes? You feel capable and fit and healthy enough to live in a new country? We have three little words for you… Go Do It.