How to land your first TEFL teaching job
Passed your TEFL course and ready to get job hunting? Follow our insider tips to get started!
There are plenty of TEFL teaching positions out there, and you should feel confident of securing a teaching position in the part of the world you most desire. All you need is a little time and research to first work out where in the world you want to start your teaching adventure, and then start picking out the best jobs!
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
How do I land my first TEFL job?
You have two main options for finding that much desired TEFL teaching job; the first is to simply head to the teaching destination you wish to work in and start to network and search in-country , making sure to contact as many language schools and colleges that you can, checking local media, and online expat resources and forums.
This approach depends heavily on the country in question and is best done with a large amount of research prior to heading out, reading up local laws, customs and the cost of living, as well as being sure of visa rules and then weighing up all the pros and cons of teaching in this country. Expat forums are a great way to get past the happy, smiley, tourism sites and travel sites with commercial interests, reading up on what life is really like there, it’s also a great place to start some early networking. Even if you do plan to search for a job in-country, it doesn’t stop you to contact potential schools and employers prospectively, and pre-arranging meetings and interviews for your arrival.
Once you are sure this is the place you want to be, job searching in-country is a more certain way to find your dream position, interviewing in person, visiting the facilities and meeting the staff and potential students before confidently committing to the right job.
For those who are still not sure they want to commit to a certain country, or just feel more confident securing a job before they leave home, there are still plenty of schools and companies that will interview you over the telephone (are now commonly through skype), and offer successful candidates a guaranteed job before arriving.
This is a common route for new teachers, especially for those who are not so well travelled. Some jobs will also include free or subsidised accommodation, whilst other jobs will at least offer to greet you at the airport and help you find appropriate accommodation (you should be suspicious of those that offer no support at all!). If you are very lucky you will even find positions that will pay for your airfare, though many of these only cover the cost once you have successfully completed you contract.
There are hundreds of sites across the internet which offer to secure you a teaching job, and one should always approach each company with some caution, making sure to research the company name outside of the company site, looking for reviews (good and bad), and making sure this is the company you are happy to work for.
Once you have secured that job interview the next task is to prepare! This can be incredibly nerve-wracking, especially for new teachers who will be fearing complex questions about grammar and teaching techniques etc.. Don’t sweat it! As long as you have been honest in your application the interviewee will understand that you are still a novice (they will have most likely been in your position before), and they won’t be expecting you to come in and revolutionalise the way their institution is run! Just relax, be yourself, and be enthusiastic. The thing that they are looking for in a new teacher more than anything else is someone passionate and excited about the prospect of teaching for them, this is often something new teachers have over those more experienced!
The main thing you need to do in preparation for your interview is research; read up on the school, the courses they teach, and search their website for any information that may be useful. Showing that you have made an effort in this way will always make a good impression, and it will also be beneficial to you! Don’t forget this is also an opportunity for YOU to interview your potential employers and work out if this is the job for you.
During the interview always remember to speak clearly, especially if the interview is taking place over the phone. For phone and skype interviews it is also important to get away from any distractions. During skype interviews, just as in face to face interviews, it is essential that you dress smartly; even if the institute you are being interviewed by come across as very laid back and casual in their approach to you, making an effort to be smart and presentable will always be marked as a positive.
Here are a few common questions you may be asked during your interview. Try to prepare yourself by answering them in detail:
How would you handle a difficult group of student?
How would you get the interest of students that seem bored by a subject?
How would you teach the difference between the past simple and present perfect?
What are the three uses of the present perfect simple?
Why do you want to teach at this school?
Tell us about yourself..
As well as being prepared to answer the above questions you should also have a set of questions you would like to ask them. Some of these maybe more personal or particular to the school, and some of which can be referring to information you have already researched about the school, showing your interest in the job, as well as clearing up any point or info you are unsure about.
Asking about wages, amount of holiday, or sick pay are always best avoided for obvious reasons! Whereas question related to school policies, concepts and generally what they expect from their teachers, will always go down well.
Take the time to practise your interviewing techniques, even do a mock interview with a friend, and just relax and be yourself. Good luck!
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