Friday, June 24, 2011

Consider teaching in Asia

You may have your sights set on teaching in Europe or South America, but I would like you to consider teaching in Asia for a year or two first. Why? Quite simply, as a prospective teacher with little or no experience, you need to go where the jobs are. China and Korea have the largest need for ESL teachers. Literally thousands of teachers are needed. They are not as concerned with experience though you do need a degree. It is not so much the schools but the immigration and education departments that will not grant a visa. There are exceptions but generally you need a degree and you should have one.

In South Korea, you have to be careful where you go and which school you choose. Before accepting a position at a school, try to speak to a foreigner who already works there or used to work there. You may be able to find them through teacher forums. Most schools are fine and you should have a great teaching experience but occasionally there is a bad one.

I haven't heard of anyone who has had a bad teaching experience in China. Huge numbers of English teachers are needed at any given time.

Thailand is another country that always needs ESL teachers and I highly recommend it. (Thailand is where I taught for many years and still consult there). You just have to avoid the four southern-most provinces. In the other 72 provinces, teaching is a delight, the food is delicious and the people are wonderful and friendly.

Japan also needs ESL teachers but it can be harder to get a position. Same with Hong Kong.

Malaysia and Indonesia are also good places to teach.

Asia has many cultures for you to explore. Once you are there, think of the vacation possibilites and remember that teachers usually get more holidays than anybody! Most people don't realize how vast Asia is. Do you know it is a six-hour flight from Tokyo to Bangkok? That's like going to Europe from North America!

You need a degree (any discipline is fine) in most Asian countries though many language schools will accept you without a degree as long as you have a TESOL certficate. You may not be able to get a one-year visa and may have to do a 'border-run' every three months or so but that's another experience for you.

Don't have a degree but really want to teach? Watch for my next post!


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