Don’t need a degree in Thailand to teach English? Correct!
Don’t need a TEFL certification in Indonesia to teach English? Correct!
You will find these kinds of responses on discussion boards all over the internet and – yes – they are correct. But the wrong question is being asked.
The REAL question to ask is this: Can I teach English in Thailand legally without a degree? Because then the answer is NO. Can you find a job and teach illegally for a while in Thailand? Certainly.
Or Can I teach English in Indonesia legally without a TEFL certification? And again the answer is NO. Can you find a job and teach illegally in Indonesia for a short period of time? Sure!
There is a real problem out on the internet with people giving out technically correct information – but substantively bad advice.
It is true that there are many people teaching illegally in Thailand, China, Latin America and many other places, but is that how you want to start out overseas? As an outlaw? Teaching illegally? Wondering about the guy who just walked into your language school wearing a uniform that looked like he might be from immigration or the Ministry of Labour?
Do you really want to have to worry about being arrested and imprisoned in a foreign land?
Some people reason that the immigration police aren’t really interested in you and won’t want to keep you in jail and even then that your embassy will bail you out . . . But they are seriously wrong.
Your country’s embassy has no interest in helping you beat a charge for violating a country’s labor/immigration laws. And that country really doesn’t mind if you sit in their jail for a month or two or even a year while it all gets sorted out. Or even longer – no problem!
In some countries the authorities won’t mind contacting your family and asking them to empty their bank account in the hopes of getting you out of jail. It might work, it might not.
Some people seem to think that obeying the laws of other countries is an option. A game. It’s not.
TED’s Tips™ #1: While working illegally can be relatively low risk in some countries, it is better overall to ask the right questions and to make sure that you are doing everything legally – from day one.