Another Older Teacher – Teaching English Abroad

Overcoming Obstacles for Older Teachers

A good topic was proposed by a teacher already working teaching English abroad:

I have been heartened by your comments on age. I’m a very young looking 60-year-old American with a degree in English Ed. After teaching for two years in Thailand I’m contemplating a move to Korea, for better teaching conditions and salaries. I plan to retire at 70. HOWEVER, what I’m finding repeated online makes my age look like a immovable roadblock; such as this I copied-and-pasted here:
“Employment by Age Preference: The Korean state government presently has a capped age limit of 45yrs for employment in the present English Program in Korea government state school scheme. Because the retirement age is 60 years any person over 60 will not qualify for a work visa.
Most employers are somewhat reluctant to employ any candidate over 45 years of age, even with good teaching qualifications.”

So… what say you?!

I’d say don’t apply for a job in the “English Program in Korea government state school scheme”.

But there are plenty of good Business English jobs in Korea where a bit of gray hair is an advantage. A few schools in Seoul specialize in Business English or in teaching adults – Pagoda is one of them – apply there.

Know also though that it might require you to go in PERSON and to do a face-to-face interview. Primarily so that they can see that you are full of energy, eager for and capable of teaching. And some employers also want to know if you are flexible and can handle feedback or criticism or if you are a defensive cranky old fart. Yeah, some of us older guys are! Not me and you though . . .

Just as a fairly standard rule – I would think that after about age 52 or so, you need to expect to do in-person interviews on the scene. Being hired from abroad does become quite difficult from that point.

BUT – by age 60 – you already know that life throws some crap at you from time to time and you only need to learn to work around it.

TED’s Tips™ #1: Older people need to look for jobs teaching English in areas related to their previous experience. That extra bit of value helps overcome ageist prejudices.

TED’s Tips™ #2: Realize as you get older you will probably need to do more face-to-face interviews to overcome ideas many people have about older teachers.


Author: Ted

Semi-retired EFL teacher/teacher-trainer working and living abroad since 1989 in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

4 thoughts on “Another Older Teacher – Teaching English Abroad”

  1. Hello Ralph,
    I am not so sure about Japan, but Saudi Arabia and China will not usually issue a working visa to someone 60 years of age or older.

  2. Hi Ann,
    Sure! Why not! There are plenty of schools that teach EFL/ESL. If you are on the scene, go on in and talk to them.

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