Request a Topic

This blog is worth nothing if it doesn’t answer questions that are important to your decision making.

Request a specific topic of interest to you or that you think helps address the issues others in your position may have.  All are welcome.  I will get to them and address each – as soon as possible.

Use the comments box below to get it started . . .

72 Comments

  • By abdelwaheb, September 7, 2009 @ 6:40 PM

    Hi Iwill will be so grateful to you if u help me with some data about course design and evaluation in tefl. Best regards

    Abdelwaheb

  • By Ted, September 8, 2009 @ 6:27 AM

    Hi Abdelwheb,

    Send me an eMail at Ted @ TEFLnewbie.com with some details of what you are trying to do and I will see if I can provide some guidance. You might also want to take a look at http://www.TEFLteacherTraining.com/blog/ for additional help.

    Ted

  • By Margaret, September 20, 2009 @ 6:02 PM

    Hi Ted, perhaps some advice on how to deal with non cooperative students? For example if students persist on using their own language in class?

  • By Ted, September 21, 2009 @ 9:35 AM

    A Good resource to read is the article on Student Motivation over at TEFL Teacher Training
    Take a look and tell me if that might help a bit.

  • By JK, November 24, 2009 @ 11:22 AM

    Thinking about Korea, Japan, or Taiwan. I have a wife and a young daughter. We both have MAs. Can we pull this off? Can we both teach? What about safety for my daughter? Will the family change the accomadations/expenses and, thus, the money matters? Do you know of any similar situations? Any advice, really. Thanks.

  • By Ted, November 24, 2009 @ 11:35 AM

    Hi JK,

    Korea is a better/easier environment for a newbie and with your MAs both of you can probably move up to a university position rather quickly (my wife and I both did – both of us have graduate degrees).
    It would be worth your while to get some sort of TEFL certification even if just an online course before you go.
    Your daughter’s safety? She is SAFER in Japan and Korea than in America. By far. And probably safer in Taiwan too.
    The whole package is a difficult issue to address briefly – so how about sending me an email at ted @ TEFLeBooks.com and we can do a bit of back and forth on it.

  • By eric, February 1, 2010 @ 5:27 PM

    I have been looking into teaching abroad in some of the asian countries i don’t have a degree i’d like to know what countries are best for a african american to teach were wil be more accepted.

  • By Ted, February 2, 2010 @ 7:58 AM

    Hello Fatrock,
    Without a degree your options are extremely limited to begin with, especially in Asia where a degree is required almost everywhere. The two best options for people without degrees are Cambodia and Indonesia. Indonesia is relatively liberal in terms of hiring a variety of ethnic groups but has a strong preference for British English and accent AND requires a TEFL certification. Cambodia is also okay, but while a TEFL certification is not always required, you will need something to boost your possibilities.
    A good weblog to take a look at that might be able to provide better guidance than I can is here: http://theblackeslteacher.blogspot.com/ That site has been around a while and is reputable.

  • By Rachel, February 27, 2010 @ 12:35 AM

    Hi Ted,
    I’m about to begin an MA program in Latin American studies in the US, and am also thinking about teaching English abroad at some point. My university (Indiana University) has a certificate program in EFL/ESL. It consists of 5 graduate courses, but they’re online. It seems like these certificate programs through university schools of education are becoming more common.

    The advantage to doing this through the university would be that the courses would be paid for through my assistantship. However, I’m not sure how they would compare to an internationally recognized TEFL certificate, and it’s probably a disadvantage that they’re online. What is your opinion on this type of certificate compared to other types of certification?

    Thank you!
    Rachel

  • By Ted, February 27, 2010 @ 3:30 PM

    Hi Rachel,
    Distance courses are slowly gaining in popularity. And, most people would agree that some training is better than no training. People who object to online certification programs are usually concerned that there is not an observed teaching practice component of the program and if you can get that someone – you can counter the objection. Otherwise – also take a four week regular certification program.
    I have a masters degree in education, PGCE in TEFL and had had experience teaching (not English) before going abroad. I still found a good TEFL program helpful – though with the deeper levels learned in my graduate program I could also see its limitations and work around them.
    “My Take?” – somehow get observed teaching practice in one form or another. If you get it somehow in the online course, just be sure to note it on your resume. Also, something from a regular university often will not even note that it was an online course so the issue may never come up.

  • By Karen Mezouane, March 3, 2010 @ 12:57 AM

    I’m 63 and have a Masters in Education in TESOL. I’ve taught at the local community college for the past 10 years part-time evenings while holding a FT job. I’ve taught beginning through Advanced ESL and TOEFL Prep. I’m wanting to know what countries are best for an energetic, healthy, 63-yr old female? I also know French and German. thanx!

  • By Ted, March 3, 2010 @ 9:54 AM

    Hi Karen,
    Us older folks need to depend more on two strategies for seeking employment. We need to apply for jobs in person, so people KNOW we are healthy, energetic and positive (some of us older guys get a bit cranky). And, we need to seek employment further off the beaten track. It is a real problem in my opinion and so many schools turn away so much talent and it is the students who lose out. My strategy if I was looking for a job right now? I’d go in person to Phnom Phen and hit all the universities. Or, deep into China, or rural almost anywhere where the young and restless don’t want to go. I like a quieter life they days anyway – so rural suits me just fine.
    Not the perfect answer, but one that does work!
    Enjoy!
    Ted

  • By Jay, March 28, 2010 @ 8:57 PM

    Hi Ted,

    I recently thought about going grad school to get a degree in applied linguistics with a concentration in ESL/TEFL. I’m still paying for my anthropology undergrad degree and really dont want to get into more debt. Is it better to have a masters when trying to teach overseas or will a undergrad degree be ok? Or is it better to get a degree in education then apply to jobs overseas? FYI- glad you have this site!

  • By Ted, March 29, 2010 @ 4:12 AM

    Hi Jay,
    Bottom line, having the graduate degree before you head out abroad is always better, but not everybody has the time or money. And as you indicate, you have some debt and don’t want more. Can’t blame you! Going abroad with a bachelors degree is okay too. There are lots of good jobs, but do be sure to pick up TEFL Certification either in-class or online before you go. That TEFL Cert will make you much more competitive for the better jobs than than the people with no experience and no specialized training and only a degree. As this is the “Request a Topic” section I will address this issue in an upcoming post. Thanks for the idea!
    Enjoy!
    Ted

  • By Jay, March 30, 2010 @ 6:57 AM

    Thanks, Ted. I have looked at the Oxford Seminar TEFL certification classes because they offer in-class sessions in my city. Do you know if they are they reputable?

  • By Ted, March 30, 2010 @ 7:59 AM

    Hi Jay,
    Most organizations are reputable. You might want to check out who your teacher trainers will be. Some schools hire relatively inexperienced and under-qualified instructors. http://www.TEFLprogram.com can give you some tips on what to look for in a school and instructor. My bias as a semi-retired teacher trainer is that your teacher should have a graduate degree in education/TESOL/something related and/or a Post Graduate Certification in TEFL (a DELTA would be okay too) and should have taught for at least 5-8 years in at least two countries. More than half of what you learn in a TEFL Classroom comes from the experience of your teachers/instructors. Very little experience and little formal education means you will get the standard curriculum, but not much more.

  • By Jason, June 1, 2010 @ 12:59 PM

    Hello Ted! First I would like to commend you on your site. I have found so much valuable information here. The one question I have is about teflbootcamp.com. Is this a reputable tefl site? I can’t afford a course at my local college at the moment so, I think an online course is my best bet.I will be teaching in China if that helps. My girlfreind lives in China and she says this is all I need to teach English. What are your suggestions? I’m so excited to begin this journey. Thanks for all your help!

  • By Ted, June 2, 2010 @ 9:02 AM

    Yes! TEFL Boot Camp is a member of the College of Teachers in the UK and of the ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching for Foreign Languages) – see the FAQ page and also the footer on any page of the website.
    TEFL Boot Camp is perfect for China. The cost is low, the content is what you need. My bias? I am the Academic Director for TEFL Boot Camp.
    Let me know if you have more questions, happy to help if I can.
    Go get ‘em!
    Ted

  • By Kate, July 6, 2010 @ 2:50 AM

    Hi Ted,

    I’ve spent only 30 minutes browsing your site and it seems like a great resource – thanks!

    I’ve just graduated from university and I am a single parent. I’d love to teach English overseas and I think it would be a fantastic experience for my young son as well. I am a little concerned about his education and childcare in a foreign country though. Do you have any information on how difficult it would be to enrol him in school and find reputable childcare? I don’t have a very strong preference as to which country to teach in – my priority is making this big change as easy as possible for the kiddo.

    Any information you might have would be much appreciated!

  • By Ted, July 6, 2010 @ 8:31 AM

    Hi Kate,
    I am going to make your question a post – but as it won’t be online for several weeks, I will answer your question via email. Enjoy!
    Ted

  • By PL, November 29, 2010 @ 7:03 AM

    Hello, I have a sort of specific question but I thought I’d ask anyway, I am currently certified to teach in Ontario Canada with an additional course to teach ESL (just course work). I do not however have any paid teaching experience. Basically I’m just interested to know how my opportunities would compare with someone who has a random degree and a TEFL course. Thanks for the info you’ve provided on the site.

  • By Ted, December 1, 2010 @ 9:32 AM

    Hello Kara,
    Some employers will give you good credit for being an experienced teacher in your home country, some won’t. Teaching English as a Foreign Language is – to some degree – a different animal than regular teaching, thus employers who are looking for a TEFL Certification, for example, will not usually be very flexible about it. Most foreigners are not familiar with transcripts or course records, so unless you got a certificate for your course in teaching ESL – they probably would not consider it equivalent to a regular TEFL course.
    I hope that helps!
    Ted

  • By Ryan, January 18, 2011 @ 4:43 PM

    Hi Ted

    im currently traveling through south east asia and am looking to do an in-class TEFL course in the near future, ideally in China. There’s so many TEFL schools online im finding it hard to know which are reputable and accredited. Do you know of any good TEFL schools in China? or from your other blogs it seems as if Korea maybe offers more, so would a TEFL course maybe more beneficial there? Any response would be brilliant. Thanks for all the great info on the site too.

  • By Ted, January 19, 2011 @ 11:15 AM

    It is usually best to take your in-classroom TEFL course in the country in which you intend to land your first TEFL job. They will usually have the connections for local jobs, sometimes will have employers dropping by for hire teachers and usually know the best way to make sure you meet the standards employers are requiring. So . . . what course is best for you? It depends on where you want to teach.
    I hope that helps.
    Ted

  • By Alexandra, March 29, 2011 @ 11:12 AM

    Hi Ted ! This might be a weird question but one thing that I have been wondering is if I should straighten my hair for my resume picture. I am mixed, although you couldn’t tell with my skin, and have extremely curly hair. My hair doesn’t look bad or anything it’s just often times curly hair can be looked at as “crazy” or “wild”. This may not seem like something that employers actually look at but I know from experience that it is. So what do you think? Thanks in advance.

  • By Ted, March 29, 2011 @ 11:48 AM

    Hello Alexandra,
    Your question is not so weird. It is good that you take an analytical look at things and try to find the best path. Sometimes the fine line between making the cut for a job and not making it can be pretty subjective, especially in many countries where just about any kind of discrimination is legal. I can’t tell you what is best for you, but I certainly – when applying for a job – minimize anything about my appearance that could distract an employer from finding out that I could just be the best teacher they ever hired. That means I usually cut off my beard for photo shot and leave it off for the interview and it slowly drifts back . . . It also means that – since I am “mature” in age – that I have the picture “photoshopped” to take a few wrinkles/years away.
    I wouldn’t suggest doing anything that so dramatically changes your appearance that your employer won’t recognize you on the job, but anything you can do to tilt things in your favor – do it. If you have a goal, do everything reasonable to make it happen. My beard is not so important to me that I would give up the potential of a job I really wanted. People who get all self-righteous on such things often minimize the possibilities in their lives.
    You sound more than smart enough to decide what will work best for you!
    Go get ‘em!
    Ted

  • By Amber, April 1, 2011 @ 5:07 AM

    Hi Ted!
    I want to start by saying THANK YOU for your website! It’s fantastic and has helped me a lot so far. I was just wondering how to get started with the TEFL program and if there is an organization or something that I have to talk to, to help get me a job, or if I have to find them on my own. If you do it on your own, where do you look for the jobs?
    Thanks again,
    Amber

  • By Ted, April 1, 2011 @ 7:53 AM

    Hi Amber,
    I think your questions are SO good that I will make them a post on the blog if you don’t mind. Almost everyone has to pass through the state you are asking about, so it would be useful for everyone. I will write that blog and post it within a few hours. Please feel free to ask more questions if need be.
    Enjoy!
    Ted

  • By Stella, May 16, 2011 @ 11:07 AM

    Hi Ted,

    Firstly thanks for running such a wonderfully simple and honest site – it’s a great source of information. I wanted to seek your advice;

    My partner and I are both living and working in New Zealand on working holiday Visas, about to turn 30 soon and are currently looking very seriously into the prospect of embarking on a 1 year of TEFL in Taiwan. I am British, have a BA in Geography and 6 years of commercial business background, but am looking for long term change from the 9 hours a day office grind of the corporate world. My partner is an Environmental Sciences grad from the USA, who has spent the last 2 years volunteering in Fiji for the Peace Corps on environmental projects. He is now looking for a job where we can both work in the same location, but where he can build up some savings again after a pretty long stint making very little on a subsistence volunteers income overseas from the US government.

    From what I have read there seems to be a realistic prospect of saving money doing TEFL in Taiwan? Both of us have travelled a lot, have adventurous and very outdoorsy natures, and are both very keen on surfing (which we have read is apparently very good in some parts of Taiwan). We’ve therefore been looking into the prospect of working in some of townships and regions along the East Coast, (where we could maybe get to the beaches for surfing at the weekends!).

    My questions for you would be;

    Are our aspirations of saving money in Taiwan realistic? If so, are there any approximate figures or links you could provide as a guideline to what we could expect to bank each month? I had read in a few adverts that the expected figure was around $100,000 but coming from the UK still sounds maybe a bit low. Please could you advise?

    Which of the schools in Taiwan would you recommend to two ‘newbies’ who have not yet taken any TEFL training? The only one that has really grabbed our attention throught it’s adverts so far is the HESS School – do you know is this a well-managed organization? Can you recommend any more?

    Is there any information on TEFL work in the East Coast regions of the country? Hazards to be aware of? Issues or scam to alert two new prospective teachers on?

    Do many companies in Taiwan cover flights and extra benefit costs?

    Any advice in any of these areas, or tips from others who have taught in Taiwan before on the best way to get started would be very gratefully received.

    Many thanks and all the best.

    Stella

  • By Ted, May 16, 2011 @ 3:17 PM

    Hello Stella,
    Thank you for your kind comments. They are welcome!
    I last worked in Taiwan about 14-15 years ago, so I am not really up to date on the scene there. Hess had a good reputation at the time. It is probably not a bad place to start.
    When you think about wages, you also need to realize that taxes in most of Asia are much much lower than in your home country. Also – is your accommodation included in a job or not? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Airfare? There are good schools and bad schools, but I wouldn’t worry too much about scams. Anything that sounds too good to be true – probably is.
    If you really want to save money – Korea is probably better as you definitely get airfare, an annual gratuity/pension payment and accommodation. Plus the cost of living is probably lower. BUT – I have to say that I quite liked Taiwan, it is a beautiful country. Be sure to get a car or motorbike so you can get out in the countryside. AND – yes – the east coast is simply spectacular – incredible scenery and should be a worldwide famous destination. Just no one knows about it. Send me an email if you want to chat more – I too am a former Peace Corps Volunteer (89-91) and will be happy to help if I can.
    Ted

  • By mnvg01410, June 1, 2011 @ 3:15 AM

    Greetings Ted,

    I am a single parent interested in teaching english overseas! My daughter in 1yrs. old!I am certified to teach in Georgia and I am looking for an opportunity to add something really great to my resume!What is child care like overseas? Which area may be more conducive to a young child? Please give me any infromation you can to help! Looking forward to your response. Thanks a bunch!

  • By Ted, June 2, 2011 @ 8:27 AM

    Hello hail2princess . . .
    You should probably have a good read of my response to a similar question just a few days back. Read it HERE.
    You might contact or sign up at ISS.edu for international school placement. You are far more likely to have success going that route.
    Ted

  • By Chelsea Pulley, June 3, 2011 @ 7:49 AM

    I want to teach English in South Korea next year. Some jobs will pay all health insurance costs, and others will only pay 50%. I have no idea how expensive health insurance is in South Korea, though, and I want to make sure I am making the right decision. Do you have any idea?

  • By Ted, June 3, 2011 @ 8:10 AM

    Hi Chelsea,
    I have no idea what half of a health insurance policy in Korea will cost but having taught there twice for a total of six years – I know it is not expensive. The American health care system is seriously broken and you will be more than surprised – probably shocked – by the good care you can get at very very low prices (and I say this as an American – I KNOW it is broken!). Take the best job that you can find and don’t worry too much about the health insurance premium. It won’t be significant in the big picture. Health care in much of the world is very reasonably priced and often superior to what you are getting right now. Just my opinion.
    I hope that helps!
    Ted

  • By Esafe, June 28, 2011 @ 8:34 AM

    Hi ted, I have a bachelors degree in linguistics and was wondering if it would be worthwhile adding a tefl certificate to my resume. How recognized are linguistic degrees in the tefl industry? look forward to your reply, thanks.

  • By Ted, June 28, 2011 @ 12:39 PM

    Hello Esafe,
    A TEFL certification would help you almost everywhere. While schools probably should recognize the value and relevance of your linguistics degree, not all school will even know what it is. I hope that helps!
    Ted

  • By Lianna, July 14, 2011 @ 9:27 PM

    Dear Ted
    I feel so lucky to have found your blog today! I’ve recently started thinking of teaching abroad and I’ve found your posts very helpful.

    I’m a single parent living in my 40s living in the UK, and I’m thinking of teaching abroad (possibly Eastern Europe) in four years time once my youngest child has gone away to university. Before that happens I want to get a TEFL qualification and (as I’ve never done any teaching before) hopefully some experience via volunteering in my vacation time. I already have a degree in mathematics.

    My question is: is it possibly to earn a living doing this? Will I be paid enough (and get enough work) to have a reasonable standard of living? I know that it will very much depend on the school and the country, but are there full-time posts available?

    I am nervous of the prospect of giving up my job to do this as I don’t have any other income to fall back on, and so naturally the issue of whether I’ll earn enough to live on is very important to me.

    Thanks for your help!

  • By Ted, July 14, 2011 @ 9:36 PM

    Hello Lianna,
    You can certainly earn a living teaching English. There are plenty of good full time jobs. But how much you earn will be very dependent the country in which you intend to teach. With a degree in mathematics, you might look into teaching maths at a quasi-international or bilingual school where they teach it in English. First tier international schools would want you to have a degree in education and probably some experience, but the second and third tier schools would probably be delighted to have you and it would likely pay better than teaching English. If you want to save money, head to Korea. East Europe tends to pay poorly.
    I hope that helps.
    Ted

  • By Hilary, July 19, 2011 @ 7:56 AM

    Hi Ted,

    Your blog is soo helpful! Thank you! I am planning to go aborad with my boyfriend and our good friend to tech ESL in SE Asia. We want to go so we can experience other cultures, travel, work with kids, have fun, save some money, escape the depressing state of the US economy and teach! I’m not sure any of us are interested in making teaching a career but we all have experience tutoring and find it to be rewarding, challenging and fun! We are planning on doing it for a year but who knows what the future holds.

    You seem to make a very strong case for getting some training before going abroad to teach (i.e. a TEFL certificate). I was wondering if you could give me some different training options that you think would suffice. I am having trouble finding TEFL cert programs in my price range and that work with my schedule (I have a full time 9-5 office job right now in San Diego, CA). Can you point me to some reasonable/legitamate online TEFL programs? Is a TEFL cert program the only form of training that you reccomend or are there other options? I don’t want to dissapoint my future students!

  • By Ted, July 19, 2011 @ 9:59 AM

    Hi Hilary,
    I am a fan of TEFL Boot Camp/TEFL Educator – but fair warning . . . I am the Academic Director there. Most online programs are fine. If you want to teach in Thailand or Indonesia though, I would recommend that you take an in-classroom course in that respective country. Otherwise you are fine. China will accept anything, but does require a certification. They tend to provide a fair amount of support, as does Korea – who does not require any training at all – but a cert would help you compete better and you would be more ready to step into a classroom.
    I hope that helps.
    Ted

  • By Meg, September 1, 2011 @ 9:12 PM

    Hi Ted,

    I’d really like to teach english over in western Europe next year. Since Europe seems to require in-class TEFL certification, which is very expensive and time-consuming, I’m wondering when I can start looking for a job. Can I start applying for jobs before I complete the class or will schools ignore my resume? Do you know of any programs that offer to secure a position for you at the end of the class? I’m just afraid to make the large financial commitment to this class if I won’t be able to secure a position in the end. Do you have any advice?

    Thanks for your great blogs and continued advice!

  • By Ted, September 2, 2011 @ 4:11 PM

    Hello Meg,
    Employers don’t tend to take you seriously until you have the certificate in your hands. Often it is needed for your working papers or appropriate visa. Europe will prefer to hire EU citizens as teachers as people from other places (like the USA) will require expensive and time consuming work permits. The employer will have to prove that she can not find an EU citizen to take the job. But as the UK and Ireland have high unemployment – there are likely plenty of teachers to take those jobs. Sorry – I should be more encouraging, but that’s the way it is.
    Ted

  • By Nicky, October 22, 2011 @ 9:16 PM

    Hi,
    I’m a freshman in college and I’ve wanted to tefl since I discovered it. I’m wondering if english teachers will still be needed as much in 4-5 years?
    Thanks,
    Nicky

  • By Ted, October 23, 2011 @ 5:38 AM

    Hi Nicky,
    The British Council did a study some years ago that said, “YES” – demand will continue to grow and will be huge. See our blog page here that reports on their study: http://www.teflnewbie.com/is-there-a-future-for-you-in-teaching-english-abroad/
    I hope that helps.
    Ted

  • By Andy, November 16, 2011 @ 5:35 AM

    Hi all, I have two questions. I’d love to teach in Asia or Latin America, have a 4 yr History/PoliSci degree and teaching abroad exp. but also 2 DUI’s. Which countries can I still hope to get a decent paying job in? Also, should I invest a few hundred bucks and a little time to get an online TEFL certification? I’ve heard everything from they’re totally worthless to they’re equitable with in-class instruction, neither of which I fully buy…

  • By Ted, November 16, 2011 @ 6:17 AM

    Hello Andy,
    Typically if DUIs are far in the past they are not a problem. Also – many countries do not request a records check, so check those places too. You are correct about online TEFL training – like most things the real situation is somewhere in the middle of the extreme comments on both sides. Certainly if you can afford the US$1500-2500 for an inclassroom course, that is the best option. But not everyone can afford 4-6 weeks room and board plus the course tuition. Online training is a good compromise. Certainly if you intend to teach for many years, get an in-classroom course. But if you just want to get your feet wet and see what it is all about, an online course is an economical way to get some exposure and see if you like it or not.
    I hope that helps!
    Ted

  • By Maninder Singh, November 26, 2011 @ 1:32 AM

    Hi Ted
    I am from India and in first year of my college. i want to do TEFL but and teach abroad, but one thing i need to know is do i need a university degree to teach in thailand with a TEFL course?

  • By Ted, November 27, 2011 @ 12:16 PM

    Hello Maninder,
    To the best of my knowledge you will need a degree AND a TEFL certificate to work legally in Thailand. I believe that some schools will tell you that you don’t need a degree to “find a job” in Thailand and they are correct. You can find a job and work in Thailand without a degree, but you will soon have to leave as you will not have the appropriate visa and working papers that will allow you to stay.
    I hope that helps.
    Ted

  • By Bri, November 29, 2011 @ 7:49 AM

    Hi Ted! Love your site! I am 35 years old and finally going back to school. I got accepted to a California state school for a social work bachelor’s degree. I have an A.A. in Behaviorial Science. But after reading some websites on TESL it seems that linguistics is the preferred major, and it does interest me somewhat. Do you think it may be a good idea to change my major? I’m also considering doing an online program, so I can start teaching in China or Cambodia.But I couldn’t find one based out of California in linguistics. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Ted!!

  • By Ted, November 29, 2011 @ 8:58 AM

    Hello Bri,
    You have a good idea if you want to get started right away. Just don’t forget to keep studying until your reach your educational goal. If you are looking for a good “distance” program (what degree programs are more likely to be called than “online” – you don’t need to limit your search to California. There are several excellent schools in Australia and in the UK – that are usually a fair bit cheaper than US schools. I can recommend anything specific, but just do a good search and you will likely find many. Best to pick on that actually has a physical location somewhere and ideally where you must go at least once to take an exam. The very few places that do not accept distance programs these days tend to do so as they can not be sure it was you who did the work as you never went to the school. If the school requires your presence for an exam or final exams to graduate – then usually that objection is dropped. I earned a PGCE by distance from the UK and the one employer who every challenged it (there won’t be more than a handful) only wanted to be sure that I was the guy who did the work. It might seem strange, but I once shared an office with a guy who – for several years – earned a good living in S. America by taking examinations for other people. Thus the concern!
    I hope that helps.
    Ted

  • By edward, December 6, 2011 @ 4:21 AM

    I have a BS in Management and a MS in Administration. I have not taken a ESL course yet and am trying to decide between TEFL and CELTA. How do my degrees stack up and what is your recommendation on course type? thanks.

  • By Ted, December 6, 2011 @ 5:36 AM

    Hi Edward,
    With your education you should probably start at a college or university. Often these jobs want some previous experience, so China or somewhere that will let you start on that path with no experience is a good idea. TEFL or CELTA? In most of the world it doesn’t matter. People who sell the CELTA or took it would like to convince you that nothing else is useful. But China, Korea, Japan and even Thailand – the world’s four largest EFL markets – will accept either. Your power is in your graduate degree. It does the heavy lifting for landing the job you want. A certification just helps you get the method and will make you a better teacher. In some places you can even teach business classes in English. Enjoy!
    Ted

  • By Dave, February 17, 2012 @ 10:27 AM

    Hi Ted,

    I am 55 years old and the kids have flown the coop, leaving me in the enviable position of being able to travel and experience other cultures and hopefully put something back. I have recently finished an MA in Visual Culture (2011). In addition to which I have a BA in Media Design(1st class Hons)and a degree in Photography. My teaching qualifications give me Associate Teaching Status (CTLLS) and I am enrolled on a CELTA course which starts after Easter. My current teaching practise is two days a week teaching Creative IT on a non-validated course. Furthermore, I have taken every opportunity to Teach or act as an Arts Facilitator over the past seven years, which was the time it took to accrue the listed qualifications. Any advice on where to go and what type institution I should be pitching at would be most welcome. Or should I hang around cold and dreary Blighty for another year and pick up Full Teaching Status via a PGCE. Though to do this and as indicated in my introduction, age is not on my side. Thanks Ted.

  • By Ted, February 19, 2012 @ 6:29 PM

    Hi Dave,

    A PGCE is nice, but probably a majority of schools that might be interested in hiring you would not really know what it is (I have one too) and would ask to see your TEFL certification. If it was me, I’d get to work as soon as you finish your certification. Your age is going to be a bit of a hindrance and will only become more so, thus the sooner you get out here and start working and building a relevant CV, the better you will do. BUT, I’d probably also try to go ahead and get that PGCE, possibly through a good distance program, while you are teaching at your first job. It can only help. Go get ‘em! Ted

  • By Dave, February 20, 2012 @ 4:47 AM

    Hi Ted, Thanks for the advice. Advice that I intend to follow, and if all things go to plan I should be out there come September. Just one further thing, would you advise that I look at the Colleges and Universities in China and try and bring my academic qualifications into play? Or is the career route through the language schools?

    Ultimately I would like to work for one of the International schools possible in Malaysia. But I feel that for the moment my lack of teaching experience would prohibit my entry. For me to realise this goal, and as you say, I need first to start working and building a relevant CV.

    Any further advice would be much appreciated.

    Dave.

  • By Ted, February 20, 2012 @ 5:55 AM

    Hi Dave,
    You are absolutely right. The university/college track is the best path for you. Language schools tend to want younger teachers and universities like a bit of gray hair. The academic settings will also value your educational qualifications more than a language school. For some help read this blog post Ageism in TEFL Sounds like you are on the right track. Good luck!
    Ted

  • By Mark, February 23, 2012 @ 10:58 AM

    Hi Ted,

    I’m under 30, a native speaker of English (somewhat embarrassingly, it’s my only language), have finished my entire primary-secondary education in a British school, finished my communication degree from an Australian University last year, am currently learning Japanese and have a yearning to live and teach English in Japan. Sounds great right?

    My problem is, I am ethnically Chinese, and am a resident of Malaysia (hey, that’s where Dave wants to work!), where although English is an official language, it is not *the* official language. We have JET but it’s very token, and the embassy says that Japan hasn’t asked for any positions from here for years.

    What do you think my chances of actually getting a job there are? Do you think my Asian looks will be a problem, or my nationality? I had considered Korea as well, but apparently the door is completely shut on that one if you’re not from one of the ‘western’ nations.

    I forgot to add that I’m seriously considering completing a CELTA course, and wondering if that would improve my chances any? (being a commonwealth country, the British Council offers fairly full services including CELTA)

    Thanks!

  • By Ted, February 23, 2012 @ 11:28 AM

    Hi Mark,
    The problem you are facing is very common and usually I suggest that you interview on the scene to overcome the issue. Several reasons: First the interview will have a more difficult time saying “NO” face to face; second, they will know you are a fluent speaker and won’t have to wonder about it and; third, you might well arrive just when they really need someone (hiring from overseas takes a long time to get someone on board and there is a drop out rate of people who never arrive of 10-20%). You might also take a look at university type positions and or international schools. Both are more focused on credentials and less on the ethnicity of the applicant. Will a CELTA help you? Probably a little bit. Take every advantage you can.
    I hope that helps.
    Ted

  • By Desiree, February 28, 2012 @ 3:21 PM

    Hi Ted, just came across your site & I just wanted to say thanks for the informative & honest advice. It’s also great to see that your posts are fresh as a lot of other sites haven’t posted in years, which leaves you questioning the validity of their advice.
    I have a question for you (& you’re probably going to roll your eyes because it’s a totally newbie question that has been asked numerous times, but I’m looking for up-to-date answers):
    I am 33, female & living in South Africa. I am looking to do a TEFL course & teach English in an Asian country. I don’t have a degree however, but I do have 13 years of work experience spanning 3 industries.
    In your opinion, how likely am I to get a good job teaching English &/or do you think it is probable that I can successfully approach companies in those industries (or specialised training institutes in those fields)?

  • By Ted, February 28, 2012 @ 3:30 PM

    Hello Desiree,
    Sorry for the slow response to your comment, especially after your kind words! In China you an probably land a decent job without a degree. Cambodia also. Teaching in a specialized (or ESP) area is always a good idea, but often those employers will want you to also have a little bit of teaching experience first. Though not always! Chase after both. One thing about TEFL is never say never. Almost anything is possible.
    I hope that helps.
    Ted

  • By Kristin, March 8, 2012 @ 4:39 PM

    Hi Ted,

    One thing I was not able to find an answer to, is how to go about having a significant other go with you abroad. I’m in the process of finishing a BA, and would like to teach abroad when I finish. My boyfriend does not have a degree and is not able to work towards one due to complicated financial issues. We’ve been together for four years, and we’ve discussed marriage, but aren’t in a big rush to get married. Given that he doesn’t have a degree, although he is interested in teaching as well, would we have to get married for him to be able to accompany me if he cannot find work? I’m most interested in teaching in either Japan or Korea. I know the likelihood of him being able to get a teaching job in Japan is pretty much nil, but what about Korea? Also, I have ADD and take generic Ritalin. How easy is it to find this sort of medication in Asia?

  • By Ted, March 8, 2012 @ 4:40 PM

    Hello Kristin,
    Taking a partner (to whom you are not married) with you is difficult or impossible if they do not qualify for some sort of employment and/or visa in the country where you are going. Both Japan and Korea are going to want a degree to obtain legal working papers as a teacher. There are sometimes special programs for people who have a two-year degree. The medication? I don’t know you might check on various expatriate discussion boards and ask them if your meds are available or not.
    Ted

  • By Wayne, March 17, 2012 @ 12:23 AM

    Hi Everyone,
    I am a primary school teacher and am planning on taking a Tefl course during the summer prior to hopefully living and working in Thailand or Vietnam. My question is, which course provider do I go for? There is so much choice, how do I know which are good and which are not?

  • By Ted, March 18, 2012 @ 5:55 AM

    Hi Wayne,
    Most course providers are fine. Your best option is to take your TEFL training in the country and/or even in the very city and area where you wish to find employment. If you do that, the school will likely have local contacts to help you find a job right away. A good school will often even have employers dropping by looking for newly trained teachers. An additional bonus is that you would be doing your observed teaching practice with students similar to those you would work with on the job – so you will already be familiar with their common pronunciation and grammar errors.
    Good luck!
    Ted

  • By Melissa Tamati, April 22, 2012 @ 1:43 PM

    Hi Ted,

    I am from New Zealand and am about to graduate with a Bachelor of Education (Primary). I have also just completed a Global TESOL certificate.
    I am only 21, fresh out of university, but I have high hopes :) I am really wanting to teach in the UAE. Not just the money, but also the culture and atmosphere appeal to me.
    My question is, am I being realistic? I realise alot of jobs require experience, but I believe a lot of determination and passion can balance this out. Do you have any advice to offer on this matter?

    Also, I’m really enjoying your site! There is some really valuable inforation.

    Thanks :)

  • By Ted, April 23, 2012 @ 12:49 PM

    Hello Melissa,
    Most TEFL jobs in the Middle East – UAE included – prefer a couple of years of experience. Another option would be international schools located there, but they too, tend to prefer experience. It doesn’t hurt to try though and if you don’t have much luck, try a couple years in Korea or China before you head to the UAE.
    Ted

  • By matt, May 6, 2012 @ 7:41 AM

    Hi Ted,

    I have a tesol certificate but no degree. Could you list some countries that will accept me?

    Thanks!

  • By Ted, May 6, 2012 @ 8:34 AM

    Hello Matt,
    Cambodia is your best bet and China a close second. Go get ‘em!
    Ted

  • By Laura, May 11, 2012 @ 10:00 AM

    Ted–

    Great stuff! I have been doing a lot of research about teaching abroad and I love the advice and information you give on your website. I was hoping you could help out just a little…I am 22, have my BA with 1 year of non-teaching work expirence. I am ready to teach abroad–I’d hop on a plane tomorrow if I could!

    Given my age, education, and lack of tefl certificate, it seems from my research that my best bet would be to go to South Korea. I would love to get certified in South Korea before I teach, but I am a bit confused about what I need to do visa-wise, and how I’ll get one once I’m there. Also, do you have any recommendations for programs, schools, recruiters, etc? Or do you even feel that it’s necessary to get the certificate? I’ve been doing a lot of research, but I’d love to get your opinion too!

  • By Ted, May 11, 2012 @ 10:43 AM

    Hello Laura,
    Korea is one of the few countries where it is better that you apply from abroad (China is another) – your home county. There are lots of things you will need to do and to provide for your legal visa and working papers that are easier done while in your own country. Korea will accept an online certificate if you are pressed for money. Is it required? No, but due to the high unemployment in the USA, UK, Ireland, etc – it is becoming a much more competitive jobs market. And it is a good idea to have at least a rudimentary idea about how to teach English as a Foreign language effectively. Most recruiters and most schools are just fine. Pay attention as it goes and if anything doesn’t seem correct, ask questions. Your potential employer and/or recruiter will guide you on the visa process. Korea has a more difficult visa process than most places, but they’ve had a lot of trouble with fake degrees and even people with serious criminal records.
    I hope that helps.
    Ted

  • By dru, May 12, 2012 @ 8:57 AM

    Hello Ted!

    I’m in the same boat as matt(two posts up)and I was wondering which country is safest. Cambodia, China and Vietnam look like wonderful places but I’ve heard that none of them are safe choices do to crime and shady contracts.

  • By Ted, May 12, 2012 @ 11:16 AM

    Hello Dru,
    Most of China and Vietnam are probably safer than where you are right now. Most schools are okay, the idea of “shady contracts” is quite overdone. If you are a valuable employee, no employer is going to burn you. Their business depends on you and your good work. A lot of what you read on the internet are sour grapes from people who got fired for often very justifiable reasons. But the employers don’t get to defend themselves. At least that’s what my 20 years in schools would indicate.
    Any of those three countries are fine. Don’t get involved with drugs, stay out of dark alleys and generally you will be very safe.
    Ted

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