Teaching English LEGALLY

Being a Professional and Doing Things Correctly

I currently live in a country where a degree and a TEFL certificate are required to obtain legal working papers.

That should be “USUALLY required” as there are ways around things sometimes for schools in rural areas and certain people if they have good previous experience in a specific industry (hospitality for example) can sometimes be hired as trainers rather than teachers.

Regardless of the realities of what is required, people often contact me saying that they worked here a few years ago without a degree or they know someone working here now who doesn’t have a degree, so WHY do I say a degree is needed to teach English?!

Well . . . a degree isn’t needed to teach English but one is usually required to teach English LEGALLY. When asked the details of their previous (or friend’s) employment, we often determine that the person was working illegally.

While I will admit that teaching English, for many people, is just a passing fancy and way to see a bit of the world while financing the journey in a classroom, I am loath to recommend that people do anything illegal, especially in a country that is not your own. The same people who do such things are often the ones who end up on silly TV reality shows like “Locked up Abroad” or similar ilk – whining about how they were unfairly treated.

Breaking immigration law in any country is a serious offense. Why would they not think so? The two countries that provide the greatest number of EFL teachers are the UK and USA, and they have some of the most difficult immigration procedures around. It’s not like this is a new idea. Is it?

Some people even say, “Let them lock me up, what are they going to do, keep me forever?” “Ha ha ha.” Well, they might find that many countries don’t really care how long people sit in their jails. And they don’t mind making parents and relatives empty their wallets in efforts to get them out.

A couple things frustrate me about this. The first is that the occupation is debased by people working illegally. We all come under suspicion. The other is that it allows the shady schools (the ones that you hear about cheating teachers for example) to continue to operate by hiring people “off the record”.

TED’s Tips™ #1: All I want to suggest is that if you decide to go abroad to teach English, do it legally. There are countries where people without degrees can teach. Much of Latin America, Cambodia, Laos, some parts of China, Indonesia and more.

TED’s Tips™ #2: Do your research BEFORE you go to a country to be sure you can work there legally. The Internet is full of websites that will give you the information you need to find out. Or even just read the jobs postings. What qualifications are most employers asking for? One of the main reasons schools ask for certain qualifications is because they are required to obtain legal working papers for their teachers. A good website for jobs postings is ESL Jobs Now.

What’s up in China? Learn about a great internship program on offer if would like to Teach English in China

How to Teach English Overseas and Secrets to Success Abroad
TEFL Boot Camp  is offering a free download of their new publication Seven Secrets of Success Abroad – and along with it comes a bi-weekly installment and revision of their eBook called How to Teach English Overseas.

Great reviews for the Secrets of Success eBook – in spite of the hokey name – and the How to Teach English eBook is being updated and rewritten and sent out in installments as it is ready.

Here they are – click on the eBooks to get your FREE copies! Great information and the price is right, from our friends at TEFL Boot Camp – CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE EBOOKS.



Please let me know what you think of the ebooks – use the comments section below.

I confess both eBooks are written by yours truly – hoping to inspire others to head overseas and live life BIG out in the real world. I would value your feedback!

Author: Ted

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