What TEFL Employers Are REALLY Looking For

What do you think that EFL school director/owner is REALLY looking for?

What TEFL Employers are REALLY Looking For

See DRAFT (not finished yet!) transcript below

This is going to be one of the most important videos. it’s going to help you understand what employers are really looking for.

This comes from your reference book How to Teach English Overseas. We’ll take a look at what employers are really looking for at language schools, probably where you’ll find your first job as an English instructor.

These language schools are businesses. That’s the number one thing to know. They are businesses and the more students coming in the door and taking classes, then all the better for their business. Students talk to their friends and they come and sign up for classes with your school and things go even better. If they consistently sign up for the next class and are taking your class and they finish that session and they sign up for the next one and then the next one and the next one that’s even better. They don’t have to be in your classroom if they don’t enjoy it – they can be in another language school down the street. Or in another teacher’s class, even at your school.

Competition is just down the street – just right out the front door and down the street – so schools need to attend to enrollment to keep their business open. Lose the business and no one, including you, keeps their job. As a result of these demands on the success of the business language, schools look for teachers that can keep students coming back to their classrooms again and again. That’s the bottom line.

Language schools want teachers that can keep students coming back to their classrooms again and again. So… start to think back to your favorite teachers when you were in school why were your favorites. Were they friendly? Possibly even charming in their own way? knowledgeable about their subject? You probably answered yes to these questions. So, yes, your school would like their next teacher (hopefully you) to be friendly, engaging, helpful, positive, AND they want you to encourage their students.

When a school interviews you, they are looking for someone who gives their students a positive experience and they also want someone who will be physically present on the job (not absent!) It’s just that simple.

Of course, the school would like you to know something about English and how to teach it, but you already have a huge built-in knowledge of the English language -often much more than your boss. You have an excellent idea about what is right or wrong usage. Are people using grammar correctly? Sometimes you don’t know how to explain what’s wrong, even though you know what’s wrong when you hear it. Or what’s correct. But to explain it to somebody who doesn’t have good English skills is difficult.

Teaching good pronunciation also takes some skill. Non-native speakers of English often don’t know what pronunciation is understandable or not. Thai students will say buh-na-NUHH because they stress the last syllable of a word. You might have to think about it to explain it to your student. These are the simple things non-native speakers regularly struggle with that will likely be no problem at all for you.

The video then gives other pronunciation examples.

Know also that research indicates that about 80% of people fired from their jobs are fired because of personal issues – attendance and punctuality, not following through, and other similar issues. So if you are not a perfect teach at first, make sure you follow through with this other issues.

You do still have a lot to learn about teaching English, but you now know the biggest issue is just being able to get along and being a decent person to be around.

TEFL for people who are not the stereotype…

If you don’t fit in the box most schools want to put you in, this video will help you see your options. Read the DRAFT (not finished yet!) transcript below:

This is another short segment intended to help you realize that there are good jobs out there for you and that you have great possibilities even if you’re “too old” or if you don’t have a degree and have facial piercings and tattoos – if you are just NOT the typical stereotype of the fresh young English teacher that supposed to come from the USA, UK, Australia Canada.  There is a place for you even if you are not the young cheerleader type with blue eyes and blonde hair that the language school used to put on the poster out in front of the school.

The school wanted that picture out front advertising to parents, who are the customers of the language schools, to prove they had real “native speakers”.  That stereotype took a long time to die and still exists in some countries, but these days schools and students/customers/parents know that it takes skill to teach – not just fitting a stereotype.

You’ll find some countries more rigid that others, but with a bit of planning you can work your way around these obstacles.  For example, if you are over 60, China won’t work for you, but Vietnam is great.  What you need to do first – anywhere – is get your foot in the door. Get hired anywhere you can and once you have your feet on the ground and a bit of experience, it is quite easy to branch out a bit and specialize in an area where you may have some skill or experience.

I’m going to encourage you a bit, the first time I worked in Korea starting 1992, it was a pretty rigid and backwards place, but the second time I taught in Korea starting in 2003, things had really opened up. There were Chinese Canadians, black and gay people, people with piercings and tattoos.  Things were really turning around.  As a result, they were getting better and better teachers.

In the initial process, if you’ve got the facial piercings or finding other reasons why schools are not offering you a contract, I suggest you consider interview in person in the country you want to go to.  Later in this course we discuss the advantages of interviewing in country versus online, but know that it offers you a real advantage. You are there and on the scene, you can start to tomorrow.  A school prefers that option to someone on the other side of the world who MIGHT show up in 3-4 weeks, all while they struggle to staff classes because they are short a teacher.  

Don’t do just do a passive job search. Some people don’t think of TEFL as a real occupation. It is a real job and you need to adjust your thinking just a little bit and and work just as hard for one of these jobs even harder than you would in your own country.  If you show up in flip-flops for an interview or if you do a telephone interview without combing your hair or grooming yourself the school will make certain assumptions about you.

You just need to pay attention to make sure your resume looks sharp with a good photo to go with it. I will talk about that much more in detail about CVs and resumes in a later video.

BTW, I’m over 60 and right now if I needed a job I would have difficulty landing a job in many countries. But I would go straight to Vietnam if I was starting out, because that’s a very easy place to get started.  Some countries will require a degree, but sometimes not everywhere. Sometimes local provinces will have different rules in that country. Rural areas are often given much more flexibility as most teachers want to teach in the big cities and these schools have difficulty finding teachers who meet the national requirements.  

I want to encourage you to not be discouraged. To know that you can find your way around these rules and now we’ll get on with the process.  Go on to the next video

Is TEFL Right For Me?

Self-Assessment for TEFL candidates.

See the DRAFT (not finished yet!) transcript below.

Today we’re going to help you do a little bit of self-assessment before you head overseas.

Here are 20 questions you should ask yourself to help you decide if teaching English overseas is right for you.   Quitting your job and going away from your family and friends to the other side of the world – that’s a pretty big deal – so this is something that you might want to look at to decide if it will work out for you.

First, do you have a family that you’re responsible for?  How do they feel about moving overseas and living in a foreign land?  How does your spouse or partner feel about giving up their job?  Will they be able to find work overseas? Are they interested in teaching English? They need to really be all-in on the decision.

Do you have children? How are you going to educate them while overseas? How might they feel about giving up their friends? The children issue is a really really big issue. Some people try to homeschool but sometimes it doesn’t work out well.  You really have to put the welfare of your children first in a decision like this. Even if you are hoping to put them in a public school, is your child fluent in the local language? They probably don’t teach in English there.  There are bilingual schools, but often they quite expensive because they’re meant for wealthy people and or the children of big corporations. Often monthly fees for a bilingual school is going to be equal to or even more than what you might earn as an English teacher.

Do you have a degree?  Degrees are not required in some countries, but will affect your options and income.   If you have a degree, you can save a fair amount of money in places like Korea. There you can save $1,000 per month without even trying.  

Are there special are there special medical issues? Sometimes you can’t find the same medicines in different countries, although I have to give you the good news that medicines, if you’re from the United States is usually far far cheaper than they are in the States. If you need a special kind of medication, try to find out if it is easily available where you are going.

If you have special medical challenges such as epilepsy or other issues that might affect your behavior, you need to let your employer know and sometimes you may need to educate them. For example, if you have epilepsy, they will need to know what to do if you have a seizure. A little bit of good public education you can do a great service and help them know what to do (an what NOT to do!) and help them understand.

Do you have the financial reserves to return to your home country and reestablish yourself if things don’t work out?  Or are you willing to tough it out if you don’t like it?   When I first went overseas I I made the decision that I was going to make this work. I had the money to get back home if I needed to and get myself reestablished, but I was quite determined that this was something I wanted to do. I knew it wasn’t going to be one hundred percent positive everyday and all the time but I just made the decision to tough it. In fact, there were problems and they just seem bigger when you’re overseas and you’re not always sure how to deal with them.

Have you ever thought if you might enjoy teaching English?  I’m a little bit introverted myself, but teaching is a little bit like acting.  In a way you’re up there on a stage and it is quite different from being super social.  You know your part and you prepare well and then it is not usually a problem.

Have you ever traveled and/or lived overseas? Did you enjoy it?  Were you ever frustrated because you couldn’t find things that you like to eat for a drink?

Would you find the daily problems of living and working overseas frustrating or a refreshing challenge? Do you get depressed or angry easily? Hopefully you can set your mind frame before you go and call these difficulties a “challenge”.  These can be exciting challenges and you can triumph over them you’ll have a whole new respect for yourself.

Well, there are the 20 simple questions. Do review them before you go overseas or even before getting serious about a job search. I hope that you be honest with yourself to make a good decision about whether to proceed or not. 

Life overseas is not for everyone. But it can be a joyous challenge if you are determined to make it work.

TEFL Job Resources

FREE resources for your TEFL Job Search

This is video #3 for the free video course. A short DRAFT (not finished yet!) transcript is posted below.

Download your your free ebook resources from this page.

With this course you’re going to have three ebooks to help you structure your thinking about how to find your next job.

The videos that you have for this course are all very important and very helpful, but we want you to have a lot more material and to understand things like how to respond to an advertisement,  details about resumes and CVs, and much more.  When we do a video we try to keep people interested, so we try to keep them about five to eight minutes long.  That means we can’t get into a lot of detail, but you can find the detail with your EFL ebooks.  You can download them on this page. They are free.   They include ideas on how to market yourself, CVs/resumes in detail, and what you need to know about contracts

One of your ebooks is a ten-week plan to get yourself abroad and it starts with just applying to get a password. It will walk you through the process organizing your paperwork and documents for your job search and move. It includes how to research the job, how to research your employer, research your accommodate and more.  There is even summary checklist for you to help organize everything

Also included in your ebooks are cultural issues and how to best set your attitude to be successful in a culture that is not your own. We even cover the number one mistake expatriate wannabes make – that attitude, the valued Western trait, that can spell disaster in the non-western world.

Download your ebooks below. Each ebook will open a new tab/window.

CLICK HERE to download How to Teach English Overseas
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CLICK HERE to download How to Land a Job Teaching English Abroad
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CLICK HERE to download How to Survive and Thrive Overseas

Landing a Job Teaching English Overseas: Introduction

This is video #1, which starts the course. See the DRAFT (not finished yet!) transcript below.

Introduction to the free course: How to find and land a great TEFL jobs overseas.

Okay let’s get started!

What I want to do is to walk you through the whole process of finding and landing a good job and help you with the step-by-step process.  Like a good painter will tell you, preparation is more than half of the job.

Doing your research, and planning and finding the things that you need to learn will make a big difference in this process for you.  I’ll help you work through it.  Here is a list of just some of the topics of the course: twenty important questions to ask yourself before you go, so this is kind of a self-assessment. It’s about, Would I succeed? Would I like it?  Is it good for me to go? It’s a bit of introspection. A TEFL life overseas is not for everybody. Life overseas is not always easy, it can be a challenge, but you can view it as difficulty or as a challenge.

Next, realize before you start your search that there’s a lot of things you need to know. Which countries are you qualified for?  Don’t spin your wheels,  Here is some of the research that you will need to do before you start your job search. What about passports? Organizing things at home before you go? Thinking through that process a little. How to prepare an international CV/resume. What’s the difference between a CV/resume that employers like to look at or that they going to throw in the trash?

It is best to focus on a country and then focus on a job.  It’s important to know where you fit. Know what country you might qualify for and then focus on the kind of job you might want.

It makes a difference whether you want to apply online or apply in country. Both have advantages. We will talk about that and we’ll talk about what works best for teachers even at 60+ years old. Seventy-year-old teachers can still get jobs. How to prepare for an interview in person or online. There’s a big section here on interviews. It’s not hard to get an interview. It’s not necessarily hard to get the job, but we want you to succeed with the RIGHT job. We have some questions you should ask during the interview so you know how to qualify the job –  do you want  that job offer? What are some important red flags to think about? There definitely are a few scams, so be careful! I’ll tell you exactly what they are.

For the first job I took overseas I took a great big giant trunk with me and I spent hundreds of dollars on overweight fees. You don’t have to do that! Often times things are far cheaper overseas than they are at home, so you can just come and get what you need locally. 

We cover how to adapt culturally and succeed. Even in our own cultures research says 80% of the people who were fired from jobs are fired NOT because they don’t have the skills for the job, but because their social skills were not adequate for the job.  Many people working abroad don’t know how to behave in the local culture.  Now… the nice thing is that when you go to a new culture there’s a whole new set of rules, so it can become just like a nice fun game.

The last step is coming home. How to prepare the way to come home and make it a win-win. What are the things you need to do while you’re gone to make sure that you’re going to succeed when you come home?

Those are a few of the basic ideas about what we’re going to cover in this course and we’ll try to keep all of the videos even shorter than this one. So have a little patience getting started and we’re going to start the show right now.  Go on to the next video on the next page:

The next video (#2) is here: Where Do You Fit in TEFL?