Teach English in Europe and Explore the Continent
There is a great demand for native English speakers to teach the language in European countries. As English becomes more and more widely used in business around the world, the need for fluency increases.
Children generally learn English in school while adults may attend English-language training centers or hire private tutors. Teaching English in Europe allows you to live in a new culture temporarily and generally pays well enough to fund multiple travels around your home base. If you are interested in teaching English in Europe, here’s what you need to know.
Just as with jobs in the US, requirements vary depending on employer. Those with previous teaching experience will have the easiest time landing a job, especially in a public elementary school or high school, and will usually secure the better paying jobs first. Most language schools only require that you hold a Bachelor’s degree in any field. A TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) certification helps, especially if you don’t have a degree, and can help you secure a better compensation package. Knowing the language of the country is not required as classes are conducted completely in English.
Salary and benefits will vary depending on where you teach. Pay is generally better in major cities than in more rural areas, though some jobs in rural areas will offer more benefits like free accommodation to attract qualified teachers. Before accepting a job, find out exactly what is offered by way of compensation and how many hours you will work. Compare the compensation to the average cost of living. Even though pay is lower in rural areas, the cost of living may be lower, allowing you to live comfortably on a lower wage than what you’d need in the city. Some jobs offer just a salary while others include flight reimbursement, bonuses, health insurance, an apartment or an accommodation stipend, and daily transportation to the job site. Days off and teaching hours can vary as well depending on the country and the school. Most jobs offer 10-20 days of vacation each year and require a minimum or 20 hours of work per week. Most jobs will require that you commit to 6-12 months of work though summer camp opportunities are also available. Many language schools will also offer teachers a discount on foreign language classes, so if you are teaching in Spain and want to learn Spanish, you can do so relatively cheaply.
Where to Teach
It’s often more difficult to find a job in Western Europe without an EU work permit. Spain is the easiest of these countries in which to get hired , and often doesn’t require a Bachelor’s degree, but getting hired in advance is very difficult. The best way to look for a job is to arrive in the country and approach language schools for an interview. By obtaining your TEFL certification in the country, you’ll make contacts that will aid you in the job search. Other popular countries include Czech Republic, Poland, Turkey, Russia and Estonia, where it’s easier to find a job from overseas. These countries don’t pay as much as those in Western Europe, but the cost of living is lower.
Choosing a TEFL Course
There are a variety of TEFL courses out there, some better than others. Just be sure the certificate you seek is internationally recognized. Talking to former students is a good way to gauge the quality of a school; you can also do a Google search to read online reviews. Certification classes are offered online and in person, both in the US and around the world. Online classes allow you to take the class around your schedule, even while you maintain a job in the US. However, they don’t provide the same hands-on training that an in-person class does. If you have no prior teaching experience it’s better to get the hands-on classroom training. Many teachers recommend taking the course in the country in which you intend to teach. The contacts you make in the course will help you get a job.
The Teaching Experience
The TEFL course will give you all the practical knowledge you need to get started. Some schools allow you to design your own lessons, while others have a set curriculum to follow. Your schedule and classes may vary widely. You may be teaching young children, high-schoolers, or even adults. You might find you are teaching the same age group all day long or you might be teaching adults in the morning and kids in the afternoon. You might stay at one school all day or travel around to different locations. It really does vary widely by school, with some giving you more control over your schedule than others. Jobs are usually paid hourly, so the more you work the more you earn. Some teachers even supplement their regular jobs with private tutoring on the side.
What Makes a Good Teacher
Most of the instruction consists of simple conversation so the best teachers compliment that with a very outgoing personality. Teachers also need to be creative and motivating to engage students who aren’t interested, and need to be flexible as the schedules can vary so much.
Teachers also need to be hard-working and committed. Teaching English in Europe is most certainly a job – one that can be both difficult and stressful at times. But in exchange for working hard, teachers are able to spend time in a foreign culture, and use their days off to travel into the surrounding areas. Teaching English abroad can be a rewarding job, and will allow you to spend an extended amount of time living in Europe.