Teaching English in Asia - What YOU Need to Know

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Teaching English in Asia - What YOU Need to Know

Postby admin » Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:32 am

I'm starting a thread about teaching English as a foreign language. For guys who want to go and live in Asia AND need to earn a living, English teaching is one of the best things to consider.


1. There is a lot of demand for English teachers in Asia, particularly for native speakers.
2. Teaching allows you to get a long term work permit.
3. By living in Asia on a long term basis you can take dating a lot more slowly and get time to know people you're interested in. Also you can build up a social network and get personal introductions rather than run the gauntlet of dating site scammers.

Getting Started

In most Asian countries you'll find it easier to get work if you have a degree and you're a native speaker. You'll also win points for being from the USA, UK, Canada or Australia/NZ, and (dare I say it) additional points for being white. Additional kudos will be gained for having teaching experience in your own country.

Age isn't normally an issue as long as you're at least 22, but younger guys are generally preferred in schools, whereas older guys will be preferred for teaching in Universities or language schools that run courses for adults.

Most countries will prefer that you have a basic teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) certificate. You can get one of these from a company like the TEFL Academy. I paid £175 for my 120 hour course. Try to find one with at least 20 hours in person tuition, rather than one that is purely online.

If you have the time and money, then do a CELTA course. This will cost around $1500 but this course is validated by the University of Cambridge and is much more prestigious than one of these basic TEFL courses.

If you have even more financial resources available, then it's also worth considering doing an MA TESOL or equivalent. It's possible to do this in a foreign country as well - Temple University in Japan is my recommendation. The course is expensive BUT you can legally work on a student visa while studying in Japan.

Why do a teaching course? The courses have an emphasis on lesson planning which is a skill you'll need to learn if you're going to stand up in front of a class of 10-30 people and keep them entertained for an hour or more.

Incidentally, if you do a TEFL course then the company you do the course with will often know of job vacancies. Or look at somewhere like tefl.com. Just be on the lookout for scam jobs.

Reality Check

How much can you earn? If you just want to make enough to live on, then you can easily teach in Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam. If you want to earn enough to put money aside each month then go to China, South Korea, Taiwan or Japan. There is a lot of demand for teachers in this country, less foreigners in them, and also the chance to do lucrative private tuition. If you work hard it would not be impossible to earn $2500+ a month in China, Japan or South Korea.

Where can you teach? Really it all depends on your qualifications. If you have a degree and a teaching certificate like a CELTA or MA TESOL then you can teach pretty much anywhere. Without a degree you'll be limited to less well paying establishments in smaller towns and cities.

Remember teaching is a professional job and you need to keep work/play totally separate. This means it's NOT a good idea to date your students, although I do know a couple of guys who ended up marrying their [university age] students. Also remember that teachers should be careful where they go and who they associate with - it's not a good idea to be caught by your head of department in one of Bangkok's beer and lady bar districts for example.

If you're interviewed then also remember NOT to mention you intend going to Asia to find a wife/girlfriend.

Not a native English speaker? Don't forget that in countries like China or Japan you could potentially earn good money by teaching other languages. Spanish, German, French and Italian will be in the greatest demand after English.

How much money do you need? I talked to a guy who went to Beijing to teach and he reckoned $2000 was more than enough to get established in China and survive until that all important first pay check arrives. But he knew a guy who took $400, and he did OK.

Any questions about teaching English as a foreign language? I'm currently doing my 120 hour TEFL and my CELTA, so post your queries below...
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Re: Teaching English in Asia - What YOU Need to Know

Postby kano_in_asia » Mon Nov 30, 2015 12:36 am

A few points;

Japan - cost of living is very high, so don't expect to save money. More jobs are for teaching kiddies.

Taiwan - accommodation is usually not included, so you have that additional expense

China - university jobs mean less hours, but low pay. Be aware that, as in Korea, some will farm you out to schools - yet your salary does not change. A major rip-off.

Korea - teachers are treated badly, you are never right, contracts are not usually honored. Requirements have gotten more stringent.

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