TEFL Tips for Fresh Grads (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)

After completing my undergrad and graduating in summer, I was desperately applying for jobs and got the opportunity to teach abroad in Taiwan. So, here’s some info about how to go about looking for teaching jobs abroad, what to expect and tips to help you! I had a mini interview so here’s my Q&A.

 

1. How did you find out about the role and apply?

It was quite easy to apply for the role I found as I saw an advert for the company online, sent my CV, and scheduled a skype interview for the following week. Two weeks later, I received a job offer.

It all seemed too good to be true and the company didn’t seem to be too strict, so it made me worry a little. There are different ways of applying for teaching roles abroad; one choice is an agency but some charge for the assistance, however a job is guaranteed. The best option is to look for government programmes that have good packages unless you choose to apply directly.

 

2. How was teaching English as a second language and being a teacher?

It was my first time teaching and it was hard at times, but the company gave us 2 weeks training when we arrived which was really intense and not very clear. The training was based for students of younger ages whereas I mainly taught teenage classes, so it wasn’t helpful. It was easier to get into the flow once teaching started, we were given structured lesson plans which helped a lot, so I just had to pick the games played in class.

Teaching English as a second language was a little hard as we are native speakers, so we know the language naturally but when teaching it can be hard to explain some sentence structures and rules. I made sure to go through lesson plans before class to make sure I understood the content and found easy ways to explain it.

 

3. How did you cope with moving abroad for a year?

This question applies to anyone moving abroad to work or even study for university. I wasn’t really alone because I was travelling with a friend of mine from university as we got the same job and were living in the same apartment block. This helped avoid the loneliness, but it was still lingering in the background as I come from a big family. I made a conscious effort to stay in contact with my family and friends online, talking to them whenever we could. This was manageable even with the eight-hour time difference. I had never travelled for such a long period of time alone, it was hard sometimes at the beginning because I wasn’t familiar with the area. One day, I couldn’t figure out my way home after school, so I made sure to go out and get accustomed with the city to feel more comfortable. Within a few months, I started to feel like a local and loved the place.

 

4. How much was the wage? Costs? Did the company help?

Personally, the company I chose didn’t help much financially except for giving a loan at the beginning for accommodation which was taken out in instalments from our monthly payslips. We were also offered early pay if there was an emergency.

Other companies offer more, such as flight reimbursement, a free apartment, extra pay outside of class teaching sessions for homework grading, paid holidays, etc. Many companies offer these, especially those with good reputations but my company didn’t so I missed out.

Hourly pay was £15 pounds an hour which was good, but I was on a part time teaching contract. This meant I was working only 22 hours a week, which was relaxing. But the downside was covering my costs alongside enjoying myself as I had to pay rent, health insurance, taxes, etc.

 

5. Can you get a teaching qualification?

Yes, most places do. My company provided training every two months with short sessions where we were given assignments which were easy and simple such as planning games and lessons. TEFL comes in different forms of how many hours you’ve completed but it is a teaching qualification that can be used to teach abroad in most countries and makes it easier to find good jobs.

6. What tips would you give people who are going to teach abroad?

Go on glassdoors to see for company reviews as it gives you an insight. However, keep in mind that there are a lot of negative reviews as people go there to complain anonymously so don’t take those too much into regard. But it still thought it was a good tool to stay clear of any obviously bad companies and to check out any good reviews too.

Look at company benefits such as flight and accommodation reimbursements, extra pay, paid holidays, etc. These costs really help you over time so don’t just settle for anything like I did.

Look at govt programmes such as JET in Japan and EPIK in Korea. I have attached the links below if you’re interested, these programmes are one of the best teaching offers anyone could get with the added benefits and safety provided.

Korean programme: http://www.epik.go.kr/contents.do?contentsNo=56&menuNo=286

Japanese programme: https://www.jet-uk.org/

 

 

Lastly, I will give recommendations of things to do in Taiwan and places to visit in another post later on based on my local experience along with how working in Taiwan, so stay tuned.