So you may be wondering how do you teach English abroad? Where do you start? Is there a program? This here is a simple checklist for getting started teaching English abroad.

1. Choose a Country

It's important to spend some time investigating the country and culture that you are thinking about teaching in. This will make for a better experience living abroad. Things can be very different in another country. Most contracts are for one year and that's a long time to be in a country where you don't want to be. You should know that countries also have different...

2. Requirements/Qualifications

Each country has it's own set of standard requirements. And each school can have it's own requirements as well. Typically in most cases in Eastern Asia you will need to be a native speaker (have a passport from an English speaking country) and to have a bachelors degree in any discipline. That is for your legal working visa which your school will help you with.

In some cases you may need:

  • A TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate
  • To be a certified teacher in your home country
  • To hold a master's degree (not often)

Recruiters can sometimes be a good source of information. Inquiring with several will often help you find out what is exactly needed to teach in that country. Requirements frequently change in some places and they can be a good source of what's current. However, I do not necessarily recommend using a recruiter to find a job. 

3. Resume

Make a resume for teaching ESL. Here you want to typically simplify your resume and cater it to teaching. Put the related info on top and if you don't have any experience find a way to relate what you have done to teaching. For more info and a complete example of an ESL resume with a cover letter, resume, and reference letters get The Starters Guide or the Ebook.

4. Prepare Documents

You will need to get together the following documents.

  • Diploma. In Korea you will need an apostilled diploma and in other countries you may need the original and/or a photo of it.
  • Any certificates
  • University transcripts. You may need these for Korea.
  • Photos. You'll need at least 10 passport sized photos (headshots) for visas and other documentation that you will have to do.
  • Criminal background check. You'll need this for Korea.

You'll also need to be able to pass a health check.

5. Look for a Job

After you have your resume together it's time to start looking for a job. Sometimes you can find a job in your home country and others while abroad. There are loads of websites out there for finding jobs in different countries. However, a good place to start is at ESLcafe. If you're interested in teaching in Asia. Then I would recommend looking in The Starters Guide or Ebook for specific sites focusing on Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China.

7. Learn how to teach English (starting with lesson planning)

There are three main parts to the "PPP" model - which is commonly used in the lower levels: presentation, practice, and production. Jeremy Harmer refers to his lesson planning as: Engage, Study and Activate. Take a look at lesson planning here or you can learn even more by taking an online TEFL course.

8. Warm-up Activities and Icebreakers

For your first day you'll need some warm-up activities & icebreakers.

9. Classroom Activities and Games

You'll need these to keep your students engaged and motivated especially if you are teaching children. Here you can learn ESL games and activities.

10. Classroom Management

After you have learned how to lesson plan and make your classes fun, engaging and interesting you will need to learn a bit about managing your classroom. All students are not created equally and there will be times when you will have difficulties with some students. Some may disobey the rules, be disrespectful, or just difficult. So then what will you do?

Learn more about teaching English abroad by taking an online TEFL course. One course is free.

Well that's it! This is a general step by step guide to help you get started teaching English abroad. Good luck!

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