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How to Turn Your English Teaching Skills into a Lucrative Career

Teaching is often described as a vocation more than a profession, and this is often the case for many teachers. Simply put, many tutors and educators alike have a calling to their role, sharing similar traits. They are passionate about their subjects, they value the importance of education and, most importantly, strive to inspire their students.

However, teaching is not an easy career to pursue, although most teachers wouldn’t see themselves doing any other job. From researching topics to planning lessons, from creating tests to crafting engaging (and effective!) materials, and from assessing progress to giving feedback – a teacher has to wear many hats all at the same time, and this requires some real talent.

The multi-talented teacher

Unfortunately, many teachers tend to forget how talented they are and are often unaware of the financial advantages that their transferable skills – whether innate or developed – may bring. So, here is a reminder of some of the things that you, as a teacher, are able to do:

  • You are able to think on your feet. This is, by far, the most useful skill a teacher can have. Life in a classroom can be very unpredictable, but no matter what questions and challenges are thrown at you, you know how to deal with them. 
  • You can give variety to your lessons. Nothing can be more disengaging than a monotonous lesson, but there’s no risk of getting bored in your classes! You know how to alternate loud and exciting activities with quiet, individual tasks.
  • You know how to design effective lessons. Everyone loves fun lessons, but they can be ineffective if learning is not taking place. You have a knack for combining fun activities that can help your students understand and practise the topic at hand. As you know, learning progress and engagement levels go hand in hand.
  • You understand the importance of getting to know your learners and their needs. In the classroom, the ‘one-size-fits-all’ rule doesn’t work. As tempting as it may be, treating your class as a single organism is a mistake that should be avoided. Each individual learner has a unique personality and needs that should be met in order to help them achieve their full potential.
  • You strive to improve yourself. In an ever-changing industry such as education, you learn something new every day. Compulsory training courses and professional development sessions aside, you understand that keeping up-to-date with the latest methodologies and best practices is a must. Nowadays, effective teachers need to go beyond that; they need to develop skills that were unheard of a few decades ago, like IT and digital skills.

Teaching English online or abroad

Lack of resources, increasing admin workload, time-consuming lesson prep, unrealistic expectations: these are just some of the challenges that teachers worldwide face on a daily basis. These are also the very reasons why many are leaving the academia world behind, in search of a career that allows some work-life balance. This can’t be an easy decision to make for those who see teaching as a vocation, rather than a job.

Thanks to the unique skillset that teachers have, coupled with the popularity and accessibility of remote working, it is possible to make a living while teaching as well as  looking after your mental health. Many qualified teachers have made the transition from mainstream education to TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) to pursue a fulfilling yet less stressful career in the education sector.

Online teaching gives you the flexibility to choose how many hours to work per week/month, when and where to deliver your lessons. Depending on your students’ time zone, you could be teaching at any point during the day or night – whenever it is convenient for you. Moreover, you can teach from the comfort of your own sofa or while travelling, as long as you have internet connection and your all-important equipment with you, such as laptop (with camera and mic built-in) and a handy headset.

On the other hand, you might be in need of a complete change of scenery. If that’s the case, teaching English abroad could be just what the doctor ordered. Moving to another country is a big step and choosing your destination requires serious consideration.

Here are some ideas:

  • The Czech Republic is an ideal base if you are thinking about travelling around Europe, thanks to its position in central Europe. There, the demand for TEFL teachers is high, particularly for those focusing on Business English.
  • Costa Rica is a fascinating country with a slower pace of life that will help you reconnect with nature and with your inner self. When you think about teach English in Costa Rica it is fairly straightforward to find a TEFL job, but be aware that online applications and remote interviews are not the done thing. The best approach is to do your research before leaving your home country and then apply by handing out a hard copy of your CV. The interviews will be carried out face-to-face.
  • Thailand is a very popular country among TEFL teachers. Located in the centre of South-East Asia, this country is a portal to exploring what corner of the world has to offer. There are plenty of teaching opportunities in Thailand, from private language schools to public primary/secondary schools, all the way to university.

Making your skills work for you

As a teacher, you might eventually feel the burden of marking endless piles of assignments, the pressure of upcoming external inspections, the stress of dealing with increasingly time-consuming admin work, but fear not. Your teaching experience has helped you develop a range of transferable skills that can be applied for other roles in other industries. However, if your passion lies in teaching, give Teaching English as a Foreign Language a go.