Teaching English in a School vs. Freelance English Teaching

Once you have completed your accredited TEFL course you can start searching for a job. At this point you will have to decide whether you want to teach English in a school, in a busy classroom, or enter into freelance teaching and teach one-to-one. We have compared the two here to help you decide which type of teaching job suits you.

Teaching in a school

Most TEFL graduates envision working in a school after they have completed their TEFL training. There are many benefits of teaching English in a school:

  • Your TEFL training will supply you with lots classroom related skills and planning so you will be fully qualified for the job.
  • Most TEFL jobs in schools involve signing a contact to work between 3 – 9 months so you will need to be committed to working for this long and settling down to live in one place for the duration.
  • The next question is what type of school you want to work in and how much you want to earn. You will be aware of the differences between public and private schools.
  • Of course deciding where in the world you want to TEFL will dictate what type of school is available to you. Schools all around the world will vary in pay, resources, and students.
  • Some TEFL jobs will offer extra benefits for teachers, such as free accommodation, paid airfare and paid holidays.
  • You will also get to meet other teachers, and have the security of being in a more stable job with fixed hours.

Freelance teaching

Freelance teaching is a common route for many ESL teachers looking to earn some extra money. You can decide whether you want this to be your sole income or if you want to balance freelance teaching alongside teaching English in a school.

The benefits of freelance teaching are what you would expect:

  • You can be your own boss and the hours are flexible.
  • You can typically charge more teaching one-to-one in a private setting.
  • However, in order to get started you will need to create a network and advertise your services.
  • You will also need to find/create your own teaching resources and plan your own lessons. There will be less guidance or a curriculum to follow than if you were working in a school but on the other and there is more freedom to be creative and do your own thing.
  • You are also not alone; there are loads of online resources and forums for TEFL teachers to speak to each other and share lesson plans and ideas.
  • Teaching one-to-one requires a different approach and different skills from teaching in the classroom. However the two will complement each other; teaching one to one will help you come attune to the specific needs of individuals who are struggling and identifying this sooner.
  • If you want to teach English but aren’t actually that keen on kids, freelance teaching provides the option to teach adults, often business English. While schools generally only cater for children, teaching English freelance gives you more freedom to choose your students.

Recommended TEFL course: You will need at least 120 hours of TEFL training, but you might also want to add on some specialist modules such as Teaching Business English if you are considering freelance TEFL teaching.

Of course you can do both teaching in a school and freelance teaching, as many TEFL teachers do. You might find out that one type of teaching style fits you as a teacher.

Summer camps / online teaching

There are also other ways you can use your TEFL certificate and teach English as a foreign language. If teaching English in a classroom environment suits you, you might want to try teaching English in Summer Camps. The benefits of teaching in summer camps compared to in a school are that the students will always be changing and you will have a bit more freedom to branch out from teaching and join in planning and leading more outdoor and fun activities.

Alternatively if you are interested in pursuing teaching one-to-one, teaching English online is growing as new technologies are transforming the way in which we teach and learn English. You will have all the benefits of teaching freelance as well as added bonus of being able to teach from home – this means no commute to work and also you will get to meet interesting students from all over the globe without the travel costs. Find out more about how you can get qualified to teach English online:Teaching English Online Course.

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