For many of us, 2020 didn’t quite go to plan. The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically disrupted and completely changed our way of living and the TEFL industry, like many others, was hugely affected. Severe travel restrictions meant that teaching English abroad was put on hold for many, but online we saw demand for EFL teachers soar.
We’ve just about made it through 2020 and now we’re looking ahead with hope to 2021. Post-Covid life is on the horizon, and we’re confident that as we emerge from the other side of this pandemic there will be plenty of opportunities for EFL teachers both abroad and online!
Teaching English online in 2021
2020 has seen us live more of our lives online than ever before. Many workplaces (like our team here at The TEFL Org!) have been operating fully remotely since the start of the pandemic. We keep in touch with friends and family we’re unable to see in person using platforms like Zoom. And schools and universities have been forced to heavily rely on technology that facilitates online learning.
The pandemic has undoubtedly fast-tracked the necessity and desire for online learning. We believe that level of demand is here to stay. The online language learning market has been rapidly growing every year and that seems unlikely to slow down, especially now that even more people have grown to become comfortable using online tools for learning.
While the demand for online English teachers is significant it’s important to remember that the interest in remote working opportunities has likewise sky-rocketed. The pandemic has cost many people their jobs and left others concerned about their financial security. With it being possible to complete your TEFL training online and then use that qualification to make an income working remotely, it’s understandable why so many people are pursuing work in the online TEFL market.
Getting started teaching online
For those starting teaching English online in 2021 we have 5 top tips.
- Manage your expectations. You’re not going to land a job teaching online full-time straight off the bat. Building up your hours to a full-time schedule (if that’s what you want to do) is something that can take a bit of time to do. And when it comes to hourly rate it’s unlikely you’re going to earn £25+ per hour as a newly-qualified and inexperienced EFL teacher. But as you gain more experience your earning potential will increase!
- Gaining initial experience is key. Starting out can be the hardest part and it’s important to get your foot in the door so you can build from there. This can mean working for less than is ideal in the beginning, especially if you don’t fit the profile of the “ideal” applicant (native English speaking degree-holder with some prior teaching experience). It’s just like any career, though, and the more experience you have the more you can earn.
- Make sure your CV is as strong as possible. This is particularly true if you don’t have a degree and/or aren’t a native English speaker, which are factors that can limit the opportunities available to you. Your TEFL qualification should come from a properly accredited TEFL course provider and it’s important to choose the right course for you – we have some useful information here.
- Start with online teaching companies. If you’re just starting out then it’s going to be incredibly difficult to build a business as a freelance teacher straight away. As we’ve already mentioned, getting initial experience teaching online is so important, and the easiest way to do this is to work for online teaching companies. Once you’ve spent time gaining some real teaching experience you can then start working towards going out on your own.
- Be patient. You’re not going to have a fulfilling career teaching English online that pays all the bills overnight. But with hard work and patience it’s absolutely achievable!
Teaching English abroad in 2021
While the online teaching market has been booming, the market abroad has very much been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Travel restrictions are a significant reason for this, which has made it difficult for employers to hire from abroad and for visa processes to go smoothly.
This year has been tough for the industry, but we know that an end is in sight. We expect as things begin to transition back to normal (or as near to it as possible!) that there will be huge demand for EFL teachers around the world, just as there was before.
Many EFL teachers returned home at the start of the pandemic and with restrictions being in place for most of 2020 it’s been difficult for employers to recruit teachers from abroad. As it becomes easier to travel and visas can be processed without a hitch we anticipate that TEFL jobs boards will be flooded with positions. If you’re hoping to teach English abroad in 2021 then there should be plenty of jobs to apply for!
The best places to TEFL abroad in 2021
With an estimated 400 million English language learners, it’s no wonder the strongest TEFL jobs market in the world is located in China. Demand is huge and you can bet on seeing a huge amount of jobs advertised across this vast country throughout 2021.
The strongest TEFL jobs market in Europe can be found in Spain, where demand is soaring. You can find plenty of work teaching English across the country, in the major cities and also in more rural areas. If you’re a newly-qualified EFL teacher then this is a great country to get your start in.
Vietnam represents one of the fastest-growing TEFL markets in Asia. The country’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has been notable for its success – it didn’t record its first death from the virus until July and has kept virus levels extremely low throughout the year. Flights to Vietnam are still very limited, but expect to see plenty of positions advertised when we move into the post-Covid era.
Demand continues to grow for EFL teachers in Cambodia, which is one of the only countries in Asia teachers who do not have a degree can work in. While it’s often overlooked in favour of neighbouring countries like Vietnam and Thailand, Cambodia has a lot to offer EFL teachers!
The Czech Republic offers opportunities for newly-qualified and experienced EFL teachers alike. It also has the added bonus of being one of the few countries in Europe where teachers who don’t have an EU passport can get a license to teach.
Get TEFL qualified now and start your TEFL adventure in 2021! Where do you want to TEFL?