For most of us, 2022 could be seen as something of a return to form. The world continued to open up, and opportunities to live and work abroad suddenly shot to prominence. It didn’t feel as though the world was closed anymore, and that’s especially true for TEFL teachers.
Yes, after a period that felt like sitting on the sidelines, waiting to get into the thick of the action, 2022 was something of a release valve. The good news? It’s only going to get better for TEFL teachers, on the net and in the classrooms the world has to offer.
Fine, there are a couple of changes. China, for example, won’t let private tutors work with school-age children anymore, which means a huge market has been stemmed. That doesn’t mean, though, that there are fewer chances to work in China, nor does it limit what you can do in the rest of the world.
Increasingly, we’re seeing people taking up the digital nomadic life, setting up their own freelance English tutoring businesses. We’re seeing people venture to less-explored climes, like South America and deepest South Asia. After the pandemic, the TEFL world hasn’t just twitched into life, it’s now bursting with chances.
Teaching English online in 2023
In hindsight, it seemed a pretty safe bet that demand for online English teaching would continue to soar. At the time, not so much: it was difficult to predict trends in anything while the pandemic raged on.
Nobody could realistically know how much growth there’d be in the online English teaching sector, but it sky-rocketed, and is now at a steady level. That means there is still – and will continue to be – high demand for English teachers, whether it’s doing online classes to groups, or one-to-one tutoring.
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. Though the worst of the pandemic is over, working life has changed forever.
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 to teach English online in 2023, 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 2023
Get your passport out.
For a couple of years, there, it felt as though we might never travel the way we used to. Globetrotting business people were at home, let alone back-packers, intrepid travellers and, of course, TEFL teachers hoping to explore new climates. That’s over.
Though so many are opting for a fruitful career online, there are still countless job openings worldwide. Schools, institutions and especially governments abroad are needing to address a gap in English proficiency, and with the pandemic, it’s been harder to reach attainment goals.
Naturally then, like the online sphere, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. We’ve seen historically less-heralded locations take a leap in popularity, while regions like South America, which typically wasn’t an enormous TEFL market, come into the spotlight.
It’s a great time to look at opportunities. Who knows where you’ll be teaching in 2023?
The best places to TEFL abroad in 2023
South Korea was one of our 2022 picks, and with little surprise, it remains a top choice for 2023. With an incredible 15 UNESCO Heritage sites, endlessly fascinating cities and the feel of a country which is both forward-thinking and immensely proud of its rich cultural history, it’s not hard to see why people love it.
Iit’s also an ideal landing spot for the intrepid TEFL teacher. Many South Korean jobs provide benefits, including accommodation and air travel. There are a wide range of jobs available within South Korea, from the government-run EPIK programme, to the tens of thousands of hagwons (private language schools).
If you’re a country greeting over 7 million tourists between January and October, you’re doing something right. It’s ample evidence that The Land of Smiles is as attractive as it gets.
It’s also a growing TEFL destination, helped enormously by initiatives like the Thailand Teaching Programme, which pays well, and includes airport pick-up, visa assistance, flexible contracts and teacher-friendly working hours. If you’re looking to go straight into permanent employment, the demand is huge from kindergarten to university level and beyond.
What’s more, Thailand is one of the friendlier locations for non-native level English speakers. If you’re wanting to make a dent in the industry but don’t have English as a first language, you’d do well to consider the Land of Smiles as your first port of call.
It feels as though Vietnam still holds a great deal of mystery from a Western perspective. Not enough people know that nowadays, one of the jewels of South Asia has a rapidly growing economy, an improving educational infrastructure and is immensely tourist-friendly.
The touristic potential of countries like Vietnam and Thailand are obvious – history, beautiful views and buzzing cities – but also because emergent economies like Vietnam’s require a higher proficiency in English.
The demand for teachers, unsurprisingly, is constant. You’ll find plenty in our Jobs Centre at any given time. In terms of actually living in Vietnam, you’ll find warm and friendly locals, innovative fashion and street food par excellence. It’s also a great place to live in terms of travel; if you’re looking to explore neighbouring nations like China, Laos or Thailand, it’s easy!
You’ll need a bachelor’s degree along with a TEFL qualification, but the rewards – especially in relation to the cost of living – make Vietnam a fantastic destination for any English teacher.
We said we’d talk about South America, and we’ve picked out the fascinating and ever-growing country of Colombia for 2023.
With Colombia looking to be a bigger player on the world stage, and projecting a tourist-friendly and modern image, the demand for TEFL teachers is rapidly growing, with the government really pushing for heightened proficiency in English.
A degree is preferred, but not necessarily required, meaning that in many cases you only need a high-quality TEFL certificate to get going. With a low cost of living, especially in relation to the kinds of salaries on offer to TEFL teachers, Colombia is a high-quality pick, especially for newer TEFL teachers seeking adventure.
Everywhere – as a digital nomad!
Working remotely, especially since the pandemic raged through 2020 and 2021, has become something of a norm. In the past, it was a practice met with cynicism, and was far from the usual across most industries.
That’s not the case now. Companies are seeing the benefits of a global office, where people can cover different hours, and offer a range of perspectives. Plenty of individuals, meanwhile, are setting up an office at home, and working freelance. The lack of a central job location means that, really, anyone with the wherewithal and resources can work for a range of different companies, or indeed, for themselves. The rise of the ‘digital nomad’ lifestyle, then, is really no surprise.
Being a digital nomad means locational independence. You can work from anywhere. To be a digital nomad TEFL teacher, all you need are:
- At least a 120-hour TEFL certificate
- A laptop
- Reliable WiFi
- An online teaching job and/or your own freelance online teaching business
A lot of countries are making that nomadic life much easier. For example, Spain will have a digital nomad scheme in place in 2023, catching up with Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, Greece and Portugal.
If this lifestyle sounds appealing, read our guide to becoming a digital nomad!
Get TEFL qualified now and start your TEFL adventure in 2023! Where do you want to TEFL?