While many teachers get into TEFL to travel and see the world, you don’t have to start with far-flung locations if you want to teach English. Doing TEFL in your home country can be a great way to see different places in the UK that you wouldn’t normally travel to. Not only that, but it can also give you a chance to see if TEFL is for you before packing your bags and jetting off to somewhere exotic. Teaching in the UK can work the other way around too – many experienced TEFL teachers find that, after a few years on the road, they want to move back home and be closer to family, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the line for teaching. While summer jobs in the UK are great for newer teachers, language school positions are perfect for more experienced and highly qualified teachers who are looking to climb the ladder. These roles are highly competitive and often well paid.
Teaching English in the UK can also be a perfect stopgap between other contracts. For example, consider countries like Spain, which has a low season during the summer. Many teachers from Spain head back to the UK to keep working in July and August (and avoid the blistering summer heat!) before going back to warmer climes for their next contract. An added bonus of summer jobs is that your accommodation and food are usually provided.
Finally, teaching close to home can be a great way to save money. Whether you’re still living at home and trying to raise funds to get abroad, or you’re planning on teaching TEFL around another full-time job, teaching English in your free time can be a great way to save money. If money is no object, there are plenty of volunteering opportunities for teaching English in the UK, too.
Teach English Online in the UK
One of the great things about teaching English online is that your students can be anywhere in the world, so it doesn’t matter that you’re teaching the language most widely spoken in your country. The downside of teaching online from home is that there is often a big time difference between when you’re available and when your students are free. However, if you’re flexible this isn’t a problem, and many teachers in the UK find themselves working unsociable hours in order to be free when their students are. Don’t worry if early mornings aren’t for you – while there are busier parts of the day to get students, you can find work at any hour if you look hard enough – just bear this in mind if you’re applying to a company that only teaches in one location.
Teaching English online is a great way to gain experience and see if TEFL is for you. Teaching for just a few hours a week (in the evenings after your full-time job) is a great way to get a foot in the door as well as making some extra money. If you’re an experienced teacher, you could choose to teach freelance rather than going through a company that will find your students for you. Platforms such as Verbling allow you to set your own prices (English teachers charge anything from £4 to £70 per hour) and schedule, but you’ll also have to provide your own teaching materials. You can also teach English online on a voluntary basis.
Volunteer in the UK
The UK is a desirable place to live and work for many people around the world, particularly those who find few opportunities in their home country. Many travel to the UK for work but don’t necessarily have fluent English skills, which creates a great market for teaching in the UK. Many people in the UK who don’t speak much English have arrived here as refugees, and there is a great demand for voluntary teachers to work with this market.
RefuNet finds teachers who can commit to teaching for at least one hour per week for at least three months, and all lessons take place online at a time to suit you. Teachers must be aged at least 16 years old and have a DBS if they’re going to be working with children, although its common to teach adults too.
Breaking Barriers looks for teachers with a TEFL/CELTA who are based in London. Classes of 8-10 students study courses such as pre-beginner, Business English, Writing Skills, IELTs and English at work. Courses last up to 10 weeks, with each lesson lasting 2 hours, held on Saturday mornings or weekday evenings. You must commit to at least 2 courses.
Bristol Refugee Rights looks for teachers and teaching assistants for both one-to-one, group and online classes.
Refugee Action lists a variety of charities you can contact regarding teaching as a volunteer in the UK.
If you’re interested in finding out more about teaching English as a volunteer (either in the UK, online, or abroad) click this link to find out more.