“But if you decide to travel, you will not have the same job in the fashion industry.” Those were the first words I received from a fellow travel blogger slash mentor when I was about to start travelling long-term. It did give me a WTF look. Back then, I must admit I listened to what people were saying, “English teacher? You finished a degree in the fashion capital of the world, you have a stellar resume and then, English teacher? Seriously?”
Maybe you’re right. But as time went by, I realised that teaching English abroad is the best job in the world. Aside from earning enough money, it allows you to travel the world. Is there another job that can give you both?
There is nothing greater than the patience and effort of an English teacher. Whether they are teaching children or adults, making a person understand and express themselves in another language is a challenging job. I have nothing but respect to these people. You guys are amazing!!!
So, you want to be an English teacher abroad and live a life of travel?
Here are some easy steps on how to be start your career as an English teacher in South America:
1. Decide that you really really really want to go to South America.
Research. Read about it. Ask. South America is my favorite continent in the world but it can work differently for you. You can’t just rely on other people’s travel story and expect that you will have the same. We are all different and if you are really up for it, you will have your own stories to tell, I promise you that.
2. Ask yourself, “Can I teach English abroad? Do I want to?”
Of course you can! Everyone can! Though it would be a plus if you have one, there is no teaching degree requirement to be an English teacher in South America. I’ve met dentists, nurses, fashion designers, people from different industries who chose to travel and teach English abroad. Please bear in mind that this type of job requires a lot of patience as you will be working with people from a different culture. Take it as an advantage of learning something from the world while giving back.
3. Be a certified teacher! (TEFL/TESOL/CELTA)
I honestly didn’t have it when I started teaching as I was doing freelance but when I took it, I’ve had more opportunities teaching in language centres and schools. This might just be a paper but taking the exam(s) will help you a lot!
Want to get 60% off on your TEFL course? E-mail me at trishavelarmino[at]gmail[dot]com and I will give you one!
4. Join Facebook groups
I have joined over 15 expat groups here and it really helped me score a teaching job. These groups are really helpful and provide useful information for your move. If you’re not in the continent yet, you can start asking questions like the cost of living in each cities, how much do English teachers learn in a particular region or which place has the greatest demand for English teachers. Expand your network of teachers around the globe! Join our Freelance English teachers Facebook groups in Asia, Latin America and Europe!
5. Sell yourself.
For sure, expat groups on Facebook will help but you should also have the effort to put your ad on another channel. Craigslist, a blog, Twitter, hostel flyers are some of the major techniques in advertising yourself. Additionally, it will be easier to just join a website which connects students and teachers and I highly recommend English Class for Latino if you’re a newbie. This website can assist you from getting your TEFL certificate to creating your lesson plans.
If you are signing up with English Class for Latino, use promo code: psimonmyway to get 2 hours of teacher consultation via Skype + 5 TEFL books for free!
- It is very important to create a reputation: If I am a student, what will you tell me for me to choose you as my teacher?
- Make sure that you have a lot of patience. You will be needing it more than you thought you would.
- Like what I said in my how-to-volunteer tips, it is very important to set up a blog/website. Remember that people don’t know you beforehand and this can help them to know you better and choose you as their teacher.
- Do not count how much money you will earn. Count the experience. List down how many cities you would want to touch. More than the money, this job is about seeing the world. Earning is just a bonus.
So, what are you waiting for?
If you think you can do all five items on the list above, come out here and join us! Get to see the magical carnival in Rio de Janeiro; experience the filthy but yummy street food of Bolivia; cruise the Carribean from Colombia; eat your heart out in Argentina, learn Spanish in Peru and many more!
After 10 years, you will look back in your life saying, “teaching English abroad is the best experience of my life.”