Beware of overseas teaching scams

An important issue to be aware of when looking for English teaching jobs is the existence of scams.  Susan Taylor guest-posted an excellent article on this topic on Kalinago English.  The highlights:

Beware of jobs that:

  • require upfront payment
  • look too good to be true
  • have questionable websites
  • use poor English
For more details, click on the link above to read the entire article.
Another good place to look for scams in on Dave’s ESL Cafe international job forums.  They have country specific forums which often discuss the realities of a specific location.

Where should I teach English around the world?

Trying to decide where to pursue an English teaching job around the world?  If you have a specific country in mind, the best place to start is Dave’s ESL Cafe Job Forums.  In these forums, you can find information specific to the country you’re interested in, and ask questions about organizations, cultural dynamics, etc. It’s THE place to start gathering information about English teaching around the world.  It’s crucial to do thorough research about where you’re going to teach to avoid scams and all other sorts of ‘sticky’ situations that can happen.

Here are a few other articles which give some good information about teaching English in specific regions:

Content suggestions for ESL by level

If you have few resources and need a general starting part for what to teach by level, look no further!

Content Suggestions in ESL courses by level

By no means conclusive, this is a *GUIDE* to give those without resources initial direction.  A textbook will usually be the best guide for giving the most consistent and comprehensive direction regarding what to teach, but this isn’t always the reality!  If you can get your hands on a text, it would be a great guide to follow.

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Developing curriculum without a textbook

Some teachers prefer to ditch the textbook for more ‘creative’ endeavors.  I am personally a fan of textbooks (with appropriate supplements here and there) because they provide an overarching picture of what a student learns.  But what’s a teacher – creative or not – to do when there is no textbook?  In such situations, some teachers may jump from random topic to random topic, frustrating even themselves for lack of clarity and direction.

So where do you start if you’re in the boat without a book?[1]

Student Knowledge

  1. What do your students know? Determine an approximate level (beginner, intermediate, advanced).
  2. What do your students need to know? Pay particular attention to the kind of language skills the have – reading, writing, speaking, listening – over the specific knowledge they possess.
  3. Why are your students learning English? What kind of English do they need? Teaching English for university preparation will look very different than teaching conversational English to children.
  4. How are students accustomed to learning? Trying to impose a great deal of group work on children more used to rote drills will be challenging.  Make an effort to work within some of the context of the culture you’re teaching in so that the method doesn’t distract the students from the content.


  1. How much time do you have to teach and plan?

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What do all those letters mean?

Like many fields, TESOL is a field filled with acronyms.  Here’s a guide to sorting through the alphabet soup:

Terms describing language learners

  • ESL = English as a Second Language.  Describes students learning English in a context where the majority population speaks English.  This term is being used less because of the seeming inaccuracy in the term ‘second language’ – many English learners are learning their third, fourth, or fifth language.  However it’s not as inaccurate as some might suppose.  ‘Second language’ is a general linguistics term referring to any language that adds to a person’s first language.
  • ESOL = English for Speakers of Other Languages. This term was next to replace ESL in an attempt to correct the inaccuracy of ‘ESL’.

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Where are TESOL/TEFL/TESL jobs available?

When narrowing down your focus for a job search, the most important step is to determine either 1) the location in which you want to teach OR 2) the organization with whom you want to work.  Obviously, this depends on which is more important to you – some people are tied to a specific organization and others to a specific location.  Upon determining which direction to take, you’ll need to determine what kind of institution is the best fit.  Most jobs in the TESOL field exist in the following institutions:

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