It might finally be the case that fledgling Teflers are veering off the beaten track to Spain for a taste of English teaching further afield. Further east, to be precise.
In a survey by Cactus TEFL, about 45% of respondents about to embark on a TEFL course cited countries in Asia as their main region of interest.
Schools in Asia that have previously found it difficult to meet the demand for English with a steady supply of native-speaking, qualified teachers have been offering enticements for new teachers. Many now match the Jet scheme “standard” of providing flights, accommodation, and bonuses.
And the move seems to be paying off.
Private English teaching establishments in China, Vietnam and Thailand are expanding rapidly.
ILA Vietnam is currently on the lookout for some 150 qualified teachers of English. The company’s director, Tony Williams, estimates this figure will double within the year.
Williams says that new teachers now look beyond pay and conditions when making a decision about where to apply. “Newly-qualified teachers are armed with all the right questions these days,” he says. “Career pathways and evidence of solid academic management is as important as a decent rate of pay and working hours.”
In Thailand, another large school group, ECC, offers reimbursement of 50% of a teacher’s Celta course fees in return for a year’s teaching in one of their schools.
Other schools also offer to pay for the return flight home provided the teacher stays on for predetermined contract duration – typically one year.
The need to tie teachers in may raise an eyebrow amongst the more sceptical teachers and lead them to ask, “Why wouldn’t I want to stay a year anyway?” It may be that the requirement has something to do with contract conditions, course durations, and the regime in a school. But also, the wide cultural and climatic variance from life back home could lead would-be Teflers to consider Tefl in Asia as no more than a six-month job option.
The safest option when making a decision is to opt for a school that conducts its interviews in the United Kingdom, with a day’s proper orientation that includes presentations, interviews, a chance to chat to existing teachers, and plenty of opportunities to ask questions, without fear that this could scupper your chances of employment.
Cactus TEFL offer a wide range of TEFL courses at a variety of destinations around the world.