Feature Photo: Ben+Sam Photo: denise carbonell
The following will get you started on the quest for your ideal teaching job abroad.

Sometimes the sheer number of teaching jobs abroad is overwhelming. Korea? Kyrzgystan? Mexico? Lithuania?

A google search for ESL jobs will pull up a cluster of potential resources which takes time, patience and a discerning, critical eye to wade through. Some, of course, are much more trustworthy and useful than others.

In my four years of experience teaching overseas, here are the ones I’ve found most helpful.

1. Dave’s ESL Cafe.

Simply classic. Yes, you’ll find the old salts in the forums whining about anything and everything – the food, the bureaucracy, the students, the pay, the visas – so think twice before you turn down or accept a job based on what you find there. At the same time, those forums can be an excellent way to gauge the legitimacy of certain language schools and to get a sense of the average pay and visa regulations in a region.

Before I took a short-term teaching position in Japan, I consulted the forums at Dave’s and got several private messages from previous instructors telling me what to expect, which was enormously helpful in preparing materials and adjusting my expectations.

Plus, the International Job Board is much more reliable than many other online job feeds and contains a wide range of jobs all over the world. I’ve found two out of four teaching positions via the International Job Board.

2. Tefl.com

Another extremely reliable site for jobs which tend to be more professional, for teachers with a TESOL, Delta or Celta certificate and experience. There are some jobs for novices on here, including plenty in China, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia, but many of the jobs are in Europe and require certain credentials.

Photo: J.C Rojas

The site also tends to favor teachers from the UK – be careful when reading the job ads to check if the little blue “EU National Preferred” box appears at the bottom. If so, Americans, you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle for that position, and you’ll probably be in charge of dealing with visa issues.

One major perk of Tefl.com is that they allow you to apply for jobs directly through their website by uploading your information into a portfolio. They also give you the option of applying for a daily feed of jobs – which I ultimately had to unsubscribe to, because I couldn’t deal with the constant temptation to move to, say, Kazakhstan.

3. Transitions Abroad’s Teaching English Abroad Portal

This is much more than a simple job site. If you’ve ever wondered about TEFL courses in Vietnam, short-term teaching positions in Italy or the ins and outs of getting a university job in Chile, this should be your first stop. The site has an unbelievable amount of useful, detailed information about teaching abroad.

I could spend hours simply wandering dazed through the possibilities, and you probably should if you’re new to teaching and thinking about taking a job in a place you’ve never visited.

4. Esl Job Feed

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Jobs. Lots of ’em. Straight up.

5. The University of Michigan’s sites for Teaching Abroad Without Certification and Teaching Abroad for Qualified Teachers

These sites offer an extremely well organized compilation of information not only about teaching jobs, but also about programs like Fulbright teaching assistanceships for recent graduates or graduate students. They contain extensive guides to teaching in countries on six continents (Antarctica is woefully underrepresented) as well as articles about cross-cultural exchange in the English language classroom, teaching jobs with government organizations and NGO’s, and teaching at every level from elementary to post-graduate.

There’s no reason not to do research before you take off on a teaching adventure, especially if you’re thinking of accepting a position with a gigantic language school with branches all over Asia or Latin America. If you’ve got a set idea of what you want to do and where you want to go, all it takes is persistence and research to get you there.

Community Connection

Matador offers its own set of ESL resources, including The Insider’s Guide to Teaching English In Asia, The Eight Hidden Benefits of Teaching English Abroad, Top Ten Places for Teaching English Abroad, and the classic Meet Your ESL Coworkers.