Teach English in a Foreign Country

This post is a companion piece to the Tutoring for Money post earlier this month, but it describes a slightly different version of teaching and tutoring than your typical local neighborhood gig.

If you consider yourself an adventurous person, you might want to consider heading overseas to teach English in a foreign country. Obviously, this gig isn’t for everyone (people with a full-time job they need to keep, for example)- but if you can take time off from your normal life and want to experience a gig like no other- this could be your ticket to world travel.

How to Get Started

Teaching English overseas starts with finding a company to work with. In some countries, English teachers and tutors are in such high demand that companies advertise on expat sites looking for potential workers and pay for the one-way airfare ticket to get you there (you’ll either have to pay for your own ticket home or in some cases get the return ticket after you complete a 6-month or 1-year contract with the company.) Some well-known companies include English First and Wall Street English, which both have branches in many different countries around the globe. The highest demand will be in places where there are few English speakers, such as in Southeast Asia. If you get a certificate or degree in teaching English, your program may help you find a gig.

What You Need to Teach English Overseas

The main requirement to teaching English overseas is that you are a native speaker. A TEFL (Teacher of English as a Foreign Language) certificate will open up a lot more opportunities (and higher pay rates), but it isn’t an absolute necessity in some areas of the world. If you have any teaching or tutoring experience back home, that can help land a better teaching gig.

Things to Keep in Mind

Accept from the start that you’re not going to get a gig teaching English in Paris, Berlin or Rome. If that’s your goal, it’s just not going to happen. There are already plenty of English speakers with degrees in teaching and a passport or visa that lets them stay in western Europe indefinitely, and they’re already taking the jobs there. Eastern Europe might give you a better chance, and even more so if you’re willing to go teach in a rural or out-of-the-way area. Asia offers some of the best opportunities for English teaching- especially China, Vietnam, Thailand and South Korea. Japan has opportunities, but it’s somewhat saturated with applicants to teach, so you need to stand out from the crowd to get a gig there. South America is another option to consider, and English teachers are in demand in Saudia Arabia and other areas of the Middle East. African countries offer a growing opportunity for English teaching, although there are not as many programs available yet in Africa.

Tutoring for Cash

Photo by Prime Education
Photo by Prime Education

Take advantage of your expert status or your extensive knowledge about a subject, to make money teaching others one-on-one. Getting work as a private tutor is fairly easy, and there’s plenty of work to be had. Here’s the scoop on tutoring for cash.

What Tutoring Involves

Tutors teach a subject one-on-one to someone who wants to learn it. Tutors can make anywhere from $20 to $100 or more per hour, depending on the subject and local demand. High school or college math tutors are almost always in demand, while tutors for elementary school subjects are less needed because more people have the skills to teach those subjects. Tutoring is an especially lucrative side gig for teachers and for anyone with a college degree in an in-demand subject (such as math, computer science, chemistry, or a foreign language.)

Advantages of Getting Paid to Tutor Kids and Adults

One of the biggest advantages of tutoring as a side job is the flexibility. Tutors set their own hours, and you can schedule tutoring sessions whenever you want. You can also opt to tutor in your home or go to the client’s home- or even schedule a session at the school library or in a local coffeeshop. You can even find tutoring gigs on the web, through online tutoring agencies, or you can opt to tutor through a specialized tutoring center that finds clients for you.

Disadvantages of Tutoring as a Gig

The biggest disadvantage to tutoring as a gig is the lack of reliability (a common trait of side gigs in general.) Students might cancel a scheduled session without giving you advance warning, or they might suddenly quit altogether after months of reliable sessions. Holidays and summers are typically slow because students aren’t in school and spend time with their families instead of studying.  Another disadvantage is that you might have to spend time traveling to each student’s house, which cuts into your hourly rate.

Finding Tutoring Gigs

If you want to succeed at finding tutoring gigs on your own, you’ll need a professional-looking website. Use online sites like Craigslist to find potential clients, providing a link to your website in your ad so interested students can see you’re a professional. You can also bring an informational brochure about your services to local schools to let them spread the word among students who might need some extra help in the subject you tutor.

Tips for Making Money Tutoring

The best tutors- the ones who get recommended to friends of their students- are people who are really good at explaining their subject to people who just don’t get it. Try finding multiple ways to explain the same concept, and learn about the different kinds of learners and how to reach them. Someone who is an auditory learner might need to hear you repeat the concept multiple times, while a visual learner will do better if you write or sketch out the idea on paper for them.