You Wanted Help Finding An English Teaching Job? Be Careful What You Ask For!

Help in Finding an English Teaching Job

You Wanted Help Finding An English Teaching Job?

(Updated 20 November 2019)

People write to me frequently for help in finding a job in the Philippines.  Normally I just refer them to this article:

10 Reasons You Don’t Want A Job In The Philippines

(Go, ahead, read it, I’ll wait here for you).

But I’ve decided to make an exception to my rule of “No Help On Finding Jobs” because the market is so huge and the need is so great.

Both for foreigners here in the Philippines and for those who are thinking about moving here and need extra money to save up for the move.

These are jobs you can do from home, wherever home can be.  And you can start in the USA and then transfer your work seamlessly to the Philippines (taking into account the time zone differences).

Finding Jobs That Pay You To Teach English Online … In Any Country

Here’s a place to start for anyone.

Good Air Language

This website is run by a fellow who is really into the “Teaching English Online” business space and the work he has put into it is amazing.

The first link is to the main page of his site and as you will see he has a number of lists of companies who want Online English Teachers.

Now some of these companies ask for a 4-year college degree.

Some require that degree be in teaching.

Others require a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate.

But in a brief read through I see many that do lot list that many requirements.  Do you want me to read each one in detail and highlight only those, for example, that don’t require a degree?

Well, sorry, I won’t, that’s your job if you want a job.

Requirements Are Not Always Hard and Fast, Either

Especially for those job seekers who might be in their 50’s or 60’s .. exactly my target audience here … Jobs For Those Over 50 … it’s always possible to ask a company directly if you can substitute your years of experience for a degree.  So many in the 50 plus bracket sell themselves so short … you have a lifetime of experience under your belt.  If you haven’t read this article, I think you should:

Here’s One Of The Reasons I Tell You To Think Bigger — You Are So Much More

(Go, ahead, read it, I’ll wait here for you).

A real-life example.  When I was living in Tokyo on an assignment for the USAF, I met a Japanese fellow who ran a little “store-front” English language school.  English language schools are a busy little business in Japan, even though many Japanese high school students take more credit hours in English than American high school students do.

(more on that little factoid later in this article)

I already knew that this language school required a bachelor degree (minimum), a formal teaching credential and the possession of either a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) certificate.  (The TEFL or the TESL have now been replaced by the TESOL).

Since I had none of these qualifications and at 50 plus years of age was not in the mood to seek and certifications, I just thought meeting this gentleman was a mere social obligation.

But it turns out the reason he had arranged to meet with me was he wanted me to go to work for him.  ReallY?  Yes, really.  Keep reading and I’ll explain soon.

Another question I od=ften get asked is:

Can My Filipino wife do this work also?

Well, possibly she can.  Here’s a whole list of companies who accept non-native English speakers.

The List of Non-Native Online English Teaching Companies

As you can see there’s quite a bit of opportunity out there for anyone who has mastered English … something all of you reading this far certainly have.

Are There Schools Out There Hiring Today?

Well, yes there are.  And the good folks at GoodAirLanguage have covered that base for us as well.

List of Online English Teaching Companies that are Currently Hiring

What a great resource “Good Air Language” is.  Hat’s off to the whole team there.

Buy the way I am not affiliated with this site in any way and I have no knowledge of the hiring sites they link to.  I’m offering these links as a service, I’m not making any money off them.

But now that I have spent 700 words of your time doing what I said I wouldn’t do … helping you find a job, here is why I think

 These Solutions Are Bad For Most Expats

First, teaching as a job, as opposed to teaching (or coaching) as a business for yourself is a bad deal.  The most you usually get paid is about 1/3 of the value you bring in to the employer. Better to _be_ the employer yourself, rather than work for one.

Second, working someone else’s schedule is a real PITA at times.  Better to arrange your own business on your own terms.

Third, “Teaching English”, especially to elementary age students 9as many of these job listings are) is hard and difficult work, and likely requires the skills and experience gained by folks with a degree and a teaching credential.

What I Recommend You Focus On Is “ConversationaL English” or “English Coaching”

This is what that school owner fellow in Japan wanted me for .. and hired me for and paid me quite handsomely for.

Coaching students who wanted to improve their accent and to learn how to “talk like an American” when doing business with someone from USA.

There is a huge market for this sort of coaching work, and there is no degree required by any country, anywhere, because you are NOT holding yourself out as a “teacher”, you are a coach or a tutor.

Remember I Said Earlier That Many Japanese Folks Have As Much Or More Formal English Training Than You Do?

Well, it’s true.  Japanese high school students in college preparatory course go to school 6 days a week, and typically have enough academic credits by the end of their Junior year to graduate from most US high schools.  They have a lot of English credits.

In their senior year of high school, they typically go to school all day on Sunday, their seventh day of class for the week, to attend informal “cram schools” designed to get them high scores on individual college entrance exams.

The Japanese, in general, are damn serious about formal education.

Their Education Is Great, Their Accent and Usage?  Well, Not So Much

And in addition to being serious about education, most educated Japanese are very serious about looking and sounding right.  They watch TV, they see the same movies you and I see, and they know that they don’t sound ar all like the English speakers they see on TV.

That’s where you can come in as a coach or a cob=versational English “practice partner”.

Remember I Wrote Earlier About The Language School Owner Who Wanted Me?

Well, it turns out the fellow knew exactly who I was because my deputy at work, Curt,  another American, had been working Saturdays for this language school for years.

Every Saturday Curt spent about 6 hours with middle-aged executives from a large Japanese corporation.  The company was paying the tuition of these men and women in order to improve their accent and conversational skills.

Often the classes were as simple as roleplaying on the telephone, with”Curt the Coach” listening correcting and encouraging them as they went along.

My new language school owner friend had many other orders for similar coaching courses.

I was offered $30USD per coaching hour, and I jumped at the chance since I could set my own hours.

I started with a student named Soji-san.  He was a man almost the same age as me, 54 at the time, and he was an executive working for the Japanese subsidiary of a large American firm.  He had an MBA, and often asked me questions about English technicalities that I couldn’t answer right away.  I just speak the darn language, I’m not a degreed teacher … never will be.

He had relied for years upon his secretaries to take phone calls from the USA office and he confessed that at 54 years old he was terrified of speaking English on the telephone.  The time had come, he had decided, to conquer his fears and stop avoiding important business calls.

Age Makes a Difference Too

This is somewhat an issue in all cultures, but in the Japanese culture, in particular, age is important,

A man like Soji-san would not be comfortable with a teacher or coach in his or her 20’s.  And in Japna, the young man or woman would not be comfortable with a 50-plus student.

Many of you reading this are at an age and experience level where your comfort zone would watch perfectly with a student like Soji-san.  Did you know getting older has its advantages?

We Didn’t Use Any Books Or Classroom Aids

Remember, Soju-san, my student, was very academically skilled in English.  We didn’t need any of those silly “Dick and Jane” sort of cartoon textbooks.  In fact, do you know what Soji-san and I spent our most successful weeks of coaching on?

Our retirement plans

Soji-san worked for a large corporation with a generous, but very complicated retirement plan.  I was working for the USAF as a “GS” civilian.  Like Soji-san, I had a generous, but relatively complicated plan.

And we were both close to our retirement year, so we both had a LOT of interest in the ins and outs of our plans.

We spent many a happy session, each explaining (in English only) different details of our plan to one another.  Soji-san’s accent improved greatly.  With his mind on eligibility rules. and details and dates and percentages he “forgot” to be nervous about his pronunciation.

And I had fun too, I was surprised how much I didn’t know about my own plan.  (If you want to really learn something, teach it).  It was fun for both of us and I got paid a lot and Soji-san learned a lot.

OK, Old War Stories About Soji-san Aren’t Helping You Today

I’ve written a lot of words on this subject already   In general, people don’t read that much anymore, so many may have left already, bored.

I’ll just finish up with some bullet points,

  • Be a coach and not a formal teacher
  • Chose a target market like Japanese folks your age
  • Hang out where they hang out (example LOTs of groups on FB about Japanese learning English)
  • Offer yourself up as a coach,  See what response you get.
  • Refine your offer based on feedback until something “clicks”.
  • Set your own schedule.
  • Keep all the profits

So let me hear your thoughts on Finding An English Teaching Job.

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