Some of the best TEFL teaching jobs that often go overlooked are located in your home country. That may come as quite a surprise if you’ve been under the impression you have to move abroad the country X or city Y to really make good money. However, with the demographics of Western countries constantly in flux, the demand for TEFL certified teachers is consistently growing. The surprising part of this is that many of these teaching jobs actually pay better than jobs in other parts of the world including Asia and the Middle East. If you have the right qualifications and want to get into TEFL teaching it may be worth looking in your home country before you think about uprooting your life to move abroad.
Why should you consider teaching English in your home country?
While many people entering the ESL industry are seeking an international experience that includes traveling abroad, venturing into a different culture, meeting new people, and possibly learning a new language, all of this can actually be experienced right at home. If you live in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, there are an abundance of work opportunities for ESL teachers. Recent immigrants and international students will likely make up most of the English language learners you would be teaching, and many of them would be happy to develop rich relationships and open up their world with you. These relationships can sustain well beyond those you may forge overseas, as you are in your home, and many of your students have made your home their new home.
Moving abroad is not a small sacrifice. You’ll need to consider relatives getting older at home while you’re abroad, and how you’ll bridge the distance when this happens. If you have family that would be accompanying you abroad, the cultural experience for them will be amazing. But the return home will most almost surely come with reverse culture shock. As years go by, people change, and so will you. Your home will change, too. You will remember it as you left it, but it will have changed and you may not be able to easily re-integrate after living abroad for some time.
Teaching English in your home country, on the other hand, means you are already set up at home. You aren’t going to have to uproot your life and adjust to life in a new country. You won’t be doing anything out of the ordinary to live and earn money. Plus, if you want to develop your career, or change it, you’re more likely to succeed doing that at home, where the options available are geared to the local populace.
Moving to a new country is tough. Don’t let the romanticization of it fool you. It is a major life adjustment, chock full of sacrifices and compromises, and oftentimes will even come with challenges to your personal values.
For some people, this is going to be a fun learning experience. To others, however, this is going to be a nightmare. There is plenty of demand in English speaking countries for TEFL teachers.
What TEFL teaching jobs are available in my home country?
You may be quite surprised at just how many teaching jobs are open in your home country. Not only at the quantity but at the variety. There are plenty of opportunities for teachers outside of just the traditional school jobs.
For example, in the United States, there are plenty of prison systems that hire ESL teachers to work with non-violent inmates who are non-native speakers. These programs are designed to help them prepare for reintegrating into society and often accompany other college or vocational courses. One such part-time job which I found on a job site paid in the range of $50 – $60 per hour depending on experience. There are many like this that pay at this level.
If the idea of being surrounded by prisoners isn’t your thing then you can look into after-school programs. In many parts of the United States, and probably Great Britain and Canada, there are an abundance of after-school programs catering to non-native speakers. These programs are in desperate need of well qualified TEFL teachers in order to work with students. Pay at many of these types of after-school programs is $30 – $40 per hour and even more sometimes.
If you are looking to go the more traditional teaching route then there are an abundance of positions available in public school systems around the United States. In almost every part of America, there are non-native speaking populations that have immigrated and are attending the local school districts. Some hotspot states for TEFL teaching jobs include New York, Texas, California, Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, Michigan, and many other states.
This is just for the United States. Canada and Great Britain have also seen a steady rise in immigration over the past few decades and with this has come an increased demand for qualified TEFL teachers. There are quite literally thousands of jobs open to teachers who are willing to take them. Many of these jobs come with generous pay and benefits.
What are some things to consider?
As I stated above, many of these jobs pay extremely well when compared to similar positions in popular teaching destinations such as China and South Korea. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can make more money. Let’s look into that further using a recent job posting on indeed to highlight this point.
A recent listing on the jobs site indeed showed an ESL instructor position in Los Angeles that paid $60.43 per hour for part-time work. Specific hours were not given so I am going to make the assumption that part-time in this case is probably around 20-25 hours or a little more each week. This totals to around $62,847 – $78,559 each year.
That’s a very handsome salary for an ESL job anywhere in the world. In fact, when compared to other high paying countries for TEFL teaching jobs that is one of the best. This also isn’t just a one-off type job. A quick search will find other jobs around the United States with similar pay. However, all that glitters is not gold.
You will most likely receive benefits such as paid vacation, overtime, insurance, and retirement benefits at a job such as the above described. However, there are other benefits which many teaching positions abroad offer that you won’t get in your home country such as paid accommodations and free schooling for your children if you have any. With that in mind let us look at that salary after taxes and expenses have been factored in.
I’m going to be liberal with the numbers and assume that you are getting the full $78,000 each year. The state tax rate for California is around 13% and the federal income tax rate for an individual at that salary is around 22%. Add to that the average cost of rent for a one bedroom apartment in Los Angeles which is around $2,000 each month and it looks something like this:
After state income tax = $68,347
After federal income tax = $51,065
After rent (assuming average price of $2,068) = $26,249
This is before you’ve even paid for utilities and food. At the end of the year, you are going to be left with very little money to put in the bank.
Now, this is an extreme example as California is one of the most expensive states to live in the United States, making it also one of the most expensive places to live in the world. However, this is something to think about as the United States, as well as Canada, Great Britain, and other Western countries, are going to generally have a higher cost of living than most other countries popular with ESL teachers.
If your goal is to make and save money or to pay off debt then moving abroad to teach in a country with a lower cost of living and where job benefits include accommodations may still be a better option. However, should your goal be to find a well-paying job in your home country then realize that there are plenty to be found.
What are some final thoughts?
Even though many people are going to want to move abroad for TEFL teaching jobs, it is worth looking into jobs in your home country. As shown above, many of these jobs offer very generous pay and benefits to teachers with the right qualifications. This is on top of the fact that you are already in a place you know so you aren’t making any dramatic changes to your life. If you are thinking of getting into TEFL teaching or if you are already a TEFL teacher abroad but are thinking of moving back to your home country, it is worth realizing that the demand for qualified and experienced teachers has never been greater. There are an abundance of openings with great pay and benefits that are going unfilled. One of these positions may be the perfect opportunity for you.