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An ESL Career Is A Short-Term One: Myth Or Real?

Posted on 23rd March 2022

Every statistical fact in this world has gotten a myth attached to it and that myth is having no real meaning. So is the case with careers in EFL. There is a myth that EFL/ESL teaching is only a part-time contract or only on a short-term basis. Teaching non-English speakers are having a monumental career opportunity across the globe and teachers having TEFL certifications are being hired in bulk throughout the whole season.

To be very honest, the qualities of ESL teachers depend on the schools that are hiring TEFL-qualified teachers. Some schools demand prior teaching experiences from TEFL teachers while some want TEFL teachers to have a Master’s degree. Thus, ESL careers depend a lot on the eligibility criteria as prescribed by schools; however, such careers can be anything but short-term.

Perks of considering an ESL career professionally


An ESL/EFL teacher has often this common question: how much can you make teaching English abroad? The answer is subjective and is dependent on the country he/she is traveling to. The salary of a TEFL teacher is proportional to various factors like job location, economic status of the country, the background of the teacher, type of TEFL certification programs he/she has gone through, prior teaching practices, type of school, and so on.

It has been observed that international schools and public schools pay a hefty amount to TEFL teachers. The eligibility criteria in these schools are of a higher standard as compared to private schools. Having said so, the eligibility criteria of a TEFL teacher also depends a lot on the economic status of a country. Teaching ESL students online in home countries will fetch a lower salary as compared to onsite classes but saving money is easier in the former case.

Schools in the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, etc., pay high salaries to TEFL teachers and they live comfortably over there. TEFL jobs are having a huge market in these countries throughout the whole year as the demand for the language English is pretty high. Non-English speaking students are quite high in numbers in these countries due to a vast ex-pat population. An internationally recognized TEFL certification course can help to crack a job in these countries.


  • Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) - teaching English to people who want to learn English for work or leisure reasons. TEFL can be done in the UK or abroad and usually involves short-term study.
  • Teaching English as a second language (TESL) - for people who live in an English-speaking country, but who don't speak English as a first language. Ex: Refugees, immigrants, etc.
  • Teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) - an umbrella term that commonly incorporates both TEFL and TESL (and variations such as ESOL and ESL).

There are several responsibilities of a TEFL teacher. It is not just about commuting to the academic institution or coming online on a video conference platform. A TEFL teacher plans the entire lesson keeping in mind the potential and mental capabilities of students. There can be young learners, adult learners, business professionals, corporate employees, and so on. Thus, planning the content as a lesson is a tough job but TEFL teachers excel in doing so.

Tracking the progress of ESL students is another important task of an ESL/EFL teacher. Conducting examinations, assigning tasks, collecting those, and then giving apt feedback, all fall under the KRAs of an English teacher. Thus, the longevity of a TEFL career is entirely depending upon how an English educator is doing his/her job.


There are several ways how an ESL teacher can create career longevity irrespective of teaching abroad or online.

  • Teaching English in private schools, international schools, IB schools, etc., should never go out of order. If an ESL teacher continues teaching in these schools either abroad or his/her home country, there will never be a cease in the career.
  • A TEFL teacher needs to have a website of his/her own where students can get information about the teacher. Besides, academic and professional allocations must be present there because that attracts students to a great extent.
  • If possible, one can open a language school of his/her own. It can be either online or onsite depending upon the budget of the teacher.
  • Having a 120 hours TEFL certification course is definitely of great value but up-gradation is always appreciated. A diploma, advanced diploma, or PG diploma in TEFL certification is an awesome way to upgrade oneself. Moreover, these certifications will always rank a TEFL teacher higher than candidates having only a 120 hour TEFL certificate.
  • Providing service to refugees or immigrants is another superb method.

The bottom line is that an ESL teaching career is not a short team and the salary package is not a mere one. Careers in TEFL will never go down as the demand for the language English is never going to fade out.

Written By : Sudeshna Guha Thakurta

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