Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Are You Too Old to Teach English Abroad?

Updated 21 December 2012

Where You Can Teach
You can still teach abroad if you're older. Age may not be as much of a hindrance as you may believe. Johnpartee (age 58) says that he usually asks prospective employers if they're going to hold his experience and wisdom against him. If you're getting older (45, 50, 55, depends on the country) you should try to find a job you like and stay there as long as you can. In many societies, older people are viewed with respect, they often have more education and experience than those fresh out of university. Here are some countries have been known to be more accommodating to mature teachers.
  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Bahrain
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Egypt
  • Estonia
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iraq
  • Japan
  • Kuwait
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon
  • Lithuania
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Peru
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • UAE (look at ADEC)
  • USA
  • Vietnam
  • Worldwide: Quality Schools International
Visa Restrictions
Be aware than some countries may have age restrictions for visas and may vary between 55-65, so be sure to be honest with your employer beforehand. ISR has compiled an article on countries and age limits. The good news is that after spending a certain amount of time in a country as a resident you can often become a permanent resident. ISR also asked people where they could work and here are their responses (almost 500 of them!).

Documents to Help You TEFL
Tweak your CV and play up any teaching or tutoring experience such as teaching new employees, managing training sessions, and even running meetings are all useful in the teaching world. If you're already an experienced teacher then you might be able to get a head teacher or director position. See writing a teaching CV for more tips. If you're getting into teaching from another career read this article about transferrable skills.

Before You Start TEFLing
If you’re not a teacher ask yourself if you would enjoy teaching. You should try volunteering in your local community first. You will also have to take some practical concerns into consideration. Not all countries may equipped with facilities that you take for granted, such as elevators. Take a look at the questions below and if you answer “yes” to the majority of them then you’re up to the challenge of teaching overseas.

  • Can you get around old streets, hills, steps or stairs made of rocks of bricks?
  • Can you live in a place without central heating or AC?
  • Is it ok for you to stand on your feet for a couple hours at a time?
  • Will you be able to work with active young children, talkative teens, or tired adults?
  • Are you up to playing games in class or moving around the room?
  • If you need medicine or require a special diet, can you get this where you want to live?
  • Are you up to the challenge of learning a new language (at least the basics) and about new customs?
Websites for Job Searching
In addition to the sites I've listed here, below you can find some age-specific sites.
This article has been published in the Turkish University Press.


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