Short-term TEFL jobs and summer jobs
Many jobs teaching English abroad require a year-long contract, or sometimes longer. Most of the time, if you are going to move to another country, you’ll want to stay for at least a year. However, we’ve all been in those situations where we want or need temporary work – just a short-term job teaching English abroad. Here are some suggestions on short-term TEFL jobs.
Short-term jobs teaching English for Westgate Japan
Westgate provide teachers to various schools and universities all over Japan for one semester, either Spring or Summer. You need to apply for one of the programs, either university or elementary school and then you are placed somewhere in Japan. If you teach English for Westgate, they pay you a salary and provide you with accommodation, which they deduct the price of from your monthly pay. They look after everything including visas and flights and give you training when you arrive.
Westgate require you to have an undergraduate degree and a TEFL certificate or teaching qualification, although if you have significant teaching experience, it seems that they will waive this.
We know a few people who have taught English on the Westgate programs and liked it, but until we get one of them to blog about it for us, This Open Road and Gone Seoul Searching have written lots of blogs about it.
Teaching English for one semester in China or Thailand
Although schools might prefer to employ a teacher for a full academic year, there are plenty of short-term TEFL jobs available in both China and Thailand – for one semester. In Thailand, the school semester runs from April to October, and October to March, so they are around five months each. China follows a more traditional semester system of September to January/February (depending on when Spring Festival (otherwise known as Chinese New Year) is, and then from February/March to June/July.
Particularly before the second semester (October for Thailand and January/February for China) schools look for teachers for one semester because teachers have left. This can be a warning sign – they left because they didn’t like the job, but there can be a variety of reasons why a teacher leaves mid-year.
In Thailand, you can find jobs in kindergartens, and primary and secondary schools, both private and government. Look for jobs on Ajarn.com. Schools do prefer that you are in the country before they will reply to your application, though, as they are usually working to a short deadline to find a teacher.
Because of the demand for teachers at schools all over Thailand, programs exist like the one we trained on. They put you through a four-week course in how to teach English, and then place you in a school for one semester. This can be a great opportunity to get your TEFL certificate and see if you like teaching English and teaching English in Thailand.
Be aware, though, that some of these positions are empty for a reason, and such programs are sometimes used to fill vacancies that others don’t want. There are stories of participants being sent to remote areas of Thailand when they expected to be in Bangkok or Chiang Mai.
In China you can also find short-term TEFL jobs for one semester in universities, teaching communication classes, which are basically to improve the spoken English of their students. These jobs usually provide accommodation and flights, as well as a salary. The salaries can be quite low, but then so is the cost of living in the smaller cities in China.
If you’re interested in teaching English in China, we’ve got interviews with people teaching English in China.
Teaching English at UK TEFL summer schools
If you hold a European passport there is a lot of work at TEFL summer schools in the UK. Students from all over the world come to the UK to improve their English during their holidays. Many language schools in the UK increase their temporary staff then, and many other companies set up short-term schools all around the country.
While a lot of summer school work is with kids and teenagers, you can also work with adults.
Most of these schools run from around June to August, some for a month and some for two. Most are residential, so you get accommodation provided. You are often also responsible for other activities, like organising sports or games and taking students on day trips. You may even have to supervise bedtimes. It depends on the school.
Jobs at summer schools are advertised on TEFL.com from January onwards. You can still find work in May and even later. The British Council accredits summer schools in the UK and inspects them to check on conditions. If you want to check out your summer school, the list of accredited schools is here. You might want to start by applying to the top-ranked schools, which you can usually find a list of through ELT Gazette.
To teach on a British Council accredited summer school, you will need a teaching certificate, preferably a CELTA or Trinity certTESOL. Other schools will accept other certificates, and you can get a job without one I’d imagine (I did after I graduated, although that was a loooong time ago now!).
If you don’t have a teaching certificate, you can get a job as an activity manager, organising all the sports and craft activities as well as trips for the students.
You also need the right to work in the UK, so an EU passport, student visa or working holiday visa. If you are from the USA or Australia, the same summer schools happen there too, although being British, we don’t know much about them.
Some work is also available at Easter, and from then until the summer, as this is when the schools get busier.
Teaching English on a pre-sessional course
I would think that if you are qualified to teach on a pre-sessional course, that you already know of them, but this is for people who might want to do this in the future. International students are big business for universities in many western countries. The students need to attain a specific level of English before they start to study. Many of them will get the required IELTS or TOEFL grade before they arrive. However, for those that don’t, there are pre-sessional courses. These run for the summer before the September start and work on improving students’ academic English level.
The influx of students for pre-sessional courses means that universities employ more teachers to work on them. To get a job teaching pre-sessional, you will need a recognised teaching certificate, if not a Diploma or MA. You’ll also need significant experience, usually of academic English.
Teaching English at a summer camp in Europe
As well as the UK, there are summer schools in other countries in Europe, especially those with long school breaks in the summer. During July and August, the heat sends people out of the cities. Summer camps in Spain usually take place in the mountains, where it’s a bit cooler. They are residential, so you spend the whole time with the students. This might include playing sports and organising activities, supervising them at night, eating with them and taking them on trips.
This blog gives lots of information about teaching on summer camps in Spain, including a list of the more common ones. TEFL.com also has adverts for summer camps in Italy, Austria and other European countries.
There are summer camps in Ukraine, which are generally volunteer programs where you get bed and board in return for lessons. The teaching is usually to children from poorer areas who can’t afford language schools. One organisation that comes recommended by a friend of ours is Go Camp.
There are also camps in Thailand during their long breaks in February/March and September. You can find adverts for teachers on Ajarn.com and on Teaching in Thailand Facebook groups.
Teaching English short-term in Europe – January – June
As with Thailand and China, schools in Europe sometimes need to fill vacancies mid-year. Teachers go home or change their jobs for whatever reason at Christmas, and so in January there are a lot of jobs available. Many of these will accept a teacher until the summer, so that would be a 5-6 month contract.
We did this in Madrid back in 2008, after we finished our contract in Thailand. Madrid is a city that seems to be always in need of teachers. My school, Cambridge House, had one teacher leave at Christmas and they needed someone to take over her classes.
If you have an EU passport, you don’t need a work permit, so there is no problem with visas either. You can get work without a degree too. Check out TEFL.com for vacancies all over Europe during the academic year.
Temporary jobs teaching English in Language schools
While there are a lot of short-term jobs teaching English in schools and universities, language schools are also big business. The major difference in terms of time is that language schools teach year-round. In fact, they are often busier during the holidays, when students come during their school breaks. Although you may sometimes sign a year contract to teach in a language school, you can break this if you want to leave earlier. Some language schools can’t guarantee hours longer-term, and will just give you a few classes during the week. Once these classes end, they might not have anything else to offer you.
If you do decide to teach short-term for a language school, I would keep it quiet and I wouldn’t do it too often. If school directors see too many short-term jobs on your c.v you will look unreliable. They would much rather have someone longer term than to keep recruiting and training someone new.
If you are looking for a longer-term job teaching English, check out our post on Where to find jobs teaching English abroad.
Do you know of other places you can teach English short-term. Let us know so we can add it to the post.
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