What is an EFL teacher? The School Leaver Guide
What is an EFL teacher?
English-as-Foreign-Language (EFL) Teacher
Teaching English as a foreign language can offer a fantastic transition from education to work and, for many, offers desirable travel opportunities. EFL teachers help non-native speakers to learn English or improve their existing English skills.
What does an EFL teacher do?
EFL teachers can work in either the UK or abroad, wherever there is demand for English language teacher for non-English speakers. EFL teachers can either work with children in a school or college setting, or teach adults in dedicated language classes.
The daily responsibilities for an EFL teacher include:
- Teaching classes
- Advising individual class members
- Preparing teaching materials
- Preparing and marking tests
- Organising cultural activities
Skills & interests required for an EFL teacher
It goes without saying that EFL teachers need to be fluent in English and confident in their ability to teach non-native speakers the nuances of the English language. You may find yourself teaching people with absolutely no knowledge of English, or alternatively offering expert help to pupils who are already almost fluent. Ideally, you will have had experience of learning another language to a decent level in order for you to both explain concepts to your class in their native language(s), as well as to give you a sense for what approaches are most helpful.
You will need to be passionate about helping people learn English, as well as able to control and direct a classroom full of students.
This depends on your employer and the kind of employment, many EFL teaching jobs involve weekend and evening work and you will spend time outside the classroom planning classes and trips.
A school, college or educational facility. You may also be required to visit individual clients at home if teaching English on a one-to-one basis.
A large number of employers offer EFL teaching schemes to go abroad, to China for example.
Salary ranges & earning potential
Starter salaries range from £14,000 to £25,000 per annum and more experienced teachers can earn £27,000 to £35,000.
Those working overseas may have different salary ranges (as well as levels of tax to pay), so it is worthwhile doing some research on the countries you might be interested in working in before you apply for a position.
Perks & benefits
Opportunities for travel are the most obvious perks of an EFL teaching job. Some overseas employers may also offer free or subsidised accommodation and assistance with travel costs. You will often be one of a number of EFL teachers at an institution, and so the job can be highly sociable.
No formal requirements but many employers offer places on EFL teaching schemes only to graduates. Most will also expect you to have a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualification, which is the most expected route into the field.
Useful subjects to study at school
- Education Studies / Teaching
- Foreign languages are particularly useful