Can I be a TEFL Teacher in Native English-Speaking Countries?

When you think about teaching English as a foreign language, you usually think about places like Africa, Japan, or maybe even Asia. These are all places where English is not a commonly spoken language and is instead taught as a second language, similar to how people in the UK might learn French or German. But, it is possible to become a TEFL teacher in a native English speaking countries.

However, nowadays, people look at teaching English as a foreign language in places like the US, Canada, certain parts of Europe, and the United Kingdom. Is it possible to build a career teaching English as a foreign language in a place where English is the primary spoken language? Technically speaking, yes, yes it is. However, you also have to understand that there are more than a few things to keep in mind when trying to move to a native English-speaking country to begin your career as a TEFL teacher, so let’s talk about what you need to know.

English-Speaking Countries and TEFL

So, for most people, the idea of teaching English as a foreign language in a native English-speaking country is probably one that causes a little bit of confusion. After all, how can you teach English to people who are already living in an environment where people speak English all the time? Surely they will have already learned the basics and thus don’t require specialist teaching support? 

Well, obviously, people are continually learning English throughout their school years, so it’s still taught in schools in native-speaking countries. However, you may struggle a little bit with teaching English as a foreign language, simply because there are more than a few roadblocks in your way. 

The TEFL Institute, TEFL, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom

Teaching English – Public Schooling

Unfortunately, it seems almost like public schools were put in place specifically for the purpose of stopping you from becoming an English teacher in most cases. Any English-speaking country has a public school system where qualified teachers teach English. It’s taught in the same way as other primary languages in other parts of the world. In Japan, Japanese students are taught Japanese as a primary language, in Asia different dialects are taught depending on the location of the school, and so on. 

Harder Than You Think

Now, you might think that you can get a job working in a public school teaching English to people, but it’s very rarely as simple as that. Public schooling requires a certain level of experience and qualifications in order to get a job. In the UK, for example, you need a degree in a subject, and then you also need to get a PGCE, a qualification enabling you to teach students. 

The other main issue is that there won’t be any real scope for you to teach English as a foreign language in public schools because it’s not a foreign language. You would essentially have gone through the process to become a normal English teacher rather than one teaching a foreign language, which makes it very difficult to get a proper TEFL career in these countries if you just use public schooling.

Other Solutions

Now, it’s very important that you don’t get discouraged about your prospects working as a TEFL teacher in a country where English is the main spoken language. There are still other opportunities for you to pursue a career, and it’s important to recognise the value of all of them if you want to be able to build the life you want.

One thing that all native English-speaking countries usually have in common is that they have a regular stream of immigrants and visitors who move there permanently for work opportunities. People come from all over the world to take part in Weston’s business process, meaning that you get people who have come from Japan, Asia, Africa, or the Middle East to work in America or the UK.

Finding Your Target Audience

Now, obviously, once you have identified that there is still potential to become a teacher of English as a foreign language in a native English-speaking countries, you have to find your target audience. 

You’re likely not going to be teaching the children of families who have moved here from abroad because these young people will be put into the public education system of whatever country you want to work in. They will receive an English education provided by the state, and this education will be the same as any other student who was born and raised in that country. So, that’s not going to work for you, but there is another possibility you could look into.

Families who have come from abroad or single people who have come to start a new life may not speak English in any real way. If they grew up in another country where English wasn’t provided as a second language, then they probably don’t know much English beyond a few words. Understandably, this puts them at a massive disadvantage when it comes to trying to find a job in a native English-speaking country because they can’t understand what’s going on.

This is your main target audience if you want to teach English as a foreign language in a place where English is the primary language. You allow these people to learn English for work purposes, and in return, you get to build the career you want.

Language Schools

If you want to be able to stand any chance at teaching English as a foreign language in a place like the US or the UK, then you’re going to have to get very familiar with the concept of a language school. We talk about language schools quite a lot because we recommend them to new TEFL teachers who are just starting their careers. However, they are also a good way to teach English in places where English is already the primary language because they cater to specific people.

These types of schools are designed specifically for people who want to learn English later in their lives and couldn’t do it when they were in school. So, the people that we talked about earlier, the people who came over to a Western country from another part of the world and don’t speak English very well, will register for English classes at a language school so they can learn to speak English conversationally in order to pick up new job opportunities and fit in with the local community.

There are two different types of English that are normally taught in a language school. The first is everyday English, which teaches you how to have a conversation with someone and how to ask normal questions relating to everyday life, like how to pay for the bus or how to talk to someone about the weather.

The other type of English which is taught in a language school is business English. Now, business English is a little bit different because it contains many words and phrases that aren’t normally used in conversation with people you meet on the street. They contain business terms which are used in business settings, and they are very important for anybody who wants to get a good job in the corporate world. Business English is a key language to be able to speak for both native English speakers and those who are learning it as a second language.

teacher with school kids in a classroom teaching

Working For Language Schools

Working for a language school is probably your best bet at teaching English as a foreign language in a place where English is the native spoken language. It’s important to know a little bit about what your new contract will look like because it impacts the type of career you can build. First, you should know that most lessons tend to take place in the evenings or on the weekends. People have to fit learning English around other commitments, so anybody with a full-time job can’t really take any lessons during the day.

The second thing you need to know, and this is more of a general warning than anything else, is that you can’t easily get many full-time contracts. Language school is great, and we definitely recommend people work with them, but they don’t usually have full-time contracts available. It’s normally part-time, typically about 25 to 30 hours.

These are just things to keep in mind. The other truth is that there are more creative ways to teach English as a foreign language in places like the US and the UK.

Tutoring and Online Work

If you are looking to teach English as a foreign language but can’t make enough money doing it just through a language school, then your other option is to go and look at tutoring either in the local area or working online.

These may seem like two different options, but the other thing to consider is that they basically fall under the same category of “running a small business”.

Tutoring is pretty straightforward. You set up a tutoring business in your local area, and you charge a certain amount for an hour’s lessons. You get to decide how much you charge and when you work, and you generally have some freedom at your disposal. This is really good if you want to try and fit this in around working at a language school on the weekends or evenings.

Teaching online is a similar sort of thing. In fact, it’s often very similar to a practice, but there are a couple of differences. You don’t have to work in your local area. You can work wherever you’d like and teach on the other side of the country if you have a secure job. Its possible to get remote jobs with language schools in other places, But it is pretty much the same as a small business as you will have to handle everything yourself and decide what kind of prices you’re willing to accept.

Finally, it’s important to understand that if you do either of these things unless a recognised business employs you, you will technically have to disclose any income to the government and pay whatever taxes are required in the area.

Teaching English in English Countries

So, when it comes to teaching English as a foreign language in countries where English is already the primary language, it’s important to recognise that you can still make a career out of it. It’s not necessarily the easiest thing to do, and you may have to look at alternative options more than other countries, but you can still enjoy life in the Western world and build a career.

Your main goal will always be to try to understand the target audience for your services. You’re not teaching children in Western countries because they are already getting a good education in public schools. Now, it’s something you could aim for later down the road, but for now, it’s important to start building your career as soon as possible, which means you must be prepared to look at language schools and tutoring services.

Lots of people teach English as a foreign language in native English-speaking countries like the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other areas where English is the main language besides these. It’s a perfectly acceptable way to build up experience, and then if you want to move to a different country, you could. Obviously, we recommend that you complete one of our courses to get your training and start building up your new career. It’s very important to understand what your options are before you commit to a course, so hopefully, you’ve been able to work that out.

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