The Ultimate Guide to TEFL in South Africa

The Ultimate Guide to TEFL in South Africa

The ultimate Guide to TEFL: Did you know that there are actually 11 official languages in South Africa? There is also a myriad of local languages spoken all over the Republic. English is one of the official languages, but only around 10% of people are native English speakers. It’s fair to say that most people living in South Africa are exposed to English enough that most of them understand what is being said, especially if they are residents of urban areas.

It used to be true that there was not much demand for English teachers in South Africa, but this has changed, and now we are increasingly seeing an increase in roles for English teachers in the country. In some areas, it is a language taught in schools, and some schools do teach exclusively in English, but in other places, there are lots of locals who are looking to learn English as a second language, creating job opportunities for tutors like yourself. So, let’s have a look at teaching English as a foreign language in South Africa.

The Basics to the Ultimate guide to TEFL

The basic prerequisites of teaching English as a foreign language apply in South Africa in the same way as they do in other parts of the world. You will have to have a TEFL qualification that is accredited and recognised internationally, such as the ones we offer. Some places will be looking for degree-level education. Others are happy with just the TEFL certification. You will find opportunities in the same sort of establishments as other countries, for example, public schools, private schools and language schools. There is also a high demand for volunteer teachers, but of course, this doesn’t suit everybody if you need an income while travelling.

The Academic Year

In South Africa, the school year runs from February, so if you are looking for a position, November is the optimum period to find Work. Language schools are slightly different; they tend to offer evening and weekend classes to people who cannot otherwise attend school hours. For example, for adults looking to learn English to help better their careers and take part in the international job market, a lot of language schools prefer to hire local teachers. However, trying carries no harm. If you distinguish yourself, you might become the chosen candidate for the role.


Right to Work and Legal Status

The Ultimate Guide to TEFL: It’s obviously going to be easier to find work In the bigger cities, and that includes Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. Generally, people consider it good etiquette to personally visit schools when job hunting. You may need to travel to the country, intending to stay and seek employment. Make sure you have a stack of up-to-date CVs and a local phone number, which you can easily be contactable on. You will need to check on your right to work, and this varies depending on where you come from. Of course, you need the correct visas and documentation, which almost always includes a clean police check, so it’s worth getting that done before you even start looking for work.

Some Useful Links

Getting to Know English Centre: located in Pretoria. This is a great place to look for work. They offer English lessons to anyone wanting to learn and have six different levels, starting with complete beginners and working up to more advanced English. They also have TOEFL and IELTS preparation classes, and native English speakers are their preferred staff members.

British Council: another good place to make your presents known is the British Council in South Africa. You would need to have a degree to work with them and, of course, your recognised TEFL certification. They tend to favour existing teachers, but everyone has to start somewhere, and you might find the way in is there for you.

Interlink: although they tend to favour South African teachers, interlink does consider working with teachers from other countries provided they are native English speakers, have the correct TEFL qualifications and have cleared the right to work in the country. Their pay is reasonable at R70 per hour.

Cape Studies: it’s also worth getting in touch with Cape Studies; they offer various courses in English, from business English to general English, including exam preparation. Remember that you can take extra courses alongside your TEFL to specialise in things like adult education or business English.

Durban Language Centre: language centres, as we’ve already mentioned, tend to hold their classes in the evenings, so it’s more likely that you will be teaching adult learners. They offer one-to-one classes as well as group classes and are always happy to meet with new TEFL teachers.

Volunteering as an English Teacher in South Africa

If you are looking for experience as an English teacher in a foreign country or struggling to find work in South Africa, you could have a look at the numerous volunteer projects that they have running. Although you don’t actually get paid, you are normally provided your food and accommodation. Often, you do have to fund your own flights.

It’s also normal to have extra charges for things like arranging visas. Yet, many reputable companies actively assist you in getting set up to volunteer and teach English in South Africa. You are not usually required to have any qualifications other than being a native English speaker with a demonstratable level for passing on knowledge to other people. That said, if you intend to pursue a career teaching English as a foreign language, having your TEFL certification is a great way to set yourself up for success. You could also end up making valuable contacts that lead to paid work down the line.

Classes typically conclude by 2:30 pm, allowing time to explore the local area. However, you are expected to prepare for the next day’s class. Placements for volunteers last between 2 and 12 weeks, making it a great summer vacation project if you are at university. It looks good on the CV, and you also gain some valuable experience for obtaining paid TEFL work later in life.

TEFL Teacher

Teaching Online as an English Teacher in South African

Another option available to you as an English teacher in South Africa is to teach English online. Perhaps you have managed to secure a part-time job and want to top up your income or have only managed to find volunteer work, in which case extra money is always welcome. The benefit of teaching English online is that your students can come from anywhere in the world. You are not limited to just local South African students.

To teach English online successfully, ensure you possess a globally recognized and accredited TEFL qualification, like the ones we provide. Teaching English online is quite anonymous, and it’s important that you make it clear to an employer that while you are living in South Africa, you are not local and do not have a strong South African accent. Many online English teaching establishments prefer their teachers to have no accent, if possible. If they see South Africa as your contact address, you may never hear back unless you confirm your native status and the fact that you do not have a South African accent. Generally, they are more than happy with British, American, Irish or Canadian accents.

A lot of online English schools will have self-employed teachers, in which case you need to take into account any tax regulations that you need to abide by depending on where you are living. Others may employ you, but sometimes the pay isn’t great. It’s always worth checking out the small print before signing up.

More About Pretoria

You may remember that we mentioned Pretoria, South Africa as one option for finding work as an English teacher in South Africa, so let’s have a look at this area in a bit more detail. Pretoria is the administrative capital of the country, and you will often find it referred to as Jacaranda City. This is because they have an amazing collection of over 70,000 Jacaranda trees, which blossom in October and November, giving a fantastic purple hue. Nestled near the Magaliesberg mountains and close to the Apies River, this beautiful area offers a lively nightlife in the Hatfield Square area, with numerous bars and nightclubs for those interested.

Get to Know Pretoria

There are lots of shopping malls, with the Menlyn Shopping Centre being the biggest with over 300 outlets. If you are planning to live in Work in Pretoria, you should avoid tourist areas as these tend to be more expensive and live like a local. Pretoria has received bad press over the years for being a dangerous place to live, but if you use common sense, do not go out at night alone, and stick to built-up areas, you are generally fine. We hope you enjoyed The Ultimate Guide to TEFL

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