Teaching English in 2021 ✅ What You Need to Know
Teaching English in 2021. A few people have told me about their teaching journey already, so keep letting me know what your plans are in terms of teaching English abroad or teaching English online. Somebody said they're interested in teaching online, so that's really cool. Someone new has just joined us from Laos, hi there. We have Margaret who is also teaching online, very cool. I’m going to talk a little bit about teaching English online in this presentation. Juliana says hi, I think you've watched before as I recognize your picture, thanks for tuning in again. It's really good to see new faces and old faces in our TEFL family today.
Watch the live session here
I have prepared some visuals that I'm going to share with you guys later and I will keep an eye on the comments so feel free to ask questions at any time and I will be happy to answer them. There will also be a Q&A session at the end if I miss any of your questions. If you are listening to this as a podcast episode, thanks so much for downloading we always convert our live sessions into podcast episodes, so if this is something you're interested in check us out on all major podcast platforms like iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. You can find us by searching for the TEFL and TESOL Podcast by ITTT. I always like to listen to podcasts while I'm driving, so check that out if you want to and then we're going to get into it.
We have another comment here from Ruby. I’m very much interested in teaching English online. And then we have a new visitor from the San Francisco Bay area, hi and welcome. I love San Francisco by the way, I really want to go back there. Okay then, let's jump right into it.
So like I said, all the things you need to know about teaching English in 2021, trends, predictions, and all the tips and tricks. But first, a little bit about myself. My name is Linda and I'm a travel writer and content creator at Linda Goes East, my personal website. It's kind of about South Korea, Asia, living abroad, teaching abroad, all that good stuff. I'm originally from Germany and the USA as my mom is German and my dad is American. I am based in South Korea and I've been here for five and a half years. Before Korea I also spent some time in China teaching English and then I moved to Korea in 2015. I'm also a TEFL and TESOL marketing professional at ITTT. You can find us at teflcourse.net and at International TEFL Training on Instagram. ITTT is a leading TEFL and TESOL course provider that provides online courses, in-class courses, and combined courses of all different personal preferences.
Thanks so much for tuning in, that’s enough about me now back to the topic. Like I said, please throw your comments at me at any time as that's what I'm here for. Don't be shy, let's have a conversation. I always like to ask you questions as well.
So what do you need to know about teaching English in 2021?
Firstly, I would like to share this report from UNESCO that I read recently and thought was really interesting. According to this report the world needs around 69 million new teachers to reach the 2030 education goal. This is a goal to provide education for all student's primary and secondary education across the world. So we need 69 million more new teachers to reach that goal and provide education for every child in the world. This report shows you how great the demand for teachers is and that the demand continues to grow as countries worldwide are eager to provide the teachers their people need. That's why there's also a lot of different government funded teaching programs that place foreign English teachers into schools around the world.
For example, in South Korea we have the EPIK Program. There is also the JET Program in Japan, as well as programs in France, Spain, Hungary, and Chile, to name just a few. Many more of these programs are popping up so if you're new to teaching and you're looking for a great opportunity to go abroad, these kinds of programs are a really good way to get started in teaching English. If you don't have any experience and don't know how to start, these programs guide you from beginning to end and place you into schools, it's a really great opportunity for anyone who's interested in teaching English abroad. I'm gonna put the link to this report into the comment section as it's a really interesting read if you want to take a look. Another reason I had for sharing this report is to highlight that although a lot of things stopped in 2020, teaching English abroad is still very much in demand and continues to grow.
COVID-19 Impact on 2021
At this stage we have to mention the COVID-19 situation as it will obviously have an impact on teaching in 2021. There will probably be additional requirements that you might need such as a negative test result before heading overseas, for example. In my last live stream we talked a little bit about the best countries to teach in 2021. I don't know if you've seen it, but you can watch the replay if you want to find out more. Anyway, nowadays most countries require you to take a COVID test before you enter and this obviously also applies if you're going abroad to teach. This is just another new sort of requirement that many countries are rolling out and it is something you need to be aware of and look out for in 2021 if you want to teach abroad.
Regulations are changing frequently so always do your research and check with official authorities before you make any travel plans. From my own research it seems likely that we will also see something with the vaccines, it's too early to say what this might be but this could also be another additional requirement that maybe will come by the end of 2021 or even 2022. You might have to have a vaccine to enter a country or before you start teaching English in a certain country. We don't know yet, but this is something that could happen and it is good to keep that in mind.
Something else we talked about last time was that you might need to spend two weeks in quarantine on arrival in your country of choice. More and more countries now have quarantine requirements and regulations. If you are going to go abroad to teach you should have little trouble entering the country if you are going to teach there because you will probably get a work or business visa, rather than a tourist visa. Once you are in the country you might have to take a COVID test and then spend ten days or two weeks in quarantine. Once again, the regulations are changing frequently so do check with officials before travelling, but that's something to keep in mind if you want to teach English abroad in 2021.
In some cases the employer might cover the quarantine costs. In South Korea it's quite straightforward as anyone who has an address in Korea can quarantine in their house and if you are going to teach here the employer normally provides accommodation so you will have an address to go to. This means you are able to quarantine in your new home rather than in a government facility which costs a lot more. I've also heard some stories from people in Vietnam saying that they worked out a deal with their employer where the employer pays half of the costs and then you pay the other half. It all depends on the country you're gonna to be teaching in, the employer, and the local regulations. Anyway, that’s another thing to watch out for in 2021.
Demand for English language teachers in 2021
The demand for teachers is still really high and schools are hiring English teachers in many countries. I have a lot of friends who actually came to Korea this year and they did the two weeks of quarantine in their new house and then took a COVID test and started teaching. Basically, everything worked out fine. Looking into 2021, it is likely that many employers are going to be a bit more selective in who they hire because of all these additional new regulations such as the COVID test and the quarantine as they could incur additional costs. Many employers in 2021 in the TEFL world that need English teachers are probably going to be looking to hire the best possible person if they have to go through all these additional hoops, so you really want to make sure that you stand out when applying and interviewing.
It might help to give them some extra things like preparing a mock lesson even if they don't ask for it. You can always record yourself teaching or record an intro video, for example. Little things like that that you can offer additionally to stand out and just show that you are a responsible and hardworking teacher that wants to work for them. Just keep in mind that schools will be able to hire a much greater volume of teachers for the February to May 2021 intake as compared to August to November of 2020. Going forward we are certainly going to see a lot more job openings as the demand is still very high. If you are interested in teaching English abroad you might want to look out for that February to May intake as they're already hiring right now. If that's something that you're interested in you should jump on the train right now, but obviously the demand is only going to continue to grow throughout 2021.
How is online teaching affected?
As for online English teaching, as you've probably already guessed, teaching English online continues to grow in popularity because it's just so convenient. I mean 2020 really has been the year for online education, it's seen a huge boom. Even regular teaching programs they were originally in-class have moved to online. We actually work with many different schools and a lot of them, particularly in China, are even hiring specifically for online teaching and there's a lot of positions where you still move to China and work online from the school premises. Obviously teaching online from your own home is also going to continue to grow throughout 2021. My colleague Liza, who does a live stream on Tuesdays, did a stream about teaching English online this week, so if you haven't seen it you should definitely check it out.
We also have a lot of different resources specifically for teaching English online because there's so many different platforms out there for teaching English to suit all different needs. There are platforms specifically targeted at children, test preparation, or speaking skills and then there are different hours depending on where you are and how much time you have to spare. There is a teaching platform out there to suit everyone really, some of them might have different rules and regulations such as they only hire Americans as they want a North American accent. Other ones might only hire British people because they want a british accent. Other platforms might not care at all about that and just want to hire professional certified teachers in general. So there is a platform out there for everyone and if that is something that you're interested in definitely check that out.
ITTT also has a TEFL course specifically for teaching English online. It gives you all the skills and knowledge that you need to convert your in-class skills into online teaching. Like I said, my colleague Liza has already done a really cool live session about a tool that she uses for her online lessons that I also had never heard about. It's so cool and interactive with different games and activities that you can create with this online whiteboard, it's really amazing so check that out. It was this Tuesday, but you can still find it on our Facebook page and on YouTube. Be sure to check that out if you're into teaching English online, I definitely recommend it.
What can you do to stand out from the crowd?
All right, so then taking all of these trends and predictions into account, what can you do to make yourself stand out and be the best candidate possible? That's what we're gonna talk about next, so tips for teaching English in 2021.
I have three major tips for you. The first one is to get TEFL certified or upgrade your existing certification to over 120 hours because 120 hours is great but it's the standard minimum hours of TEFL training that everybody needs in order to get hired nowadays. The trend is going higher and higher, so what you want to do is get either an upgrade to a 220-hour Diploma in TESOL, or take a specialized TEFL course. ITTT has specialized courses for teaching English online, teaching English to young learners, and teaching business English. If any of these are routes you want to go down you should definitely take one or more of these specialization courses and add them to your professional portfolio to give yourself a better chance of getting hired for the best jobs in 2021.
If you don't have any TEFL certifications yet, ITTT’s course bundles are also a great option. They usually include our 120-hour base TEFL course, plus different add-ons like the specialized and diploma courses. Depending on what you're looking for, these go up to 550 hours of TEFL/TESOL training. Ask any employer, would you hire somebody with 120 hours of training or someone with 550 hours of training? I think we all know the answer to that one. This is something you should certainly think about.
Hi Tiana, good to see you. I see you plan on taking the business English course. Yeah, that’s a great course and it's a great addition to your professional portfolio so I definitely recommend taking that.
Get some observed teaching practice under your belt
Tip number two is sort of similar as it is all about enhancing your resume with professional development. Besides the TEFL courses and specializations there are many other things you can do to polish your resume. One thing you can do if you only did an online TEFL training course is to get some observed teaching practice under your belt. We have an OTP course that allows you to get teaching practice and then we analyze it and issue you a certificate after you complete a certain amount of hours. That's something you might want to look into, also if that is not for you you can do things like volunteer teaching or tutoring, basically anything to get some real teaching experience. If your plan is to go abroad to teach in 2021 you can get teaching experience now by teaching English online and put that on your resume.
Then there's also the option of taking Moocs or massive open online courses. There are many different kinds of platforms that have really good courses available either for free or for very little money. Many are from really great institutions like harvard and other really big ivy league schools. There are plenty of courses that are in some way related to TEFL. My colleague Liza took several Moocs about early childhood development and things like that because she wants to specialize in teaching children. Once you have taken the course, depending on the platform, you can pay a small fee to get an official certificate which will make another nice addition to your portfolio. These courses can be studied online at your pace and they are just a great way to enhance your resume.
Take English language proficiency certificates.
If you are a non-native English speaker you might want to look into getting English language proficiency certificates like TOEFL or IELTS. All these kinds of things also add to your portfolio. As I already mentioned, just getting any kind of teaching experience even if it's just with a family member or in your community or online, even if it's something like a language exchange, it can be extremely helpful.
Work with recruiteres.
The last tip that I have for you guys would be to work with different recruiters and experts. This actually applies at any time, not just during these COVID times. It's always a good idea to work with different recruiters and experts if you want to work abroad or online. You don't have to only stick with one recruiter, you can contact as many as you like and the good thing about working with recruitment agencies is that as the teacher you don't have to pay for the recruiter, the employer or school pays the recruiter for their services. So if you ever see a recruitment agency asking for money it is probably a scam so you shouldn't talk to them.
Don’t forget that at ITTT we offer lifetime job support for all our course graduates. So we are another great resource that you can check out. We can offer you contact with recruitment agencies that we work with all over the world and also online. You can also reach out to online TEFL forums and TEFL blogs, you can message people who are currently teaching and ask them for tips. You can join Facebook groups which are a really great way to get some additional know-how and insight. There are Facebook groups for every kind of teaching scenario you can think of. There's English teachers in Korea, English teachers in China, business English teachers, I've even seen a big group of filipino ESL teachers. So there's a group for pretty much everyone regarding teaching so I highly recommend you do some research on that.
Also, you can check us out on teflcourse.net. You can always send us an email and hit us up with your questions at any time. Let me look at the comments here. Margaret says I have a teaching certificate with 29 years experience, do I need to take a TESOL course?
You said earlier that you taught French in Canada, so is that with a local Canadian teaching license or do you already have a TEFL or TESOL certification? I guess you don't so it depends on what you want to do. Do you want to teach English abroad? If yes, you would probably need a TEFL or TESOL certificate because it is often a requirement in order to get a work visa in many countries. For example, in China you need to have a TEFL certificate of at least 120 hours in order to get a visa. Also, there are a lot of online teaching platforms that also state that you need to have a TEFL or TESOL certificate to work for them. It's also true that people who have a teaching qualification often get higher pay and obviously you would also get a higher salary in many cases as you have 29 years worth of experience. I would definitely recommend it if you want to go into teaching English as a second language.
Okay, Sophie says she just got a text saying that her TEFL certificate has arrived from Thailand and it is now on route to California. Congratulations, that’s awesome. Which course did you take? I would be curious to know.
All right, I'm opening the Q&A session now, but I'm also going to share the 30% off link with you guys so you can get your discount. What a nice New Year's present. I'm gonna post it into the comment box, it's basically a link that will go straight to the application page. But feel free to browse the site first to get information about the course that you're interested in and then you can go back to the link and fill out the application form. It's a non-binding, free application, so fill it out and you will see the discounted price on the next page and then you get further instructions via email. So even if you're not yet sure about TEFL, you can just fill out the application and then take it from there.
Okay then, I have also prepared a couple questions for you guys because I’m very curious. All right, let me start our conversation with this question. Which country would you like to teach English in or would you prefer to teach English online? So which country would be your first choice and if you don't want to go abroad you can say online and also why. If you want to teach English in korea, why? If you want to teach English online, why?
Like I said, I taught English in China and in South Korea and I loved both. It was a really great experience and I always really want to go back to China, in fact I usually have a stopover there when I'm flying back home. Okay, Margaret says Hungary and online. So do you want to move to Hungary and live there and then teach online, is that what you're saying? Cool, actually my Grandma was born in Hungary and I recently went to Budapest, it was beautiful. Hungary is really nice and my Grandparents still go every year. They particularly like the thermal baths there. Oh, Margaret, so you actually mean you want to stay and teach English online in Canada, but if you did go abroad then you would choose Hungary.
All right then, Jennifer says online so I can help others learn English and help with income for my family. Nice answer, so are you already teaching English online or is this something that you want to do in 2021? Great and where do you live Jennifer? Okay Tiana says South Korea because I listen to a lot of Korean music and it has both mountains and the ocean. Yeah that's true, so you're into K-pop, so what's your favorite group or singer? Of course, the extra benefits on offer in Korea should not be forgotten, as you usually get free housing, paid airfare, an end of year bonus, the pension, and all that good stuff.
All right, Sophie says she has signed-up for the Master Package from ITTT and is currently working on the CTBE course. Cool, so you're going to do them all? Nice, I actually have done all the courses in that package, it’s definitely a good choice. What about the diploma? Are you interested in that as well? If you add that course as well you will have everything you need to apply for most teaching jobs. What is your goal? Where would you like to teach abroad or online? Oh, I see you have said you want to teach online from home, sorry I just saw that now. Teaching online from home is obviously a popular and convenient choice for many people right now.
Juliana says online because I'm a tutor on a local tutoring platform. That’s really interesting, what platform is that? So, Jennifer plans to teach online in 2021 as she homeschools her children and teaching online is flexible as she can fit it around her schedule. Yeah, that's why a lot of people love teaching English online because you can really make it work for any lifestyle and schedule. Sophie says that she is thinking about doing the diploma course at some stage after the Master Package. Juliana says that the platform she teaches on is called Varsity Tutor. Cool, I'm actually going to write that down as I am not familiar with that one.
Okay, the next question is if you're not abroad yet and you're not teaching online yet, what is it that's holding you back? What's holding you back in your TEFL journey, let me know.
Tiana says my living situation and financial issues are the main hurdle. Okay I see that, but actually with South Korea there's actually not a lot of expenses that you have to worry about because the employer pretty much pays for everything. They pay for housing, they pay for the airfare, so still worth thinking about. Margaret says I have just retired and am now gathering information about teaching. Great, so you're just like okay I'm retired now so let me look into what I can do that's new and interesting. Love that.
Okay, Jennifer says I took my TEFL with ITTT six years ago but never taught with it and now I would like to see classes being taught to build my confidence as I feel inexperienced. Yes of course, it always takes practice. I remember the first day that I was teaching, I didn't have any experience and I taught little kids, it's really overwhelming. But every day you learn, every class you learn, and then you just get more confident and after a while it doesn’t matter if you teach kids or adults as it's just really fulfilling when you see that your students are making progress and they're learning what you're teaching them. It's just a good feeling and I think your confidence is gonna then grow and come from that, so don't be worried about that as we all started somewhere. It’s going to take time and you're going to get better over the years.
We have another comment, how do I take the first step to teach English online and have confidence to speak to students for the first time. Any advice?
Just remember, there are no perfect teachers coming straight out of training. By taking a TEFL course you will learn how to structure your lessons by creating a lesson plan, so you know all the steps, step one, step two, step three, so there's no room for your mind to wander off or panic. You will be a bit nervous in the beginning, but with a solid plan you will be well prepared to handle it. It's just going to take practice and with every lesson you're going to learn and you're going to get better and better.
All right, Eva says I think online rates are not as high as regular in-class teaching, am I wrong?
Well, it's going to depend on which platform you work for as different platforms have different rates. It’s also going to depend on how long the lessons are as some platforms have lessons that are 10 minutes long or 20 minutes long, other platforms have lessons that are 50 minutes long. So it's really going to depend on that and also on your background and qualifications as they usually pay more if you have a TEFL or TESOL certificate and also teaching experience. It basically depends on a lot of factors, but I wouldn't say that online teaching pays less than in-class teaching in general.
We have a lot of resources about the different teaching platforms and how much they pay on our FAQ page, so you might want to check that out. I'm just going to drop that link into the comments. There's also a lot of resources about salaries and visas, and there's a section about teaching English online and the different platforms and how much those different platforms pay per hour.
Let me ask you guys another question and then we can slowly wrap it up for today. You can still keep throwing your questions at me if you still have some that we didn't already cover. I would like to know what other topics you would like us to talk about in our live sessions? We are going live weekly and my colleague Liza also goes live weekly so we do two lives every week and we are always looking for interesting topics. If you have any requests for what we could cover in the future that would be really great to hear.
Let me answer this question in the meantime. Is a $34 course a real TEFL course and will it be good enough to get me job opportunities?
So, when it comes to TEFL courses or education in general, you generally get what you pay for. You should always check what the qualification gets you in the end, what's included, do you have to pay extra for your hard copy certificate, for example? Usually the really cheap courses have a lot of extra fees that you have to pay for at the end, like you have to pay for the certificate to be printed, you have to pay for the certificate to be notarized or stamped, you have to pay for accreditation, and shipping etc. Basically, you have to pay for all of these extra things and then it's going to add up to a much higher price than you originally thought. One thing that I can say for quality course providers like ITTT is that the courses all include lifetime job support, our helpful admin support, and extra materials such as our blog library, FAQ library, and much more.
Marvin says that body language is an important part of teaching but this is lost with online teaching, what are some ways that we can make up for this?
Okay, usually with online teaching you would still have your camera on and I feel it has a lot to do with your body language. From the online teaching that I've seen and done, you use a lot of props and it's very interactive so you do use your body. I can tell you that I think you should watch our live stream from my colleague Liza on Tuesday because she's introducing this really cool online tool that she uses for her lessons that is super interactive and you can do so many really cool things with it. Maybe that is something that would help you with your online classes, check it out on our Facebook page, it was from this Tuesday.
Tiana says that a topic she would like to see here is one about the different cities in South Korea to teach in and what makes them different. Yeah, I was thinking about doing a live session all about South Korea because it is one of the most popular teaching destinations in the world, and of course it is where I am based. Let me write that down, okay thank you Tiana.
What other topics would you like us to talk about in the future in our live sessions, what are you curious about?
Alright, Margaret says teaching in Europe. Okay, teaching English in Europe, I’m writing that down. Also, we have one here that asks about the differences in teaching students from different cultural backgrounds. Yeah, that’s actually a really good topic for the future. Tiana says she would like an overview of all ITTT courses. I don’t think I have done that yet so that's actually another good future topic.
One question we have here is what's the cheapest course that gives the chance to teach either online or even abroad?
Okay, I would highly recommend that you get the 120-hour TEFL course and you can save even more money if you choose the option without a tutor. Also, if you haven't heard yet, we have a 30% off coupon available to everybody watching today, so you could sign up for the 120-hour course without tutor which is sort of the standard entry point for teaching English and then use the 30% discount coupon and that's honestly going to be the best deal that you can get. I'm going to share the coupon link once again.
Another question we have had today is what are the requirements needed to be able to teach and are there any age limitations?
This always depends on the country that you want to teach in. Generally, there are no age limitations for teaching English, but some countries like China, South Korea, and Japan have an official retirement age that applies to everybody, including foreign teachers. In China I think this starts at 60, so if you're over 60 you probably could not go to China and teach. However, most countries have no limitations like that. Typically schools that teach business English and professionals really like older teachers, so definitely there is still demand even if you're a little older.
Juliana says I’m really interested in teaching English in Daegu. Why Daegu Juliana? Daegu is a city in South Korea that is known as the hottest city in Korea because of its temperatures in the summer. It's typically the hottest place in the country, and it can get really hot there.
Tiana says in Japan they have a retirement age of 60 and prefer teachers to be in their 20s and 30s. It is true that many employers in schools that cater for young children in particular prefer younger teachers because they think they just have more energy. And as I said before, typically business English and adult class providers often prefer older teachers. However, it's not set in stone in either case and you can still find positions teaching kids or adults no matter what your age.
Okay then, the last question for today. What is your New Year's resolution for 2021? Let me know. For me there are a couple of things. I really like language learning so I want to learn more Korean and I also study Chinese so I want to learn more Chinese in 2021. I also want to go back to the gym because 2020 was not a very active year. So that’s my plan for 2021. I know it is pretty basic, but that's what's happening for me. So what is your New Year's resolution for 2021?
In the meantime there's one more question from Fauzon. Can you explain a bit more about the discount coupon?
Well with the coupon you simply click on the link and you can then fill out the application and get 30% off of your chosen TEFL course. Then you can either continue on and complete the payment or wait to read through the extra info we will send you before you make a final decision.
Okay, we have some New Year's resolutions in. Tiana says hers is to get started on her TEFL course and her associate's degree and then a bachelor's as well. Wow, it sounds like you have a lot of plans for 2021, but you have 365 days so good luck with that. It sounds like you are on the right track and are really getting started early, well done.
Eva says I want to learn Chinese and do yoga. Cool, are you learning Chinese by yourself or are you taking classes? I took some online classes this year, it was really great. Juliana says I taught Chinese language and culture three years ago. Oh, maybe Juliana can teach me and Eva some Chinese and we can make a little study group, that would be really cool. She also says I want to teach Korean because I know how to read, listen, write, and speak it. Well there you go, you have a lot of language goals in this group, I love that. Thank you so much.
I always hope that my live sessions are helpful, even if they just help one person it means the world to me. That's why I'm here. Even if I can just help one person then that's a success for me.
Another listener has commented that they are turning their guest room into a classroom and studio and they plan to work on their Tagalog. That sounds really awesome, do you live in the Philippines? I forget if you mentioned that but your picture looks very tropical. So are you planning on having online teaching right there in your new classroom/studio? Anyway, good luck and happy New Year.
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