As demand for ESL teachers is continually high in many parts of the world, there are several countries where you can realistically expect to find employment at any time of the year. However, some regions and individual countries have specific seasons when the majority of hiring is done. If you have particular areas where you want to work as an EFL teacher, it is important that you are aware of these seasons so you can plan your job hunting strategy effectively.
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Language school season: year-round: Across much of Asia there is such high demand for English language instruction that private language schools often hire throughout the year. This is generally the case with all the most popular destinations in the region for teaching English abroad such as China, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan and Taiwan. Public schools: One of the biggest employers of teachers in the state-run sector is South Korea. Each year thousands of native-English speakers are hired through the EPIK Program to work in schools across the country. Interviews are conducted during the spring and early summer for positions starting in August and September, while some schools also recruit later in the year for positions starting in January, February or March. Another popular option is Japan's JET Program which requires applications to be filed by December 1st for positions starting in the autumn of the following year.
Main language school season: September/October - secondary season: January: During these windows large numbers of teachers leave their positions across the continent, creating a huge demand for new employees. As many as half of all ESL teachers in Europe are estimated to leave their post during the summer months, making this a great time to be on the ground, ready to attend interviews for positions starting in September and October when the new school year begins. Public schools: The number of opportunities available in the state-run sector is considerably lower in Europe than in Asia, although there are government programs in place in Spain and France. Applications for these programs need to be filed by March for positions starting in September. Exceptions: There are some countries in the region such as Turkey and Russia who tend to hire throughout the year rather than during specific seasons. If you are looking to work at a summer language camp, these positions are usually filled during the previous winter/spring.
Language school season: year-round: There are typically no specific seasons for hiring teachers in language schools across Middle Eastern countries. Public schools: In countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar, recruitment for public schools (as well as private elementary/high schools, colleges and universities) takes place during the spring and early summer for positions starting in August and September. Some schools also recruit later in the year for January, February or March start dates.
Main language school season: June/July - secondary season: January/February: As competition is often quite high for the best positions in Central America, it is recommended that you are in the country of your choice during the relevant season, ready to conduct interviews in person. Exceptions: In Costa Rica many schools conduct interviews during December for teaching positions starting the following January, while schools across Mexico generally hire at any time of the year due to a high demand for language instruction.
Main language school season: February/March - secondary season: July/August: To ensure you have the best possible chance of securing a good position, you should arrange to be in the country of your choice during these hiring seasons as employers typically prefer to interview in person.