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Keep in mind that when you are teaching
overseas, there are seldom set rules that apply in every given
situation. Rules vary from country to country, and each school is
different. As a result, so will each situation vary from one job to
another, and the following questions and answers may or may not apply
What age group will I have to teach?
In schools overseas, students of all ages study English. Children as
young as three go to English kindergartens, while senior citizens
study English as a hobby. You might be teaching elementary school
students, junior or senior high students, businessmen, housewives,
other teachers, or people who need English in order to improve their
chances of being promoted or to increase their ability to be hired.
Most schools do focus on one or two age groups, so if you have a very
strong preference to one age group, make sure the school that you
apply to teaches that age group. Whatever your preferences are,
teaching each age group is covered in the standard sixty-hour course.
We also have excellent specialization's that focus on teaching
children and adults.
What is the average class size that I may encounter?
This depends entirely on what the school teaches and where you are
teaching it. In some parts of China, you might be teaching class sizes
of forty students. In other parts of China, you might be teaching
three or four. For class sizes smaller than this or for any tutoring
jobs you might have, we suggest registering for our tutoring
specialization. Most countries have a limit of eight to twelve
students, which we feel is the ideal number to have in a classroom. Be
careful though! Those high paying college and university classes might
have class sizes of over two hundred.
What textbook will I have to use?
This is one of the first questions to ask a potential employer. Most
schools will have an established curriculum already in place for you,
but they will allow you to be creative in your teaching methods, so
bring along our 721-page Resource Guide. You want to avoid schools
that do not have any textbooks in place, and you also want to make
sure that the textbook series you do use is from an English speaking
country. We have a list of preferred textbooks to use in Chapter
twenty-one of the resource guide.
What resources are available to me?
Again, this depends on the school you are going to. Most schools have
access to a TV and a VCR, a CD player, a tape player, and at least
some art supplies. Make sure you pay attention to Chapter 8 and 9 in
the Resource Guide to see what you will need to convert or adapt to
play in your classroom.
What is the dress code for foreign English teachers?
Most schools do not have a strict dress-code, but be aware that
teachers are required to look clean, neat and presentable at all times
while teaching. If you are teaching children, however, make sure you
are wearing clothes that are appropriate for teaching children. Ties
on male teachers are a definite no-no when teaching younger children.
What are some of the most common classroom management problems?
Most students overseas are much better behaved than students in North
America, but classroom management is still sometimes a concern. The
best way to avoid all classroom management issues is being prepared.
We cover low-level and high-level management techniques when teaching
children. You will occasionally have students who are extremely tired
in your class, as well as students who clearly do not understand what
you want them to do. Don't worry! We cover all this in class.
Will I have to teach a specific age group?
No! Not if you don't want to. Each school specializes in a particular
age group; so if there is an age group that you definitely do not want
to teach, simply do not apply for that school.
How many classes a day will I have to teach?
Again, this depends on the country. Some countries like Mexico or
China ask you to teach three to four classes a day, while South Korea
expects six classes. Most countries require at least five hours a day
for teaching. We teach you in the class how to define a teaching
'hour' and how to negotiate overtime.
What kind of preparatory work is involved in teaching?
This depends on how much practice you have had in teaching before.
Beginner teachers might need 20-30 minutes before each class to plan
the lesson. The more experience you have, the less time you need to
plan, but remember planning is always important. We spend a great deal
of time dealing with lesson plans.
Will I be observed while teaching?
Some teachers are, and some teachers aren't. Some schools will give
you bonuses depending on performances and some teachers will never
have their directors in their classrooms. You might want to ask if
this is a practice in your school.
What kind of report cards do the schools use?
Again, this depends on the school. Some schools use them, some schools
don't. Regardless of this, you should always keep anecdotal notes
about your students. Remember to keep your comments as positive as
Will I have to team-teach?
Yet again, this depends on the school. When teaching kindergarten,
some schools have a native English teacher teach with a foreign
English teacher, and if you are teaching in an actual junior or senior
high school you will be teaching with another teacher. Usually,
however, your English classroom is your classroom exclusively.
Will there be other foreign teachers in my school?
Hopefully there will be! It is extremely difficult to start out
teaching anywhere, and it is even more difficult if you are the first
or the only English teacher. One of the questions you should be asking
your director is if you can have the e-mail of teachers already
working in the school. If the answer is no, it's usually a good sign
that he either knows the teachers are not going to say anything
positive or that you will be working alone. For your first time
abroad, maybe that isn't such a great idea.
If you have a question that has not been answered below, or if you
would like to speak to one of our Global TESOL advisors concerning
upcoming course dates, registration, or any other matter, feel free to
e-mail us at: (Global Tesol malaysia e-mail add)
You are also welcome to call us on (Global Tesol
Malaysia phone number)