One of the questions I see often in online TEFL forums is “Can I teach English abroad for only six months or less?”. As a former English teacher in Thailand, I’m always surprised when many people say “No”. In fact, that isn’t remotely true as there are many opportunities for teaching English abroad on a short-term basis, as not every overseas TEFL job requires a commitment of a year or more.
If you would love to teach English abroad, but either can’t spare a year for a normal overseas contract, or you’re just trying it out with an eye to teaching longer at a later date, here are a few ways you can teach English abroad for six months or less.
Sign a one-term contract at a government or private school – While some teachers who teach overseas will tell you signing a one-term contract at a school in Thailand, Peru, Mexico or Spain isn’t remotely possible, in fact it actually is.
In Thailand, for instance, I have worked with two people who were on one-term contracts with the school I taught at, and I know other people who have signed a one-term contract at other schools in Asia or in South America. In all cases, they were hired to fill a position for a semester after a teacher who had been hired for a year had left prematurely.
In most cases I know of, they were also given the option of signing a second contract for a year as soon as the one-term contract ended.
These types of contracts are perfect, however, for those who want to teach less than six months overseas as it gives you a fabulous way to get the experience even if you don’t have a huge amount of time to spare.
Language schools – Language schools all over the world hire people on a short-term basis, whether for six months, a couple of months or just to teach a specific course for a few weeks.
When I arrived in Thailand for the first time, I took a job with a small language school in Bangkok teaching just three days a week for three months, as they needed someone to teach short courses for TOEFL, TOEIC and IELTS exam preparation.
The rate per hour was good and the school was flexible, which meant it was a good way for me to get my first teaching experience in Thailand and earn some money, while still having time to look for a full-time permanent job.
Look for language school job listings all over the world on Dave’s ESL Cafe job board.
Summer camps – English summer camps are hugely popular in many areas of the world, but no more so than in Asia where many Asian kids will be sent to a summer camp to learn English for a week or longer. Summer camps often run twice a year at specific times, depending on which schedule each particular school is on.
In Thailand, summer camps will usually be run for several weeks in April and again in October, as those are the months of the two longest school breaks. Most will be run outside a city in a country area or close to a beach or national park, and will usually consist of around 6-7 hours of teaching a day, mainly of the playing games, organizing activities and singing songs variety. Both kids and teachers will be expected to stay at the camp overnight for as long as each course lasts.
Hourly rates at summer camps around Asia don’t tend to be particularly high but, if you are only in country for a few weeks or months, you can not only make some extra money doing this, you will also be given free accommodation and board as long as each camp lasts.
One of the best places to find short-term summer camp jobs in Thailand is on Ajarn’s job board,