Home / How to start TEFL teaching in September 2023

If you’ve just done your TEFL qualification and are ready to start teaching, you might feel a little lost about where to start. September is one of the pivotal points in the year for starting your TEFL adventure, so it’s essential to be prepared. If you strike at this time, you can pick a wide range of jobs and start your TEFL career soon!

Why September? 

September is crucial for Europe, as the academic year starts around this time. This means there will be plenty of job adverts leading up to and around this month. Schools have a better idea of student numbers and will often need to recruit extra teachers to complete their classes. You will also see more last-minute adverts due to the additional influx of students and also to fill the positions of any teachers who might have changed their minds at the last minute. 

September is also an excellent month to take on online teaching or one-to-one students. Things quiet down a lot over the summer so education can be slow. After summer, students are ready to begin again and motivated to learn English. This is a good time for TEFL teachers to make their move! 

So, what steps can you take to get ready to start TEFL teaching in September?

Get Qualified 

If you have the time, you can take a fast-track TEFL course to get qualified ASAP. Our 120-hour TEFL course can be completed in weeks if you study intensively. This is the minimum industry standard to teach English abroad and online. 

If you’re already qualified but want a confidence boost before teaching, you could take one of your specialist 60-hour courses. These courses can be completed in under a month with the right study time and attitude. They look great on your CV, too! Extra systems on your CV can be an excellent way to get it to the top of the pile.

You want to head into the hiring period as prepared as possible, so make your CV stand out even more with any extra qualifications that will serve you well. If you are offered a position teaching TEFL to a particular group of learners (e.g., young learners), you can look at any extra courses you can do before you go to give you that extra boost!

Prepare your CV, cover letter and documents. 

Strike while the TEFL teaching iron is hot and get your applications in. This means you need to have your CV ready to submit! You should have a cover letter prepared, but remember to tailor it to each company/school you apply to. Employers can see a generic cover letter a mile off and will probably not invest time in your application if you haven’t bothered to put any effort in.

Companies will ask to see your qualifications when you apply or before an interview, so have them prepared, including digital copies ready to send. Interviewers are more impressed with applicants who respond to emails and request documents more quickly, so don’t dally around with this! 

If you plan on teaching in a country where you need a visa or to apply for residency, have copies of your passport ready. Wherever you go, take copies with you of your documents and qualifications. It might not be easy to print or make copies once you arrive! 

Do your research

You might not have much time before September, and you want to head off teaching in another country, but the decision is still a significant life one and shouldn’t be rushed. Take some time to research which country you’re interested in going to and the TEFL working conditions there. Look at local living costs in the main cities, and you’ll know whether you can live comfortably.

Social media is a great resource these days for getting that on-the-ground knowledge. Join some Facebook groups for teachers in the local area and ask any questions you have. They will often be able to tell you a more realistic view of what life is like for a TEFL teacher in a particular city and whether the wages are liveable.

It would be best to consider whether you want to live in a bigger city or a town and research the local amenities in these areas. You don’t want to make a rushed decision and end up somewhere you’re not happy, only to come home a month later.

Be ready to move! 

If you’re applying at the end of August/ September, there won’t be much time before the school year starts. You could apply for a job and be expected to create a week later! Tie up any loose ends at home because you could be off soon! 

Financially speaking, you should be prepared, too. You will need to buy flights to your destination. Even if flights are included with your job offer, they usually don’t believe these outright for you but reimburse you towards the end of your contract.

If your job offer doesn’t include accommodation, you will need funds to get started. You should budget around 2-3 months’ living costs. Remember, you won’t get paid for a few weeks, so you will need enough to survive this time. You also don’t want to miss out on socialising with your new friends during this time, so have some funds to enjoy your first few weeks without feeling stressed about money!

teaching in class

Hit the ground running.

For work in some countries, it can be easier to get a job if you’re already in the country. For Europe and South America, this can be a more common way to get an interview with a school. If you have the time and the budget, you might want to consider heading out to the country where you want to work and apply from there. Many schools are keen to interview teachers already in the country, as this can speed up the hiring process significantly.

Before you pack up and head anywhere, ensure you have the legal right to work in that country! You wouldn’t want to arrive and find that you’re not suitable for employment and have to head home unsuccessful. Likewise, look at job offers before you book any flights to ensure that you have the right qualifications and meet the requirements for employment in that country. 

There are some countries where heading out beforehand isn’t as helpful. For example, in Asia, a lot of recruitment is done via agencies or programmes. Many will be happy to conduct the interview process online. So you don’t necessarily need to wander around Japan to get a job! 

Work online 

You can get online work throughout many points of the year as the demand is high, but September is also a good hiring time. As we said, students return fresh and motivated to learn from their summer holidays. There is increased demand at this time in ESL companies and schools, so it can be the perfect time to start teaching online or to get more hours for your existing teaching schedule.

Ensure you’re set up with fast, reliable internet and a good camera and headset with a microphone. Online hiring can happen quickly, so you should be prepared to teach within days! If you have an online interview for any job, both online and in the classroom, ensure you have a quiet space and are punctual! Showing up late creates an instant wrong impression, and you probably won’t be hired.

One-to-one classes 

Attending language classes in groups isn’t the solution for everyone. There are plenty of students who want private lessons, both face-to-face and online. These students might wish for a more flexible timetable or need that extra one-to-one attention. Many students set a goal to undertake an exam by the end of the academic year. There is a place where you can come in as a TEFL teacher at this time!

Advertise your teaching services around this time, and you’re more likely to find more individual students looking for lessons. Be organised with your teaching, and you will have more success.

It can be a busy, whirlwind time if you want to start teaching right after summer, as things can be processed quickly. You might apply for a job and be on a plane heading off on a new adventure within a week! Be organised, so you’re ready to go and start teaching now!

If it’s your first time teaching abroad, then it can be daunting to go for it and move away from your home. However, the rewards can be significant and lead to a fulfilling experience abroad. Remember, the first few weeks can be hectic while settling into a new place and job. Things will get easier and run more smoothly. If you feel like you’re struggling at first, this is normal. You need to give it some time so that you can settle in.

Getting A TEFL qualification can be your passport to the world and adventure. If you’re ready to leap, take advantage of the peak September hiring and go for it! 

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