The vast majority of ESL teaching job adverts ask for a ‘TEFL or CELTA qualified teacher with at least one year’s experience.’ If you’re a recent TEFL graduate you’ll have read this sentence again and again, and it’s a Catch-22. How are you supposed to get experience if you can’t get a job? And how can you get a job without any experience?
However, in our experience most academies are willing to take on a new teacher who seems bright, engaged and on the ball. Selling yourself as a confident professional is half the battle, so we’ve put together some tips on how to up-sell yourself as an English teacher – even if you only graduated last week!
If you’ve studied for your TEFL certificate in the UK, there are organisations like EITC where you can volunteer to teach English to refugees and gain experience at the same time before applying for TEFL jobs. If you’re already in Barcelona, there are organisations such as Serveis Linguistics de Barcelona who are looking for volunteers to teach English classes. Volunteering will give you more experience and, most importantly, the confidence to apply for teaching jobs.
You might not have taught a class before, but the odds are you have some form of training or mentoring experience. It could be tutoring at secondary school, or coaching a kids’ football team in your hometown, or even training new members of staff in your previous job. Employers want teachers with motivational and leadership skills, so use examples from previous experience which demonstrate these qualities.
It can be difficult to get work in academies without any teaching experience, but private classes are a bit different – because it’s a personalised learning experience, students are more interested in a personal connection rather than a long list of your previous roles. Check out our blog on finding private classes – and once you’ve been teaching privately for a couple of months you’ll be able to go in to an interview with more paid experience to talk about.
You will have gained classroom time and teaching hours on your TEFL course, so talk about those classes – your lesson preparation, your classroom management techniques, the challenges and rewards of teaching. Giving detailed information about your training will show that you understand and are enthusiastic about the role of a teacher.
What’s your background in? If you studied economics, then you can now market yourself as a teacher of financial English. Did you work in a bar? Then you can teach English for hospitality purposes. Is your background in law? Then you can teach legal English. Combining your previous experience with your new teaching skills can make you stand out from the other candidates and give a language academy the opportunity to attract a new customer base.
Did you land a teaching job without any experience? Tell us about it in the comments!