A large number of people every year choose Europe as their destination for teaching English abroad, the majority from North America. However, for many it can be quite daunting as very few employers look to hire their teachers in advance. Unlike in some other regions such as Asia and the Middle East, foreign teachers generally have to fly into their country of choice and then start looking for a teaching job by contacting potential employers in person. Although this approach works fine for most teachers, there are a few other options for those who want a job lined up in advance.
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Russia has seen a strong rise in demand for TESOL qualified teachers in recent years and average salaries have risen accordingly. It is also becoming more popular with teachers as a large proportion of employers look to recruit their staff in advance from within their own country. Potential vacancies can be found online by visiting TESOL job boards and also via recruitment agencies that will make all the necessary arrangements for you. Jobs are widespread in most large cities throughout the country, although the largest markets are located in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. There is no particular recruitment window, so jobs can be found at most times of the year.
Turkey is another country that has seen a considerable jump in demand for TESOL qualified teachers in recent times. Many employers advertise vacant positions via online job boards and many also use recruitment companies to hire the staff they need. As there are often more vacancies than there are teachers looking to fill them, it is often possible to apply for multiple jobs and then choose the one that suits you best. As with Russia, jobs are typically available year round and can be found in most major cities, although Istanbul and Ankara offer the most options.
Poland is often said to have more opportunities for TESOL qualified teachers than anywhere else in the Central and Eastern European region. A quick online search should reveal many job adverts on TESOL job sites and you can also contact schools in your chosen area directly to check for vacancies. The best time of the year to get hired in Poland is prior to the two main school terms that begin in September and January. The typical wage on offer is not particularly high when compared to Western European countries, however, the local cost of living is much lower which means your income should go a lot further. Poland is also located right in the heart of the continent which makes it a great base for exploring the wider region in your free time.
Another very popular option for landing a teaching job in advance in Europe is via a government recruitment program. In Spain you can join the Cultural Ambassadors Program which has been recruiting native-English speakers from North America for many years. If you are accepted on the program you will work as a teaching assistant in a government run school. Despite paying a little less than schools in the private sector, this scheme is extremely popular as it comes with a long-term visa which can be difficult to secure for non-EU citizens looking to teach in Spain.
Another very popular recruitment scheme is the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF), which also places native English speakers from all over the world into schools where they work alongside a local teacher. Once again, this program is extremely popular and places are by no means guaranteed due to the high level of competition. If you want to apply for this program or the Spanish program outlined above, you should be aware that a good knowledge of the local language is expected. If you are unable to secure a place on these schemes, you should take a look at similar but lesser known programs such as the Central European Teaching Program which operates in Hungary or the Teach and Learn with Georgia (TLG) program.