English Teaching Jobs – What Are the Best ESL Teaching Jobs?

English Teaching Jobs – What Are the Best ESL Teaching Jobs?

Teaching abroad offers an excellent opportunity to gain valuable school experience, while also allowing you to live in a different country and earn extra income for traveling. When searching for English teaching jobs, you may come across different types of schools advertising for staff, such as traditional public or private schools, as well as language schools.

The rise in the number of language schools worldwide can be attributed to various factors, including the increasing demand to learn English in light of globalization, students' desire to study abroad, the growth of tourism, and the expansion of international business. But what distinguishes working in a traditional school from working in a language school?

Government public school / private school vs working in a language school


In a traditional school setting, staff members typically work during school hours, with most starting their workday between 7:30 am and 9:00 am, depending on the specific needs of the school. However, in a language school, teachers often need to work outside of the usual school hours. This can involve working after school, typically between 3 pm and, in some cases, as late as 10 pm.

Many students choose to attend language schools after regular school hours to enhance their conversational English skills. This is often the case for students who attend traditional private or public schools during the day and seek additional education.

Student ages

In a traditional school setting, teachers typically instruct students in various age groups, including kindergarten, primary school, and high school. The specific age range of the school, such as primary school, high school, or pre-school kindergarten, determines the grade levels that teachers will be teaching.

In a language school, teachers often work with students across all age ranges, including Kindergarten, Primary, and High school students. Additionally, they also teach adult learners who want to learn and practice English. However, it's worth noting that there are language schools in some countries that specifically cater to a particular age group.

Finding English teaching jobs

Typically, both traditional government public and private schools tend to hire at the beginning of the academic year and also at the start of the second semester. This period is when you can anticipate the highest number of job openings being advertised. However, it's important to note that the specific timing of the school year's commencement may vary from country to country.

In language schools, job opportunities are available throughout the year. It is common for student enrollment to increase as the school year progresses.

Class sizes

In traditional government public schools, class sizes tend to be larger, sometimes exceeding 50 students per class, depending on the country. On the other hand, traditional private schools usually have smaller class sizes, although this can vary depending on the country and the specific school. Language schools typically have even smaller class sizes, typically ranging from a few students to around 10.

When it comes to class size, there are both benefits and challenges. In a larger class, there are more students available for group activities, which can enhance collaboration and teamwork. However, it may be more difficult to keep the attention of every student. On the other hand, a smaller class may be easier to manage, but it may present challenges for whole class group activities if there are only 2 or 3 students.

Other foreign staff

In most cases, large government public schools and high schools typically hire only 1 or 2 foreign language teachers, depending on the country and the particular school. Although this may not concern all teachers, it can often pose initial challenges for the foreign teacher.

When working in a language school, you will primarily be surrounded by fellow foreign language teachers. This environment provides a great opportunity for collaboration, as you can easily assist each other with lesson plans, exchange ideas, offer support, and even form new friendships.


When considering the number of holidays that teachers receive, it is common for both public and private traditional schools to offer a significant amount of time off during the summer, ranging from 4 to 8 weeks. However, it is important to note that these holidays may not always be paid. Therefore, it is advisable to inquire about this with the school before applying and carefully review the contract to ensure clarity.

Language schools experience their busiest period when traditional schools are on holiday. This is because students have more free time to attend language classes while they are not attending their regular schools. Additionally, parents are usually unable to take time off work to look after their children during school holidays, making language schools a convenient option for childcare.

During the traditional holiday period, staff members at language schools frequently work additional hours due to the organization of special English camps that offer intensive language conversation classes. As a result, these staff members often take their vacations at different times throughout the year in comparison to traditional schools, and typically only have 1 or 2 weeks of holiday time.


Typically, the public school system in numerous countries faces resource constraints, such as a lack of English books, classroom supplies, computers, and educational technology. In some instances, teachers are compelled to rely on their personal funds to purchase supplies needed for their lessons. However, it is important to note that such occurrences are relatively infrequent.

Private schools typically have abundant resources and allocate significant time and funding to their English language programs. Language schools are usually well-equipped with cutting-edge technology, a plethora of English games and books, and a diverse array of classroom materials.


In language education, the organization and structure of classes differ between public and private schools and language schools. Typically, in public and private schools, language departments have autonomy in designing their own classes and lessons. This means that teachers have control over what content is included and the format of their lessons. On the other hand, language schools have a more centralized approach to curriculum planning. Lessons and curriculum are carefully developed by the school itself, and teachers often adhere to a predetermined lesson plan each time they teach.

As a business rather than a traditional school, the main priorities include student retention and enrollment numbers, as well as ensuring parental satisfaction. They strive to regularly consult with parents to address any concerns and ensure that students remain engaged in their programs. Additionally, in certain countries, teachers may participate in promotional events, effectively acting as recruiters for their language schools.

When considering different types of schools, it is important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages related to teaching and work conditions. To make an informed decision, we recommend conducting thorough research, such as reviewing the school's website and reaching out to current or former English teachers for any inquiries you may have.

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About The Author

Tracey Johnson

Owner of Nomad Girl. I have been travelling on and off for the last 18 years and ran my own businesses whilst on the road. I have travelled to over 60 countries and lived for longer periods in 10 different ones. I feel like a true global citizen.

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