Can you teach English as a foreign language in the UK?

There is a common misconception that in order to teach English as a foreign language, you have to leave your home country. This is not the case.

In the UK specifically, there is a healthy industry dedicated to ESL teaching and learning. This is mostly clustered around London, Cambridge, Oxford, Brighton, and Devon. Language centres operate year round, but the peak times are in summer. Equally, universities and further education colleges have a provision for summer and pre-sessional courses which peak in the months of July – August.

There is often scope to complete short term (two to three month) contracts over this period, which comes with excellent pay, bonuses, and often accommodation and board included (though not always). Something that many teachers do is come back to the UK over summer, complete a short-term contract, and then go onto a different destination for the rest of the year. This is also an excellent way to beat the British winter!

There are in addition, permanent contracts throughout the UK, although they are obviously rarer.

Teaching English in the UK requires a high level of qualifications and experience, and for the best positions, including Director of Studies, co-ordinator, or senior teacher, will require a minimum of a Diploma level qualification. In universities, especially for permanent positions, you will often be required to hold a Diploma level qualification and a Master’s degree. Requirements of a doctorate are not common, but to work in academia proper (for instance, as a lecturer in education or second language education), then it may be needed.