Teaching in the ESL Capital – San Francisco


By Thérèse Stevens
San Francisco is the city of fog, hippies and a unique charm that sets it apart from other towns in the United States.  A lesser known fact about San Francisco is that it welcomes a vast number of ESL students from all over the world. Thanks to its location and commitment to international education, the City by the Bay remains a thriving and important capital for the ESL industry.
Let’s look at some of the top reasons to teach English in San Francisco, California.

1. Opportunity

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With a consistent influx of foreign students eagerly searching for English fluency and the American dream, registration into English courses in the city of San Francisco is ongoing and ever-demanding. Therefore, hundreds of TEFL courses abound at private schools, city colleges and public universities. There is always opportunity for talented teachers to find work. Salary and benefits will vary, based on your qualifications and the school itself, but most users on Indeed report a rate of $20 – $23 per hour. However, city colleges and universities offer a higher rate and a more permanent gig. One teacher on Glassdoor reports earning more than $38 an hour, so there’s definitely potential to do very well. Before applying, do some research to find the best organization to suit your teaching profile!

2. Education

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In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn. – Phil Collins.
One of the great rewards of teaching is that you learn so much. Some of the current developments in TEFL methodology- such as the communicative method – were developed in the Bay Area, and San Francisco is a known education hub, ranked as the 28th best student city in the world.
San Francisco State University offers a Master’s in TESOL that combines complete theoretical training with practical teaching experience. Hands-on TEFL sessions at a school will offer you direct training in the student-centred approach. Working in San Francisco not only gives you a fascinating market of students to teach, but also the potential to learn and collaborate with creative and open-minded peers.

3. Culture

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The City by the Bay hosts a large Chinese, Japanese and Korean population as well as people from The Middle East, African countries and Latin America. At the international school where I taught English, we had ‘Gourmet Friday’, a day on which we shared dishes from our respective countries. Students and teachers had the chance to taste Moroccan tagine, Russian stroganoff, Japanese udon and Greek moussaka. What better way to experience the multicultural classroom?

4. Proximity to California attractions

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Just five hours south of San Francisco is Los Angeles, an urban hub that claims its place as the entertainment capital of the United States. If you prefer country life, you can drive east to discover the magnificent Yosemite park, just 250 kilometers from the city. Driving north will lead you to vineyards to indulge in wine-tasting, whereas a trip south on Highway 1 will take you to the sparkling beaches of Santa Barbara. San Francisco’s location provides ideal proximity to some of the most attractive destinations on the west coast.

5. Beauty

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Another great reason to teach in San Francisco is the beauty of the city itself. When I first arrived in the city, I was initially surprised by the freezing fog that enveloped the buildings in the early morning. However, as I wandered through the crooked streets towards the bay, the fog lifted to reveal a piercing sun that sparkled on the ocean waves. As I sat at the pier, surrounded by the seagulls’ cries and the clapping of the seals scampering on the dock, I was blown away by the beauty of the sea, the golden beaches and forest beyond.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s see you in the Golden State as you pursue your TEFL career in a truly breath-taking part of the world!

To find out more about teaching in San Francisco, salaries, and jobs on offer, we recommend you check out Glassdoor. To see if there’s any jobs available – check our jobs board!

If you want to keep things close to home, check out why you should be going to the Teaching Conferences this year!