Areas of work, specialisms and alternatives

Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL)

22 Jun 2023, 13:19

TEFL teaching is a popular choice for graduates of all backgrounds.

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TEFL teaching refers to the work of teaching English as a foreign language. ‘TEFLING’ can involve teaching all age ranges from very young children to mature business executives. TEFL teaching is a very popular choice for graduates of all backgrounds. Most will view it as a temporary occupation, before they apply themselves seriously to their ‘real’ career.

Working life

The typical working day, both in Ireland and abroad, usually entails classes in the morning and evening. Salaries are worked out at an hourly rate and job security, in most cases, is difficult to find. However, a small number of graduates enjoy TEFL teaching so much that they decide to make a serious career of it. In these instances, prospects for promotion are good; many graduates who remain in reputable, well-run schools will be given positions such as director of studies and will be responsible for curriculum development, course design and examinations. After some years, many experienced teachers will end up managing a language school or in some cases will open up their own language school.


There are several options available for study as a TEFL Teacher. Some TEFL courses are run over a weekend and others are of a longer duration. Click here for more information about TEFL courses.

Who would it suit?

Teachers need to have well-developed communication skills, be outgoing and sociable, enthusiastic, inventive, imaginative and energetic. They must be able to develop a rapport with people of all ages, open to bringing novel and creative approaches into the classroom and involve their students in their own learning as much as possible.

An opportunity to travel

Many graduates regard TEFL teaching as an opportunity to spend a year or two abroad while perfecting their fluency in a European language. It provides an ideal opportunity for language graduates who wish to gain a high level of proficiency in order to use their linguistic skills professionally. Some people wishing to travel to destinations such as Korea, China and Thailand are able to find work as TEFL teachers as they travel.

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This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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