Getting a TESOL job in India
There’s been a lot of people ask me how to get a teaching job in India, so I’ve finally got round to sharing that info! Getting a teaching job in India can be a taxing experience as there are very few job postings on the most common and popular job sites, such as, daveseslcafe.com or TEFL.net.
I’m not exactly sure why this is, but my suspicion is that India has not yet really been exposed to the ESL jobs world forum and often don’t think that any foreigners want to come and work in India, particularly ones from more developed countries.
That couldn’t be further from the truth! So here’s my advice to anyone who would like to go and work in India, but are having a hard time finding the jobs.
There are many, many jobs advertised for English Language teachers but often come under different names relating to the industry they’re wanted in.
1. Soft skills Trainer
‘Soft skills’ is a bit of an umbrella statement and tends to deal with teaching new skills such as English as a second language, Business English, confidence building, etiquette such as customer service, cross - cultural training.
Often these job posting are for call centres or ‘BPO’ and there are numerous vacancies posted daily, often under that name ‘Voice and Accent Trainer’ as there aren’t enough people to fill the many positions available. Usually, the job postings are in the major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, but you will find them throughout the country.
People who have worked in call centres as trainers before have really enjoyed it, and the salary is great too. The only downfall could be the hours, as around half of the jobs in this industry require you to work the ‘American or UK’ shift, otherwise known as, ‘The Grave Yard Shift’.
You can also find Soft skills trainer jobs in the aviation sector, training air hosting staff. Kingfisher, Go Air, and Air Indigo regularly post vacancies.
The other side of Soft Skills training involves ‘grooming’…. I know.
This basically means, getting students ready for either a job or further study where they need to polish themselves up a bit in the areas of English, confidence, interviewing skills, CV writing, general etiquette and my personal favourite, ‘personality development’ aka, interpersonal skills.
This particular breed of Soft Skills Trainer are found in ‘Finishing schools’ and general training companies.
2. Corporate Coach / Trainer
This, very simply put, is a Business English Trainer, sometimes freelance, sometimes hired. The trainers are required to go into companies and train staff in Business English and quite often all of the above. Mostly, these jobs are found through agencies in India in the big cities like Bangalore.
3. IELTS / TOEFL Teacher / Trainer
IELTS and TOEFL (the UK, Australian and American English exams required to pass in order to immigrate) are a big business in India and Language centres that deal with this area are spread through out the country.
Haven’t got any experience teaching these exams I hear you say? Fear not. Experience is often not required, just read up on what the exams entail and you’re all set for a career in the Cambridge examinations sector.
4. The classic English Teacher
There are many international schools in India requiring English teachers of all shapes and sizes. The great things about these positions is that international schools often really take care of their staff and getting an ‘employment visa’ – more on that below– will be easier as well as accommodation and health care.
The only consideration with this would be is that you might be asked to teach more of a traditional syllabus, meaning English Literature and Language as sometimes ESL isn’t a priority due to the English based examination boards. This was a serious problem for me, as often there is a desperate need for English to be taught as a second language but instead students are thrown into the old English world of Shakespeare.
There are also many voluntary positions, which can be both rewarding and great as an initial introduction to working in India. There are some great postings working with Tibetan monks in the Himalayan regions of Ladakh, also known as Little Tibet, and the many, many NGOs in India that desperately need people’s help. These NGOs may be involved in rescuing women and children from sex trafficking, or providing free education to children whose families’ are living in extreme poverty, the children of people living in leprosy colonies, women’s development centres where women go after they have been extradited from their society due to divorce, simply not giving birth to a boy, domestic violence or escaping prostitution. There is also a great need for Special Needs teachers.
Some recent voluntary posts I’ve come across:
If your into wildlife and conservation, Jack Kinross has advertised English Teaching positions for his most recent expedition into the Himalayas, teaching in village schools. - https://www.facebook.com/jackkinross
Teach for India - www.teachforindia.org
“That’s what we’re working towards - A day when every child gets the opportunity to attain an excellent education. A day when we can empower every human being with choice. Because that’s what every child deserves. That’s what India deserves.”
Make a Difference - http://makeadiff.in/uat/ - A Movement of Young People.
"Make a difference empowers children living in orphanages and street shelters to discover their true strengths and unleash their full potential." And some others:
There are sooo many, just google it.
Useful websites for job searches:
ESL Schools in India (there are many) :
Then of course there is the British Council in India who post jobs year round.
To legally work in India you will need an employment visa which is arranged before you leave your country. You can’t legally work in India on a tourist visa, but this often is overlooked…..
VFS is the name of the company in the UK that deal with Indian visas and are located in the major cities of the country. My last trip to one was in Birmingham in a small office of a community centre and took all of 20 minutes to submit, after the women behind the desk rang her bhabiji (sister in law) to ask what the procedure was.
A last word of advice
Use your head. India is not your country = things work differently. There are cultural differences, health, safety, bureaucracy, it can be overwhelmingly hot, cold, crowded (1 billion people), magnificent, horrendous, incredible or devastating. Just like any other country.
Working in a big city in India is not like backpacking. It’s a lifestyle change and one you have to consider seriously. It’s not all about yoga and making friends with the local sadu (holy man), you are often surrounded my extreme poverty contrasted with extreme wealth.
If you’re going to work in India to live the hippy lifestyle and walk around bare foot in a sarong, please stay at home. We have enough people who can’t actually afford shoes or a bath, for you to come and take the piss.
Working in India can be hard work, but I can promise you it will never be boring, and it will certainly be incredible.