Teach English in Kenya

Flag of Kenya

Jambo! Have you ever wondered about traveling and working in an authentic African setting? On the eastern coast of the continent, you will find this experience in the magical land of Kenya. This medium-sized country presents a great mixture of culture, ethnicities, landscapes and nature. Discovering Kenya is like a journey to the other dimension: from the snow-covered mountain peaks, through sandy beaches and picturesque bays, to the savannah and immense deserts, your teaching adventure awaits!

  • Peak Hiring Times: November - January
  • Average Monthly Salary: $1000 USD and below
  • Average Cost of Living: $500
  • Save or Break Even? Save
  • Work Visa: Residence permit needed for stays over 3 months

English is the language of instruction in the Kenyan schools, from primary school up to the university level. Positions are offered at government sponsored institutions, private language schools or public schools. In order to teach in the state sector, the requirements are as follows: a university degree, teaching certification (TEFL, TESOL) and at least one year of teaching experience. Regional and private school may have varying requirements. Another option is to volunteer teach, and take part in a local project to improve education. Even though is a no-salary option, you can expect food and accommodation to be provided, along with a more relaxed working schedule (10 - 15 hours per week) and sometimes a bit of pocket money.

Kenya's capital, Nairobi
Teach in Kenya's capital, Nairobi

Many job opportunities, along with a reasonable standard of living, can be found in big Kenyan cities, such as: Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret and Kisumu. Such metropolises are the true hubs of education, services and socio-cultural development in the country. Many employers in larger cities can offer you an extra monthly allowance for food and accommodation or provide the shelter on the top of the offered salary. You should pay attention to the job conditions as they should be listed with details in your contract.

When and Where to Look for Jobs:

Kenya is a place of opportunity for those willing to teach English abroad. Its doors are open to both certified teachers, with pedagogical experience, and non-professional fluent English speakers. There is a huge demand for teachers all year round, as the country permanently struggles with a lack of qualified educators, especially in rural and suburban area. The peak hiring season is estimated between November and January.

Salary & Cost of Living:

A teacher's monthly salary typically falls below $1000 for a full-time job. At the same time, the average cost of living is around $500 per month, which includes housing, food, bills, transportation etc. Keep in mind, that prices will vary depending on whether you choose to live in a big city, such as Nairobi, or stay in the countryside. Guesthouses are a good option for accommodation, as you will have the chance to adapt to the local community; rooms can be rented out for around $100 per month.

Work Visa:

To enter the country, you are obliged to have a work visa, which is usually issued for up to six months. For more information, you can visit the official Kenyan immigration site. All employees, voluntary workers, students, residents etc., staying for over three months in the country, must register with n the local Ministry of Immigration office.

Classroom & Work Culture:

Each teacher's work schedule is negotiated individually, depending on the type of school. Typically you will teach between 25 - 30 hours of classes per week. It's also very likely that you will receive teaching instructions and a custom school curriculum, to prepare classes according to those guidelines. Teaching activities in Kenya might include cultural and educational games that are focused mostly on communication skills and improving student interaction.

As the African social framework and tradition are totally different from the European or American environment, it is advisable to get some basic insights before arriving in Kenya. In addition, Kenya is regarded to be among the safest places within Africa, though, common sense and consciousness of potential risks should be kept in mind.

Teaching in Kenya is an enlightening, rewarding and life changing experience. Schools, especially in rural areas, are packed with students dedicated to learning. They are committed, focused and wonderful. Standing in front a class of 30, a teacher knows that every word spoken is being digested and processed. Kenya is in need of teachers, and resources, books and volunteers alike are celebrated within villages. Teachers experience all Kenya has to offer, from safari, sipping wine like Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in Out of Africa, to horseback rides and trips out on Lake Victoria. The people of your village will want to spoil you and trips to the market with them are a must!

Contributed by Aleksandra Czyz

Aleksandra is a journalist with a true passion for traveling and adventure. She spent over a year on a scholarship in Indonesia and in that time, she backpacked throughout Southeast Asia. In her professional life, she focuses on social media and online brand promotion. Aleksandra believes in karma and good spirits. You can find her on Twitter and Google+.

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