Jessica J. Hill taught English in Thailand and China before starting her own TEFL agency, Teach English: ESL, that specializes in quality, short-term programs abroad. She works with each client personally to help determine which teach abroad program is right for her/him.
What position do you hold at Teach English: ESL? What has been your career path so far?
I’m the founder of Teach English: ESL, and I wear many hats! The idea to start my own TEFL agency came after my own experiences with teaching English abroad in Thailand and China. Both were unforgettable adventures that molded me into the person I am today. Without immersing myself in the local cultures and becoming a part of the local communities, I wouldn’t have known just how important travel is and will continue to be in my life.
Now, I want to provide honest advice and guidance to my clients, from someone who started out the same way, unsure of where to start and whom to trust. Through Teach English: ESL I have the unique honor to play a part in helping so many amazing people reach their potential and accomplish their dreams of travel.
Did YOU teach abroad?! If so, where and what inspired you to go?
Absolutely! I first taught at a government-run high school in rural Thailand, and then a private university in China before returning to Thailand and serving short stints at both the primary and preschool levels. Before take-off, I was at a place in my life where I wasn’t sure where I was headed, so I asked myself what I really wanted to do. Travel and write were my answers, but I couldn’t afford to do just that, so I looked into teaching ESL. I found that Thailand allowed me to sign a short, six-month contract so I signed up, unaware of where I would be teaching and living, but open to the possibility of anything in such a beautiful, tropical country.
I found that teaching abroad provided me plenty of time to do both writing and traveling (most positions only require teachers to work about 20 hours/week), and it opened my eyes to the possibility of teaching in the USA in my future.
What does the future hold for Teach English: ESL - any exciting new programs to share?
We just launched this month with top-rated TEFL courses in Bangkok, Chicago and online, as well as job placement opportunities in both Thailand and China. We hope to offer a wider variety of both TEFL courses and jobs in the coming year!
What about the future of the TEFL industry? How do you think international education will change over the next 10 years?
I think education, all aspects of it, is changing constantly and rapidly as the world desperately tries to stay abreast on fast evolving technology and world influence. Teaching English overseas, however, will continue to be a necessary tool as English quickly becomes the global language. Countries who were slow to realize this now have a big push toward English as a second language nationwide, and many have amped up their budgets for native-speaking ESL teachers. I only see the demand for English teachers growing over the next 10 years as other countries hop on board and do the same.
Which teach abroad destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?
That’s difficult! My experience and research mostly consists of TEFL opportunities in Asia, but I can say that countries like China, Korea and Japan pay much higher salaries than countries in Europe and Latin America. Parts of Thailand, however, are underrated, which makes them prime locations to live and teach.
The Northeast (what the locals call Isaan), where I first taught, and the far north are often skipped over by both travelers and teachers alike, which makes them prime opportunities for getting to know the locals and really immersing oneself in the wonderful, Buddhist culture. I don’t think any countries are overrated when it comes to teaching, for any teach abroad experience will surely open your mind and your heart to new ways of life, new cultures and new adventures. You’ll grow as a person, and help your students do the same.