Known as the “Switzerland of the Middle East,” Lebanon is comprised of beautiful mountains and green scenery, as well as a swanky, urban capital located in Beirut. The people of Lebanon are known to be easygoing and friendly, despite the country’s history of turmoil with its geopolitical neighbors.
Explore the beautiful beaches, Roman architectural ruins, and expert ski resorts in this small Middle Eastern nation. With this, Lebanon’s international status is rising and it needs teachers to help its students gain English fluency.
Beginning in elementary school, Lebanese students are taught either English or French as a primary second language. Once in secondary school, math and science classes are solely taught in one of these two languages (depending on the school’s curriculum). Thus, English teachers are in high demand in a multitude of teaching locations.
Teachers can either privately tutor on the side, to supplement their salaries, or enroll in programs such as GeoVisions’ Conversation Corps. Applicants will receive room and board in exchange for about 15 hours/week of tutoring (a bit similar to an au pair situation). As a “live-in” tutor, there will be plenty of opportunity for cross-cultural exchange between you and your host family. In addition, this volunteer-like situation will allow for plenty of free time to travel within Lebanon and explore your surroundings. No official teaching experience is necessary for these types of tutoring placements; though, it is helpful to have some background in dealing with children.
Private International Schools:
Most private and international schools, which actively and consistently hire English teachers, are located in the capital city of Beirut. These jobs are reserved for teachers with proper certification and ESL experience. Some examples of these schools are the Students’ Paradise Secondary School and the International School of Akkar.
English language centers are growing increasingly popular, not only for children, but also adult learners. Schools, such as the American Language Center, offer after-school or evening classes that range from beginner’s to business-level English.
When and Where to Look for Jobs:
Beirut, where most jobs are located, is known to be one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the Middle East. However, there are plenty of other teaching opportunities all over Lebanon, in cities like Tripoli, Sidon, Byblos, and Tyre.
Since most schools perform interviews in-person, it is easiest to look for jobs and secure interviews if you are already in Lebanon. You may find that employers prefer an “on the spot” hiring process, so that they can meet with applicants face-to-face before signing contracts.
Employers look for applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree (in any subject). Also, a TEFL/TESOL certification is required to teach. If you are interested in tutoring or an au pair type situation, no experience is necessarily required (but, it is taken into account).
Salary & Cost of Living:
Schools and employers will assist in finding housing, but typically it is not compensated. Rent is comparably the same price as in many major U.S. cities, but it is possible to find affordable housing if you share the space with a roommate. In addition, if living in Beirut, you should be able to eat well on about $10/day. Beirut is full of overpriced, “hip” restaurants or bars, but opt for meals at local businesses or street vendors if you want to save money.
Classroom & Work Culture:
Wear modest clothing in the classroom (as well as when visiting religious sites). Although Lebanon is known to be relatively “open,” it remains a somewhat conservative country when it comes to dress code.
Avoid bringing up Lebanon’s political relations with Syria; political tensions are high and it is not recommended that you stir the pot.
Even though many people speak English or French as a second language, learn some helpful words and phrases in Arabic while you’re there.