If you are looking to earn your TEFL certification, but also enjoy the sights and scenery of your destination, Turkey is the ideal spot! At the crossroads of Europe and the Middle East, Turkey offers a blend of cultures, visible in its Byzantine architecture and combined Mediterranean, Arabic, and Central Asian flavors in its cuisine. There is no shortage of places to see and people to meet, and any traveler or teacher will find excitement in Turkey.
A TEFL course is a large expense, and one that will greatly benefit your personal and professional experiences. Teaching abroad is not an easy choice to make, but given that you choose a comprehensive course and dynamic destination, such as Turkey, there is no doubt that you will leave confident and relaxed.
TEFL + Teach:
In Turkey, the most common program is the combined TEFL course and teacher placements. While at first these programs will appear more expensive than going it alone, you will find the placement services to be extremely valuable when starting your job search. If you are planning to stay in Turkey after the completion of your TEFL course, a combination program has long-term benefits. In program fees, accommodation is included, as well as social activities and survival Turkish language lessons.
120-Hour TEFL Courses:
Typically offered in the summer through fall months (leading up to the start of the school year), 120-hour TEFL courses cover the main components of teaching English. In these interactive classrooms, you will have the chance to learn how to manage an English classroom and keep students engaged. Within a span of 3 to 4 weeks, you will work closely with professional instructors, as well as other teacher trainees, and enjoy optional social activities and tours of Turkey!
When and Where to Look:
The majority of TEFL courses and teaching jobs in Turkey are located in the major cities of Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. If you are looking to teach in a smaller city or town, this will require a bit of research while you are in the country; many small town schools do not advertise their posts online. However, if you are taking a TEFL course through a provider that offers teaching placement services, they will be able to listen to your requests and help you to find a suitable job.
Many TEFL courses are offered year-round, but schools typically begin recruitment in the months of August and December (before the start of the new semester). Therefore, it is best to begin your TEFL course in July or November, giving yourself 4 to 6 weeks to become acclimated with your new location and learn the basics of teaching English.
Generally, schools and recruiters are looking for teachers with a TEFL certificate and university degree. Most schools will request native speakers, but it is not a requirement for all jobs. Additionally, many schools will hire on the spot given that the teacher is available for an in-person or Skype interview. Come prepared with a CV and interview tips when beginning to apply for teaching positions.
Once you’ve earned your TEFL certificate, and are looking for work in Turkey, there are a few options for employment. The most common and popular option is to teach at an English language school. These schools are private and are a great choice for new teachers with little experience in front of a classroom. These schools also offer flexibility in scheduling; most classes are held solely in the mornings or evenings, so you will likely have time off during the afternoons to explore.
In Turkey, you can also teach at a private school (some are international schools or bilingual academies). While many students at these schools will already have a great grasp on English, there are programs for those that need extra assistance or instruction. These schools are sometimes harder to find, and they often look for experienced educators, but do try directly contacting their HR departments about job openings.
Cost of Living:
On average, a teacher or TEFL student living in Turkey will spend around $500 to $650 USD per month (on housing, food, utilities, etc.). While spending does depend on the individual, you will be able to live comfortably on your teaching salary. Note that some TEFL courses include accommodation in program fees so your cost of living may be even lower than stated above.