Are you thinking of becoming a language teacher but aren't sure of what the job is actually like?

A confused teacher in a classroom.

The job has a lot of perks and benefits. But it also has some quirks that could drive you crazy! It's important to know what you're getting into.

These three upsides and three downsides can help you paint a picture of what your life as a language teacher would be like.


1. Creativity

If you're the kind of person who likes taking a different approach to work every day, this is a huge upside!

A teacher writing on a glass board. Photo by Kvalifik on Unsplash

Imagine you want to teach students how to order food at a restaurant. Here are just a few activities you could run in class:

  • Role playing

  • Matching activities

  • Charades

  • Pictionary

  • Micro presentations

It's up to you what seems most engaging!

2. Travel

Teaching a language can be a great way to see the world and get paid to do it. If you speak English, you can move to almost any continent on Earth and start teaching.

A globe in front of a blue sky. Photo by Lucas George Wendt on Unsplash

Many international schools are extremely flexible in terms of required experience and education. Sometimes simply being a native speaker is enough.

Here are some countries that badly want English teachers:

  • Japan

  • Korea

  • Mexico

  • Saudi Arabia

3. Culture

If you stay in your own country, you'll have people from all over going to you to learn your language. And you'll learn as much from students as they do from you!

A series of flags hanging over a street. Photo by Nareeta Martin on Unsplash

A language classroom is one of the best places on Earth to learn about different cultures.

Working as a language teacher, you're guaranteed to learn about:

  • New foods

  • New music

  • Cool foreign TV shows

  • Traditional dance


What are the minimum requirements for being a language teacher? Select all that apply:


1. Low Pay

Many language teachers complain about being underpaid.

An person looking at their empty wallet. Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Pay will vary depending on where you teach.

The average salary for an English language teacher in Toronto, Canada for example is $49,307 a year. Keep in mind that Toronto is an expensive city, and usually schools in English speaking countries require a lot of education and experience.

Don't go into this field if money is a priority!

2. Inconsistency

Depending on the country you're working in and the age of the students, you might find yourself working some pretty weird hours.

A person working on a laptop. Photo by Simon Abrams on Unsplash

Your Monday schedule might look like this:

  • 8:00am - 11:00am

  • 12:00pm - 1:00pm

  • 9:00pm - 12:00am

Tuesday's schedule could be completely different.

Many schools hire language teachers just to fill gaps in scheduling left by other teachers. Or, your schedule might be based around students' work hours.

3. Social Energy Drainage

As a language teacher, you're going to be talking to people all day every day.

A crowd of spectators at an amphiteatre. Photo by Emile Guillemot on Unsplash

Depending on your personality type, this may actually be an upside!

But if you're the kind of person who just wants to get to work and do work, you might struggle with the amount of small talk you end up making as a language teacher.

Take Action

Ross from Friends moves through a group of students. He says,

Picture your day as a language teacher.

  • You meet a bunch of interesting people.

  • You plan out some fun activities.

  • You adjust to your changing schedule each day.

If this picture looks good to you...


Your feedback matters to us.

This Byte helped me better understand the topic.

Get support to take action on this Byte