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As an older CELTA graduate, will I struggle to get a teaching job?

All Questions / After your CELTA / Teaching Career

Entering the job market as an older person often raises feelings of self-doubt. Are schools looking for younger, more energetic teachers to connect with what are mostly younger students? Will I be feel out of place in a school full of younger teachers? And ultimately, will my age count against me in job applications?

Securing your first EFL teaching job is mostly down to the following:

  1. Applying at the right time, when schools are looking to fill the teaching staff before new student intakes.
  2. Connecting beforehand with someone who already works at the language school, such as the DOS, ADOS or even just other teachers. Just like with most industries, it’s not just what you know, but who you know.
  3. Demonstrating an understanding of the school, classroom and teaching environment. Obviously you’re not expected to have years of experience if you’re fresh out of the CELTA, but it’s always helpful to show that you can plan and teach a lesson with minimal support.

A fourth point applies mainly to East Asian countries, who are often looking for someone who fits their ideal image of an English teacher. It’s an unfortunate truth that white, caucasian, native-speaking teachers will usually find it much easier to secure work in these countries.

From my experience talking to many English language teachers, age does not play a big role in finding work. In fact, it could be a benefit if you have valuable professional or life experience to draw upon and communicate during your interview.

Older teachers are also far less likely to leave employment after a year or two, and can be better relied upon by the school to teach future semesters.

Finally, take some comfort in the fact I get an equal number of emails from YOUNG people, concerned that their age will be a barrier to entry too.