Travel & Teach - New Zealand
Well, if you make it this far, you will be richly rewarded. New Zealand has dramatic and spectacular landscapes, forests, amazing wildlife and a pleasant climate that makes it a very popular choice for EFL travellers, especially for those keen on outdoor activities and extreme sports. It is a paradise for nature lovers with mountain chains, steaming volcanoes and lush rainforests. It has a relatively open feel, being about the size of the UK but only one-fifteenth of the population. The north of New Zealand is subtropical and the south temperate. In summer the warmest months are December, January and February, and the winter runs from June to August.
New Zealand is a country with a varied history, dominated by the relationship between Maori and Pakeha (Europeans). It has a multicultural society and the people are noted for their honesty, friendliness, and openness. Certainly there is a high demand for English teaching and a flourishing private sector. Prospects are improving as the demand for English teachers increases, the government appear to be relaxing (albeit slightly) the previous stringent visa regulations. Standards are also high within the EFL industry here and you would be advised to get some actual teaching practice under your belt before you go. If you are able to secure a teaching position, you can expect a contract, which should afford you a relatively good standard of living.
British Council http://www.britishcouncil.org/
British Council in New Zealand: http://www.britishcouncil.org/nz.htm
New Zealand Embassy UK: http://newzealand.embassyhomepage.com/
New Zealand Embassy USA: http://www.embassy.org/embassies/nz.html
New Zealand National Tourist Office: http://www.newzealand.com/travel
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In order to get a job teaching in a NZ primary/intermediate/high school, applicants must possess full teacher certification. I believe a UK (or some other recognised country's) certification will be acceptable, but for the poor folks like me, with degrees and (eventually) a CTEFL, it is not enough. We can only get odd jobs in schools if we're lucky, or work in one of the English language institutes that are cropping up everywhere.
We have a huge influx of Asian students during their holidays, July-August, mostly from Korea, and in North Shore City (across the bridge, but part of greater Auckland) there's an English language place in every mall and every suburb. Quality is extremely variable, and I fear that there are some rip-offs, as there are Koreans who come here and set schools up, advertise them at home, charge huge sums, and then teach them with Korean teachers whose English is very weak! The poor souls would be better staying home! The government is muttering about controls, and I hope they do, before our reputation as a good place to learn English gets spoiled. Another aspect of the scene here is that many agencies offer free English courses for immigrants and run them often with voluntary teachers, who are nonetheless qualified. Schools also run adult classes with a government subsidy, and these are usually for adults, but use qualified, paid teachers (not necessarily certified).
New Zealand is quite a pleasant place to live. The climate is temperate, but very variable. We do have seasons, but they are not as marked as in Europe, and the temperatures not so extreme. The northernmost part of New Zealand rarely gets frost, and is subtropical in places. However, in Southland and Otago, winters can be very cold, and summers not very nice! Parts of Otago and Canterbury experience warm, dry (or humid) nor'westers, a type of wind, that can even occur in winter. They raise the temperature quite considerable at times.
The education system in general has been undergoing vast changes over the past few years, changing from Pass/Fail and scaling of marks to unit standards and achievement awards. There is, in general, not enough time spent with both special needs children and the gifted.
As far as teaching English goes, I don't know too much about that but am going to join the ESOL association. As a new member of this profession, I am still feeling my way. However, we do have many immigrants who need English tuition, and there are also many students in both Primary and Secondary schools coming from Asia who require assistance in learning the language. Some of the previous English schools have fallen into disrepute for various reasons, so the government is trying to standardise tuition to some extent. NZQA is involved in both assessing the content of courses offered and the general standard of achievement of students.
Travel and Teach
The TESOL industry in New Zealand is quite active and the greatest demand comes from a large number of Asian students who come to the country to learn English. There is also some demand for English for Academic Purposes (EAP) with Korean and Japanese high school students who are looking for exam preparation for high school. Enrolments appear to be increasing and demand is somewhat seasonal – so you will find more work between the months of February – May and July – October.
However we see very few EFL positions in New Zealand advertised in the UK national press. If you wish to travel to New Zealand to look for work on the spot, the best idea would be to arrive with the February or July start dates in mind. Obviously you are in a stronger position if you are an Australian or NZ national, but there are still possibilities for those that aren’t. We have heard from several freelance teachers who have travelled through the country and said that work is quite easy to come by, with particular demand in Wellington and Auckland.
New Zealand and Australian residents can work in NZ without any visa documentation. Other nationalities can obtain a working visa, which last for 9 months. However UK citizens can apply for a limited number of 12-month working visas, providing they are less than 30 years old. This should be done through the New Zealand Embassy (see Useful Contacts).
Job prospects for those over 30 are not as good, as an employer has to be able to prove that there are no New Zealanders that could fulfil that position. For further details on work restrictions or conditions, see the New Zealand Immigration Service Website http://www.immigration.govt.nz/.
Teachers can earn reasonably good money in New Zealand, with around $25NZ being the basic hourly wage salary or more if you work privately. Accommodation is not difficult to find and is reasonably priced. Contracts are available but subject to the visa conditions mentioned above.
On applying for TESOL positions, it is generally advisable to send a passport-sized photograph along with a CV, covering letter and possibly copies of degree/EFL certificates. You can find more information on TEFL Interviews on our website.