When solicitor David Allan retired from the legal profession, he had no idea that he was about to embark on completely different career. However, after a move to Southern Brittany, David’s wife started giving a few English lessons on a casual basis. The next thing, David himself had enrolled on an online TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) course, giving him a qualification and a totally new opportunity to live and earn in France.
Before long David (pictured right) had found a variety of willing students; children learning English after school, mature ladies keen to keep up their English conversational skills and, since he was living near a military airport, a few local pilots.
The attraction of teaching English is clear and David’s experience is not unusual. While the British have long opted for sunnier climes in retirement, pensions are not going as far as they used to. Teaching English offers a varied and interesting way to supplement a retirement income – especially for those who would rather not return to the 9-5. Freelance teachers can set their own hours and scale the number of lessons they give up or down accordingly. And with the number of English learners worldwide at an all time high worldwide, the demand to learn English from a native English speaker is not set to dry up any time soon.
And the downside? If looking to teach English in the traditional retiree hotspots of France, Spain, Italy or Portugal, bureaucracy is an issue. You don’t need to speak another language in order to teach English but knowledge of the local language can be very useful for making contacts and for ensuring you don’t fall foul of local tax laws. EU citizens can easily move between other EU countries but it will be necessary to check the working regulations if considering teaching elsewhere.
The semi-retired are teaching English all over the world from Thailand to Tuscany. Most freelance since this offers the most flexibility and there can be unofficial upper age limits within the private language schools. However, this is not something Scott Shepherd teaching English in Vietnam recognises since in many cultures older people are revered.
"Here they equate knowledge with age, so there is more respect shown to you because of this...(older people) are seen as more stable and likely to stay long term."
Sunny weather, an income on retirement AND respect? If you are in the latter stages of your working life, TEFL might just be one avenue worth exploring.
Find out more about:
* our top recommended TESOL course for freelance teaching in Europe
* the best place to teach English for you with our updated destination guides
* our country guide on teaching English in France
For a free Teaching English in France guide with TESOL course discount code, click on link below.
About the author:
Louisa Walsh is Course Director at Global English TESOL courses, specialising in accredited online TESOL/TEFL courses for people with little or no previous background in teaching. Louisa and the Global English team have helped hundreds of mature trainees learn how to teach English; people who are now successfully living and earning abroad.
I taught English to Malaysian students in Penang and to Thai students whilst in the North of Thailand.
They were all very friendly, polite and industrious so it proved to be a most rewarding exercise.
It's not only the young who want to learn English. I teach four classes of retired French people, also in Brittany, who are interested in more than just the language. We look at the literature, culture and history of Britain. I've written a 'soap opera' for the beginners about life in an English village so they can read about the sort of family interests and issues familiar from their own lives.
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"For the past two years I have worked here in Tuscany teaching all levels. I have already recommended your courses to one of my prospective teachers..."
— Alison Salmon, English World, Italy