Below are a few of our top picks of the most popular cities within the UK in which to teaching English as a second language.
Brighton is a smaller town with that bigger city feel, a coastal retreat with a bustling night life and endless daytime events and attractions. Located just an hour’s train journey south of London, Brighton boasts many of the same thrills as the big city, along with the unique experiences of playing a few rounds of games on the Pier, walks along the gorgeous seafront, and even a quick dip in the frigid sea! All the while being only a short hop, skip, and jump away from the nation’s capital.
TEFL teachers are constantly in demand in Brighton as it’s a popular destination for foreign students studying abroad, having come to the UK to specifically learn English as a second language. As is the case each year, Brighton explodes in the summertime as students from Italy, Spain, France and more flood the city, everyone looking for the amusement of spending the warmer months seaside whilst continuing their study programmes. As a result, there is end to all the ESL and TEFL job opportunities Brighton has to offer, both within public and private language schools. Additionally many of these schools are filled to capacity year around and not solely during the breaks and holidays, giving TEFL teachers the ease of steady work.
The TEFL teachers that settle in Brighton typically attribute the appeal to the fact that Brighton offers a great work/life balance: as a teacher, you will be well paid and can find work all year long, and the city (indeed the entire region) offers no end in terms of entertainment value, and the public transport will get you anywhere you need to go, whether it’s just across town or on a weekend train journey to another city. Newly qualified teachers should not overlook all that Brighton has to offer.
Cambridge is another hot spot in the UK for foreign students looking to learn English. Home to Cambridge University and more than twenty different accredited language schools, Cambridge is another city where the ESL teacher will have no troubles finding work year around, regardless if through public schools or as a private tutor, thanks to the allure this beautiful and historic city offers. Cambridge also boasts an active ESL scene, dozens of arts and literary festivals each year, and endless student activities thanks to the city’s university, making it easy for the ESL teacher to involve their students in the local flavour.
One of the biggest draws for teachers, however, is Cambridge’s academic feel. The university and the students who attend any of the wonderful schools in town are a big influence for city and many new teachers cannot help but falling in love with the idea of intellectual conversation in any one of the city’s quaint (and likely, famous) pubs. Much like Brighton, Cambridge is only a short train journey away from London as well, leaving the TEFL teacher spoiled for choice in terms of off time entertainment.
Similar to Cambridge, Oxford is another city offering both the charm and appeal of a historic town combined with the bustling student life surrounding one of the world’s top universities. From Oxford’s endless museums and galleries to the colourful student nightlife, it’s no wonder Oxford is top of the list for many foreign students wishing to learn English… and why it’s on our top list of cities in which to teach English.
Like with Cambridge, TEFL teachers are in near constant, year around demand in Oxford. Not only is the university a big draw for foreign students, but Oxford also has a number of accredited language schools that are filled all year long, providing steady and well-paid positions both during peak holiday seasons and year round.
Academic ambience once again tops the reasons why TEFL teachers choose Oxford, with events, lectures, and unique exhibits always on and open to the public. Many teachers find the appeal of sitting in an old pub where many famous authors penned their work to be too much to resist. And given the seemingly endless attractions Oxford has to offer, there is plenty to do with the hours not spent teaching.
London is the top city for the new TEFL teacher. Though ESL salaries tend to be lower and inversely the cost of living much higher than the rest of the country, London acts as the gateway to the English-speaking West, so it’s no wonder why London hosts more students each year than anywhere else in the UK. Given that there is no shortage of students in London, there is no shortage of ESL jobs either, with many language institutions paying hourly and flexible to the hours you want or need (within reason). London language schools also have perhaps the most varied student body than in any other city in the UK, with people of all ages and countries of origin having flocked to the UK to learn English.
Many find the idea of a big, bustling city to be intimidating, but it needn’t be, and there is a load of activities and events to check out in your downtime, from cultural and academic events, to the big city nightlife, to all of the historic locales, and more. Additionally, London’s colourful cultural menagerie and events offers the TEFL teacher the opportunity to involve their students as well, helping to bridge the gap between their home and host cultures.
About Ryan O’Sullivan - English Instructor at The TEFL Academy
Ryan is an experienced EFL Teacher and director of The TEFL Academy. A combined love of language learning and a hunger to travel led Ryan to become a TEFL teacher. He advocates the practice of language teaching from the students’ perspective and believes that empathy and patience are essential for this job. Ryan has plenty of advice for new teachers, but thinks the most important thing in his job is to take a genuine interest in your students.