I’m sure you’ve already realised that finding a job as a non-native English teacher is difficult. Especially the in private sector.
If you go in forums or groups for non-natives, you might hear some horrible stories. Such as this one, for example.
That’s why I wanted to inject some positivity. And record a few videos about places where you can and should teach English as a non-native speaker.
In this video I want to focus on Belgium. I’ll give you four reasons why I think it’s a great place to teach English in as a non-native speaker.
So let’s gets started 🙂
I’ve been teaching English in Flanders, Belgium for 4 years now. And it’s a great place to be as a non-native speaker. In this video I’m mostly going to talk about the Flemish part of Belgium, because that’s where I’ve been teaching.
Reason 1: Few job ads for native speakers only
So first of all, job ads for native speakers only practically don’t exist in Flanders. There are definitely quite a few in Brussels, but not in Flanders (you can read more about my job-hunting experience in Brussels region right here).
As a result, because there are practically no job ads for native speakers only, right at the start you don’t have to deal with employers who think any native speaker is better.
Of course, you could still get TEFL jobs as a non-native speakers even in places where employers prefer non-native speakers. You can read a full guide to it right here.
But not having to deal with this initial hurdle is a great breath of fresh air, to be honest.
Reason 2: High professionalism
Another thing that I find very attractive in the local ELT industry is the high professionalism.
Local teachers are very highly qualified and skilled. This means that there are hardly any barely qualified native speakers getting jobs left and right.
If you want a job, you need high qualifications, preferably an MA. And you need to be highly proficient.
This creates a feeling of high professionalism in the industry here, which I really like.
People who teach here teach because they are qualified to do so, not because they fancy a bit of travelling during their gap year.
Reason 3: High salaries
If you’ve worked in language schools most of your career, like I have, you’ve probably been broke most of the time. And perhaps you’ve even started thinking that it’s not possible to be decently paid as a TEFL teacher.
Come to Flanders! The salaries are very high.
Admittedly, I’m talking about universities as I haven’t worked in a language school here. That’s another funny thing, there are almost no language schools.
But in the 10 or so years in ELT before coming here, I’d made a month at most about 50% of my monthly salary here.
Reason 4: Working conditions
The working conditions are also very good. Again, I’m mostly talking about universities.
In my previous job, I was practically free all summer, and still getting paid. I mean there were one or two things that needed taking care of, but many teachers would literally take off for 6 weeks during the summer. And still get paid.
My full-time contract was to teach 16 hours a week. Yes 16.
Coming from the private language school sector, that was an absolute (positive) shock to the system.
After spending most of my career working split shifts and doing 25+ hours a week at the very least, this was a welcome change.
In some other universities, for example where I work now, you will do 20 tops. So forget about doing 30 hours a week. Forget about running around like a headless chicken from one class to the next. Forget about split shifts
Some (slight) downsides
Now, there are some slight downsides.
First of all, as I mentioned previously, language schools almost don’t exist in Flanders, so your options are limited to universities or state schools. This of course means fewer jobs to choose from.
Second, in universities you’re most likely going to work on a temporary position: after 5 years you’ll be made redundant. Unless a permanent position opens.
But obviously, permanent positions in universities are few and far between, because people don’t want to leave them.
To sum up…
So overall, would I recommend working in Belgium?
Absolutely. Stick to university jobs in Flanders or Brussels region. You won’t have to deal with native speakerism much. You’ll have good pay and great working conditions.