Are you a native English-speaker?
Are you passionate about teaching English?
Does the word ‘Singapore’ activate your travel juices?
How about linking your language and passion to the ultimate destination, Singapore!
Did you know, about 40% of residents of Singapore are originally non-natives and are foreign passport holders. In this case, English holds a special importance there as a common language for communication.
In fact, out of four official languages spoken, English is the lingua franca of Singaporeans. Singapore English has two forms –
- Standard Singapore English
- Singapore Colloquial English, also known as Singlish
Singlish is mostly spoken by the natives and it is discouraged by the government for use as it is different from the standard Singapore English(language used in education, work and government sectors ) and can be understood mostly by the other Singlish speakers only.
English Teaching Prospects for Foreign Teachers
There are some great job opportunities for the post of English teacher in Singapore, but the competition there is much more than in other Asian countries.
With that said, I would say that once you start as an English teacher in Singapore, you would never regret your decision as the country offers a great ambiance to the foreign professionals. The basic requirements/qualifications needed for teaching English in Singapore are :
Apart from being a native English-speaker, you should have-
- A bachelor’s degree in arts or science
- TEFL certification
- A prior teaching experience
In addition, you should preferably hold one of the below citizenships –
- New Zealand
- South Africa
TEFL Certification Options
To become an English teacher in Singapore, you should complete TEFL certification either through classroom programs or through one of the many online certification programs.
- Classroom Programs
Classrooms give a comprehensive learning which includes both studies as well as practical teaching. You can attend the classroom sessions from either of these two locations-
- Your country
The employers in Singapore prefer the TEFL certified english teachers who preferably take the course and complete the certification in Singapore itself.
Salient features of the usual classroom courses are –
- Duration – 4 weeks – 100+ hours of academia and 6-10 hours of ESL-student teaching under observation
- Cost – $1500 – $2000, including travel to Singapore
- Full time course
- Days of class – Monday to Friday
- Timing – 9 am to 6 pm
- Class strength – 10-14 students
- Location : Language schools
- 2-3 hours of homework daily
Before joining any classroom program , please contact the Admission Advisor of the location to get details about your eligibility, enrollment, lodging and your job prospects post learning.
Classroom sessions are naturally more beneficial than the online ones owing to the fact that they give an in-person feel and impart a more practical learning. Nevertheless, due to certain circumstances, many students fail to go for the classroom course but are equally interested in the TEFL certification training. In that case, online classes come to the rescue.
- Online Programs
There are a number of paid as well as free TEFL courses available online. You can browse and choose the best that suits you.
How to Pick One Program?
To help you zero in on to a particular course, I have listed out the things that you need to consider while choosing the best online program for you –
- The review scores of each program
- The number of reviews against each program
- Course type – free or paid – prefer the paid ones
- Course duration – prefer the 100+ hour course
- A recognised accreditation
TEFL Certification Course by Henry Harvin
Out of all the courses, Henry Harvin leads in offering online TEFL certification course. This is a self-paced learning course with the below features –
- 120-hour long online course
- AAEFL(American Association of English as a Foreign Language) certified
- Offers exclusive LMS access
- Provides job support
- Offers best pedagogical practices
- Course fee – $299
- Provides digital certificate upon successful completion of course and TEFL certification exam
Take this course to make sure that you clear the TEFL certification in the very first attempt. This course boosts your teaching strategy and skills by providing the best pedagogical practices.
Anyone who has a passion for teaching and is proficient in English can take up this course. The uniquely designed course enables the students to grasp the content and apply it with full confidence during the TEFL certification exam and even post that during the teaching stint in Singapore. This course guarantees a 100% interview just after enrollment.
Apart from a 120-hour of study, this course also includes activities and assessments to enhance theoretical learning.
Do consider opting for the rank holding Henry Harvin course while looking out for online TEFL classes.
You are reading this article in the times of Corona and are curious about the usefulness of taking up TEFL at this time. Don’t worry, we are here to clear your doubts.
TEFL Amidst Covid-19
According to The TEFL Academy, there is an unprecedented demand for online TEFL teachers. This comes from the fact that due to corona, the government has directed to close the schools and now various school recruiters are in need of TEFL certified online English teachers.
The existing ESL teachers in Singapore have switched to a complete online mode. But the demand for teachers continues. The mode of teaching has now changed to online but the number of students remains the same.
Singapore is a prosperous country that spends heavily on quality education. So even the pandemic hasn’t tampered their learning spree. A TEFL certified English teacher in Singapore can still expect a job offer there with good remuneration, but with an extended joining date that may be pushed to the year end.
If you have just completed your TEFL certification, start applying for jobs, keeping in mind the probable delay in joining.
Job Types for English Teachers in Singapore
Peak Hiring Period
For Singapore, there is no peak hiring time or season as the hiring process goes on throughout the year. So whatever month it is, you can apply right away once your certification is in hand.
Most schools will interview you in advance in multiple rounds over phone or video calls. You can hence save the job-hunting time upon arriving there.
Also you may have to sign a two-year bond with your employer, at the time of joining. So if you have an offer letter and are good with the bond, go ahead to venture out to get a whole new experience in this fantastic country.
Salary and Cost of Living
Since Singapore is a well-off country and doesn’t resist paying well to its employees, as an English teacher in Singapore, you get a good salary through which you can have a decent living along with the possibility of some savings too. Here is a brief of the salary figure that you can expect –
Average monthly salary – USD $2400 – $3000
Possible savings – Upto USD $500
Though the cost of living in Singapore is more compared to the other countries, the salary is higher too. So you can enjoy a good living standard there.
Best Teaching Strategies
Though you will get a comprehensive guide to follow the best pedagogical practices while you get the TEFL training, you can also have this list handy for reference.
Housing for Teachers
Salary package includes relocation allowance and airfare. For housing you would usually need to search on rental portals or through connections, before or once you reach Singapore. There is a high-rise apartment culture and you can expect to get an accommodation in one of these.
Visa for Teachers
Visa process is pretty simple and fast. In fact most of the countries including the USA do not even need a visa. You can just reach there and start exploring. But you will mostly need a work permit which your employer will take care of issuing. The employer will send you a list of documents that you will need to process the work permit.
Lifestyle and Culture
Singapore boasts a world-class infrastructure and utmost cleanliness. It has a proper political governance in place, which makes the overall system well-framed. As an expat, you feel quite secure there. Singapore ranks #1 in Asia and #8 globally according to Mercer’s Personal Safety ranking.
Taking into consideration the growing expatriate community in the country, the education system has set up many International schools and Foreign System Schools(FSS) for the expat kids. So not only for you even for your family, Singapore can be a good deal.
You can take these triggers to destine Singapore as your next stop.
Coming to the culture, you will find four ethnic groups there –
- Expats from different countries
Each of these groups enjoys and maintains its unique way of life. A good thing is they respect each other and coexist with harmony. As a foreigner, you shall be expected to maintain a decorum as well.
Singapore has a cosmopolitan society due to the influx of foreigners since the past decade. People give a major emphasis to communal and racial harmony.
Singapore has a tropical climate. It is hot and humid for most of the year. Before shifting here for teaching, make sure you bring a lot of loose and breathable clothes.
Singapore has one of the best healthcare facilities in the world. Infrastructure and technology-wise, Singapore stands at a high rank. There is a public-private partnership for healthcare financing. According to wikipedia, “The Economist Intelligence Unit has placed Singapore 2nd out of 166 countries for health-care outcomes.”
Moving With Family
Singapore is a very safe and clean country. Also, the transport system is great here. So you do not need to hesitate in bringing your family along.
Children of teachers enjoy being here as they receive a world class education. Also, some schools offer free or subsidised education to these children.
Great Things in Singapore
Singapore is famous for a number of things like cleanliness, infrastructure, healthcare and travel. You can thoroughly enjoy being there while making your living as an English teacher.
- Green Parks
Singapore is also famous as the Garden City. You will find gardens and parks everywhere you go. In fact, half of the city’s geography consists of green parks and gardens.
Gardens by the bay is a stunning park located in the central region and is one of the most famous attractions of Singapore.
As if the natural greenery wasn’t enough, the government has mandated vertical greenery too in the skyrise buildings. When you look up between two towers, you may feel yourself looking at gardens in the sky.
People there prefer public transport which is quite affordable, clean and comfortable. In some busy areas like in CBD(Central Business District), where most of the top offices are located, the parking and toll charges are kept high to discourage private vehicles. Well organised transportation systems make the travel hassle free.
- Local Food
Like in any other country, in Singapore too you can enjoy cheap local delicacy. And since a mixed ethnicity of people co-exist, the food culture too is a sumptuous blend of all of their flavors – from Malaysia, China, India and the west. You can find the local food everywhere – from the street food carts to the swanky rooftop restaurants.
- Shopping Malls
Malls are a great place to spend some free time shopping or just window shopping. And in a country like Singapore, that has hot and tropical climate round the year, you can always find an air conditioned mall or roadside shops to cool you down.
Head out to these malls and your weekends are sorted.
Interesting Highlights from Singapore
- Drink Tap Water
Water quality in Singapore is excellent and you do not need to use a water filter of any kind before drinking it. Think about the amount of money you save by not having to spend on these water purifying appliances!
- Hawker Stands
You will find a variety of street food options on the hawker stands. With some healthy and some not so healthy options, you can relish the delicacies standing footsteps away.
- Nearby Islands
Taking a ferry and visiting a nearby island from Singapore’s Changi port is a must-do activity. Some of the famous islands to visit are –
- Sugi Island
- Pulau Pangkil
- Bintan Island
- Karimun Island
- Nikoi Island
- St. John’s Island
At these islands, you can do some adventure sports like – trekking, cycling and kayaking.
- Low Tax Rates
Income tax in Singapore is low, compared to many other countries, usually about 7-10%. This majorly adds to your saving.
- Cheap Electronics
Singapore is a famous destination to buy cheap electronics and gadgets. Even if you are not a gadget lover, do plan to give a visit to the electronics shops. You may discover your unknown inclination towards the electronics world.
To Sum Up,
If you are a native English-speaker and are in to pursue English teaching in Singapore, your first target should be TEFL certification. There are several online and in-person courses to prepare you for TEFL. Do a thorough research before opting for a particular course.
There is a huge competition for foreigners to become an English teacher in Singapore. This is because English is already a major official language there and there is no dearth of native English teacher in Singapore. Still Singapore encourages some foreign teachers too, so that the students get an exposure to a different pedagogy. Also, the government of Singapore wants to discourage Singlish, their native English. And having foreign teachers helps them learn the standard global English language more efficiently.
Currently, during COVID-19, the demand for online TEFL certified teachers has surged. Travel to Singapore is forbidden currently. But as soon as the travel ban lifts, more than usual demand is expected.
As an English teacher in Singapore, you can work in international, private or public schools, while giving private tuitions to students after the school hours.
The standard of living in Singapore is high and so is the pay scale of teachers. As a teacher, you can earn enough to have a decent living with some savings too.
Singaporean culture is a mix of multiple ethnicities like Malays, Chinese and Indians. They coexist with harmony and you as a resident there would be expected to respect each of their cultures and to maintain a decorum.
Being in Singapore, you can enjoy world class cleanliness, great infrastructure, efficient transport system and unmatched greenery.
Once you clear the TEFL certification, start applying for jobs online. Apart from refilling your pocket, Singapore has a lot more in store.