Malaysia is a beautiful country with a thriving tourism industry. Like other emerging countries in Asia, the education sector spurs the knowledge-based economy. The education reforms have been instrumental in producing a quality workforce that satisfies the professional demands of various industries. And, as you would expect, the flourishing economy and reforms in the education sector has created innumerable opportunities for prospective TEFL/ESL teachers.
Visa& Eligibility Requirements
If you are planning to venture into Malaysia to take up teaching jobs, then you should get a working visa in advance. Although the procedure for applying for a visa is straightforward, nonetheless, it is a time-consuming one. You may have to wait for 3-6 months before getting approved. If you are already in Malaysia, you can use a social visit pass to leave the country after which you can re-enter via Thailand or Singapore.
Also, it is almost a convention for the immigration authorities to turn down applications from applicants who are below 25 years of age. Also, teachers who are from countries where English is not used as a mother-tongue may find it difficult to get a work permit.
Finding Teaching Opportunities
It is of utmost importance for you to choose jobs carefully when applying for teaching positions in Malaysia. And, it is an uphill task for teachers to secure employment before they jet into Malaysia. It is a common practice for employers to interview you and consider your qualifications first before providing you with employment. You might have preferences when sending applications, but you should indicate that you are flexible so that you don’t miss out on any good opportunities. Remember, once you get into Malaysia, you will always have the opportunity to explore good employment opportunities from other employers.
You can start your job search by checking newspapers which provide daily listings of ESL jobs in Malaysia. The Star is a good source of job postings. But, there are a few jobs posted online or advertised in print. Even so, you can still check out websites such as jobstreet.com. You will find a listing of vacancies and contacts for respective employers. If you are foreign expatriate, then you should consider registering yourself in eslemployment.com. Also, take time to check ESL job boards and forums for discussions on employment opportunities for teachers in Malaysia. Some of the teachers who are already working there are always ready to assist and provide advice for prospective teachers who want to take up jobs.
Prospective Employers of Teachers in Malaysia
1.Public schools, Universities, and Colleges
The biggest employers of teachers are public school and private schools as well as colleges and universities. There are also language centers which hire teachers from time to time. It might help if you compile a list of schools and colleges that may have openings for teachers and see the kind of jobs that are available. Surprisingly, the best employers of TEFL/ESL teachers are the British Council and international schools. In fact, the salary package offered by colleges and universities pale in comparison to what is offered by private schools.
2) International Schools
Another viable option for prospective native English speakers who want to take up TEFL/ESL teaching jobs in Malaysia are international schools. Such institutions provide excellent opportunities to learn the curriculum and teach. Interestingly, these schools adopt different curricular. Schools such as The Alice Smith School, Garden International School, and Lodge International School use the British Curriculum while Dalat (Penang), and the International school of Kuala Lumpur use American Curriculum. There are also a couple of schools which use the international Baccalaureate. You can check out sites which provide lists of international schools that may have openings. Most of these schools have standard recruitment fairs so; you should try to see if you can find any that holds such fairs near you.
3) Recruitment Agencies
There are also a good number of recruitment agencies which strictly hire native English speakers. However, you should be carefully to establish the credibility of recruiters. Most of them are driven by the profit-motive not a genuine desire to assist teachers secure employment. Generally, most employers don’t mind if you call them to ask for an interview if the job is still open. And, if you get the job, this might require you to leave your native country 6 months prior to taking up the job with your employer.
As a teacher, you can teach General English, teach young learners, teach Business English in colleges/universities, and English for Specific Purposes. Remember, when searching for job opportunities, you should compile the list of schools, colleges, and language centers which you think might have job openings. Thereafter, you can contact them once they post vacancies on EFL websites or job boards. Also, note that there is a variation in Salaries with the best employers being international schools and the British Council.