English Teaching Jobs in Indonesia

Most children in Indonesia speak a little English, some quite fluently. English is taught in public schools, but this is a fairly recent practice. As tourism continues to grow, many children are increasingly called upon by their families to act as go-betweens for Westerners seeking creature comforts. Most of the adults you will come across who speak English are either in big, modern cities like Jakarta or in tourist enclaves like Bali.

Private English schools (called “cowboy schools”) exist nearly everywhere you go, with perhaps thousands in Jakarta alone.

Indonesia can be a Great Place to Teach English

A glance out a bus window in some backwater on Sumatra might afford a glimpse of a brightly painted sign reading “Happy English School,” and shouts of “Hello Mister!”

In general, requirements for foreign teachers in Indonesia are much less strict than else-where in Asia. Most schools are fairly lax about what credentials they expect from new teachers – a Westerner without teaching experience should be able to get a job without much trouble. There is such a demand for English teachers that it’s possible to secure a position within days of arriving in the country. Many teaching jobs are on a casual basis, allowing travelers to move on at their own pace. Likewise, the requirement for new hires is often only that they be native English speakers. The pay isn’t high in these situations, but is more than enough to cover costs in the cheaper towns and villages.

If you don’t have a teaching certificate or ESL training, don’t want to commit to a year or more, or don’t have a lot of money to get set up, you may want to skip over Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, and head straight to Indonesia.

Getting to Know Indonesia

Indonesia, a nation made up of a string of some 13,000 islands draped across the equator, could be called a traveler’s paradise. Far enough off the beaten path to avoid many of the throngs of Western tourists who flock to tropical destinations, Indonesia is still relatively new to the world of tourism. Although it is the world’s fourth most populous nation, it is still eons behind North America in modern amenities. Travel is rough but rewarding: hundreds of miles of winding, potholed, dirt roads access delights such as an orangutan rehabilitation center, the world’s largest crater lake, and climbable active volcanoes.

Indonesians are some of the friendliest people in the world, and the children are delightful. A Westerner teaching there is sure to be rewarded by friendly faces and a colorful living experience.

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