Teaching ESL in Turkey

Teaching ESL in Turkey

Living and teaching English in Turkey allows you to explore a unique blend of European and Middle Eastern culture. Turkey is home to a variety of teaching opportunities for new and experienced teachers and, as English is the most common foreign language studied in Turkey, there is a high demand for ESL teachers.

Living and Teaching in Turkey
Turkey: At a Glance
Turkey: Living in Turkey
Turkey: Teaching ESL in Turkey
Turkey: Financial Snapshot

Peak ESL Hiring Season in Turkey
Types of ESL Teaching Jobs in Turkey
How to Find Jobs Teaching English in Turkey
Largest Chain Schools in Turkey
Tips for ESL Teachers in Turkey
Teaching Requirements for ESL Teachers in Turkey
Embassy and Consulate Locations


Peak ESL Hiring Season in Turkey

Private language schools in Turkey tend to hire teachers year round, while public and private elementary and seconary schools, as well as colleges and universities, most often want teachers to begin their contracts at the start of the school year in September. It is not uncommon to see want ads for summer camp instructors to teach English to children while their regular schools are closed for the season.

It is recommended to apply to teach in Turkey about 1-3 months before your desired start date, as the application and visa process can take at least a month.

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Types of ESL Teaching Jobs in Turkey

Public and Private School System

Compulsory education in Turkey lasts for 12 years, 8 years in primary school and 4 years in secondary school. The basics of the English language are commonly taught in the primary setting and instruction continues into secondary school. Secondary schools are typically divided into two types: technical (meslek) or academic (lise). These types of schools are attractive options for ESL teachers due to the guaranteed school holidays in the summer and national holidays throughout the year. However, teachers are expected to attend after school and parent meetings on evenings and weekends throughout the year.

Private Language Schools

Many first time ESL teachers in Turkey will likely secure a placement with a private language school. These are private businesses that offer English lessons to supplement instruction received through the public/private school system. These types of schools also offer opportunities to teach adults and English for business or specific purposes. Private language schools exist throughout Turkey and are a great foot in the door for the Turkish ESL market, allowing teachers to gain valuable experience that will open up a number of other opportunities in the future. These schools will typically hire continuously throughout the year, with start dates every month. For exact details regarding the hiring process, talk to your Job Placement Advisor. For a list of the most common chain schools in Turkey please see the Largest Chain Schools in Turkey section of this report.

Universities and Colleges

The academic year for universities in Turkey consists of 2 semesters and runs from September until June, making it easiest to find a job in the months leading up to the start of the fall semester. In addition to positions teaching ESL in a university environment, there are also opportunities teaching other subjects in specific departments at Turkish universities mainly for Master’s Degree holders in that field. As opposed to private language schools that tend to offer hourly wages, these institutions usually offer salaried positions, making them an appealing option for teachers. There is an abundance of opportunities available for qualified candidates, although most universities and colleges tend to hire teachers already present in Turkey.

Private Tutoring

Although there is a strong demand for private English tutoring in Turkey, many contracts will prohibit teachers from holding other employment. If the terms of your contract allow it and you are looking to conduct private lessons in Turkey, most teachers will secure positions through online advertisements and word of mouth. If you are already in Turkey, it could be beneficial to carry personal business cards, as sometimes locals might approach you on the street about English lessons.

Private English tutors can earn from 30 TRY/hour to 150 TRY/hour, depending on the student, the demand, and the location.

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How to Find Jobs Teaching English in Turkey

Larger chains of schools in Turkey will advertise their positions on popular internet job boards, but many teachers find success in the Turkish ESL market by applying in person.

When applying in person, it is best to bring original copies of your degrees and certificates in case they are required for the visa process. You should also be prepared to present a demo lesson on the spot, so have a few sample lesson plans ready. Remember that when preparing you can refer to the wealth of ESL Teaching Resources provided through our website.

Other resources that may include ESL teaching jobs in Turkey are:

Largest Chain Schools in Turkey

  • English Time - English Time was established in 1997 and is currently one of the leading local chain schools in Turkey providing general English, business English, TOEFL and IELTS classes to adults across the country. They have over 20 branches operating in various cities in Turkey, including Istanbul, Ankara, Bursa, Izmir and Konya. http://www.englishtime.com/
  • Wall Street English - One of the largest international chain schools, Wall Street English has 6 centres in Istanbul alone, making them a popular choice for ESL teachers looking for work in Turkey. Since their establishment in 2001, they have grown to employ over 300 staff in 15 branches across Turkey. http://www.wse.com.tr/

Summer Jobs Teaching English in Turkey

As Turkey’s school system starts in September and ends in June, there is a two-month break in the summer where there are summer camp positions available aimed at teaching English to school-aged children. With these types of short-term positions, airfare is usually not covered, but some schools may offer accommodations.

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Tips for ESL Teachers in Turkey

  • Turkish education is traditionally teacher-centred, which may cause difficulties when trying to use group work and discussion in the classroom. Teachers should be prepared to reinforce the benefits of group activities to their students to promote learning.
  • It is recommended that female teachers dress conservatively for the classroom, which includes wearing long pants or skirts and avoiding shirts that may be too revealing. Men should also dress in business appropriate attire, as opposed to casual wear such as jeans and t-shirts.
  • Religion and politics are not popular conversation topics and students may not be open to discussing their opinions on these matters.
  • Some common challenges faced by ESL teachers in Turkey are lack of access to resources and limited training and feedback from administration. It is thus important to be self-directed and well-prepared for lessons. Remember that there are great ESL Teaching Resources on our website. Teachers who are able to overcome these obstacles find living and teaching in Turkey to be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
  • Moving to Turkey to teach English means that teachers must find someone they trust to manage their finances while they are gone. Some choose friends/family that they trust, while others opt to speak to a professional financial advisor. Many services can be suspended until a teacher returns from Turkey.

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Teaching Requirements for ESL Teachers in Turkey

The requirements and guidelines below are listed for ESL teacher applicants to Turkey who are citizens of: United States, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa.

Minimum Requirements to Apply for Teaching Positions in Turkey:

  • TESOL certificate
  • College Diploma or Bachelor’s Degree

Work Visa

Although some teachers initially enter Turkey on a tourist visa, teachers who secure positions prior to their arrival should usually be applying for a work visa beforehand. The work visa is a single entry visa that you will need if you are entering Turkey for the purpose of employment. The application will need to be done at an embassy or consulate in your home country.

Work Permit

This is issued by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security giving the teacher permission to legally work in Turkey. The application can be done from one’s home country if a teacher secures a teaching job prior to leaving, or it can be done from within Turkey.

Standard Required Documents for Work Visa/Work Permit Application:

(Important to check with a Turkish embassy/consulate as variations in requirements sometimes occur)

  • Passport (valid at least three months longer than the expiry date of the requested work visa)
  • Completed work visa application form
  • 1 passport-sized photo
  • Copy of the work contract
  • Notarized Turkish translation of the passport
  • Notarized Turkish translation of relevant diplomas/degree certificates
  • Residence permit or previously-issued work permits if applying from within Turkey

Work permits are usually issued for a fixed period of one year, with the possibility of renewal after completing a year of employment.

Residence Permit

Teachers planning to stay in Turkey for more than 90 days within a 180-day period must get a Turkish residence permit.

Standard Required Documents for Residence Permit Application:

(Important to check with a Turkish embassy/consulate as variations in requirements sometimes occur)

  • Completed residence permit application form
  • Original copy and photocopy of passport
  • Four photos
  • Notification regarding sufficient and sustainable resources for the duration of stay
  • Valid health insurance
  • Upon request by administration, information and document relevant to place of accommodation and travel plan

As work permits can difficult to obtain, many schools are willing to initially hire teachers who enter on a tourist visa, and then sponsor them for a work permit. Some ESL schools are willing to have teachers work on a tourist visa. While this is very common, deportation is a potential consequence.

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Embassy Information for Turkey

Canadian Embassy Offices in Turkey

Embassy of Canada in Turkey
Cinnah Caddesi no: 58
06690, Cankaya
Ankara, Turkey
Phone: 90 (312) 409-2700
Fax: 90 (312) 409-2712
Email: ankra@international.gc.ca
Website: http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/turkey-turquie/index.aspx?lang=eng
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday: 8:00am - 12:00pm and 12:30pm - 4:45pm
Friday: 8:00am - 12:30pm

American Embassy and Consular Offices in Turkey

Embassy of the United States in Turkey
110 Atatürk Blvd.
Kavaklıdere, 06100
Ankara, Turkey
Phone: (90-312) 455-5555
Fax: (90-312) 467-0019
Website: https://tr.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/ankara/

Australian Embassy Offices in Turkey

Australian Embassy in Turkey
MNG Building
Uğur Mumcu Caddesi No: 88,  Level 7
Gaziosmanpaşa 06700
Ankara, Turkey
Phone: 90 312 459 9550
Fax: 90 312 459 9560
Email: ankara.embassy@dfat.gov.au
Website: http://turkey.embassy.gov.au/
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 08:30 - 17:00 (closed for lunch 12:30 - 13:30) 

British Embassy Offices in Turkey

British Embassy in Turkey
Şehit Ersan Caddesi 46/A
Çankaya
Ankara, Turkey
Phone: 90 312 455 33 44
Fax: 90 312 455 33 52
Email:
Website: https://www.gov.uk/government/world/turkey.tr
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:45am to 5pm

Irish Embassy Offices in Turkey

Embassy of Ireland in Turkey
Ugur Mumcu Caddesi No.88
MNG Binasi, First Floor, GOP
Ankara 06700, Turkey
Phone: 90 312-459 1000
Fax: 90 312 446 8061
Website: https://www.dfa.ie/irish-embassy/turkey/
Opening Hours: 09.00 - 13.00 and 14.00 - 17.00 Monday to Friday

New Zealand Embassy Offices in Turkey

Embassy of New Zealand in Turkey
Kizkulesi Sokak No.11
Gaziosmanpaşa
Ankara, Turkey
Phone: 90 312 446 3333
Fax: 90 312 446 3317
Email: newzealandembassyankara@gmail.com
Website: https://www.mfat.govt.nz/br/countries-and-regions/middle-east/turkey/new-zealand-embassy-to-turkey/
Office Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm

Embassy Information Outside Turkey

Turkish Embassy Offices in Canada

Embassy of Turkey in Ottawa
197 Wurtemburg Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 8L9
Phone: 1 613 244 24 70
Fax: 1 613 789 34 42
Email: http://ottawa.emb.mfa.gov.tr/Mission
Working Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00 -17:00

Consulate general offices are located in major cities and offer full services including consular services. Honorary consulates offer a limited range of services including consular services. A full list of Turkish consulates in Canada can be found at: https://www.mfa.gov.tr/ajax.tr.mfa?8tnNtorVLBlHkq0Nw5d7KBS10fmvwXxrpmMTwBCPTbhfneUWQQzt2RL3+OiWx1GNZlSRkaKhyzgv94wj3eJtQJCvuVrAZyUlNn0NZaD6Abg=

Turkish Embassy and Consular Offices in the United States

Embassy of Turkey in Washington, DC
2525 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Phone: 1 202 612 6700
Fax: 1 202 612 6744
Email: embassy.washingtondc@mfa.gov.tr
Website: http://washington.emb.mfa.gov.tr/Mission
Working Hours:
Monday - Friday 9:00am -18:00pm

Consulate general offices are located in major cities and offer full services including consular services. Honorary consulates offer a limited range of services including consular services. A full list of Turkish consulates in the US can be found at: https://www.mfa.gov.tr/ajax.tr.mfa?8tnNtorVLBlHkq0Nw5d7KBS10fmvwXxrpmMTwBCPTbgXTQLmIu/xogyr/mM727SfRZpytwExNSJ/VlD+nq/HMgd+/y5MUpGEAuLwlQY100uxX3dGzC+vEt+GOnEE1iyISG2ODmVspyYFNw5R9nMJQA==

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