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Ask Matt: Am I too Old to Get a Job Teaching English?

Hi Matt,

I have been researching living and working in Taiwan and came across your writing, tips, information and blog. I have found this to be a wonderful resource.

I have seen enough of Taiwan to know that I would be happy living there. I would like to marry my Taiwanese girlfriend and settle down there.

I am currently working on my BA, degree which I hope to complete next summer (2011). After that I would like to find a job teaching English. However, I shall be 43 in 2011. Would this be considered too old to take a teaching job? I ask this because when researching some of the websites relating to teaching, it always portrays pictures of young twenty something people. I am concerned about my age and if that will be a disadvantage.

I would appreciate any advice you may offer me.

I shall continue to follow your blog, it is very insightful and a joy to read.

Mark

Hi Mark,

It’s true that the majority of English teachers abroad are young recent graduates.  Over the last decade more and more teachers have been deciding to stay permanently.  Although they are in the minority, there is a growing number of English teachers middle-aged and older.

Looking for a job as an older person can have benefits and drawbacks.  Many schools hire English teachers for their appearance.  These schools look for white teachers that look ‘American’.  These schools are usually not very good educationally speaking, and would probably prefer to hire younger teachers.

However, schools are actually looking for responsible long-term employees will probably see the value in hiring a mature teacher that is interested in living in the country long term.  Younger teachers often only stay in Taiwan for a year or two, they go out partying, call in sick, and want to take time off to go traveling.  A mature teacher like yourself can offer a boss responsibility, stability, and security that they can’t find with a younger person.

Although age will probably affect your job search, I’ve never heard a teacher here complain about not being able to job because they were too old.

Best,

Matt

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2 Responses to Ask Matt: Am I too Old to Get a Job Teaching English?

  1. johnny November 4, 2010 at 5:13 pm #

    i’ve come across this question on my blog too mate and i would say definitely not. As long as you persevere, 60 and even 70 somethings can and have found work across Asia. If you want to do it, then it’s always possible =)

    • Matt Gibson November 16, 2010 at 2:39 am #

      Fine advice: If you want to do it, it’s always possible.

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