Teaching English in Bangladesh

By | October 11, 2014

Bangladesh is located in South Asia and it shares borders with both India and Myanmar. It is also near to Nepal and Bhutan. With a population of more than 160 million people it is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

This predominately Muslim country faces many challenges but it has also made many achievements in recent years including gender equality, education, healthcare and more.

Bangladesh has a mild winter and a hot and humid summer. The monsoon seasons brings floods, tornadoes and tropical cyclones which lead to a number of deaths each year. A vulnerability to climate change is seriously affecting water and food supplies, agriculture and human health.

Read more about Bangladesh from Wikipedia.

St. Martin Island

St. Martin Island

Why Teach English in Bangladesh

Life in Bangladesh is definitely not run-of-the-mill, predictable or boring. In fact, it is the complete opposite. The weather can be erratic with frequent cyclones and floods, but you shouldn’t let this put you off. If you’re looking for adventure, then Bangladesh will certainly provide you with an adventure of a lifetime.

You won’t find many paid teaching opportunities in the country, but you will find many volunteer programs available. You won’t need to have any experience or qualifications, just a willingness to give up your time for free.

Where to Teach English in Bangladesh

The vast majority of paid positions are located in the capital city of Dhaka. There are some other paid positions in other large cities such as Chittagong. Volunteer programs are available all over the country.

Types of Teaching Jobs

Shiva Temple - Puthia Rajshahi

By Nasir Khan Saikat (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Private Language Schools

The ESL market isn’t all that developed when compared with other Asian countries, but you will find some schools. The British Council operates in Dhaka and they do employ native English speaking teachers. The recruitment process for the British Council takes place in London.

International Schools

There are some international schools that employ foreigners, but they usually have very high requirements. Although minimum requirements vary, most schools will require that you are a qualified and experienced teacher in your home country.

Universities

Some private universities will also employ foreigners but positions are quite few and far between. You won’t find many job advertisements on jobs boards, instead you will need to contact universities directly.

Volunteering

As stated above, volunteering is the most popular choice for TEFL teachers in Bangladesh. You can easily find opportunities online and you could be posted anywhere in the country. You will need enough money to support yourself, but some organisations will provide you with room and board for your time.

Teaching Requirements and Qualifications

If you are looking to volunteer, you won’t need any qualifications or experience. You just need to have a willingness to help others for free.

If you are looking for paid work, then requirements change depending on the school. The British Council will require that you have a teaching certificate (TEFL, TESOL or CELTA) and a bachelor’s degree.

International schools will require at least a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate and in most cases they will require that you are a fully qualified and experienced teacher in your home country. Therefore, most TEFL teachers won’t be considered.

There aren’t many positions available and there might be quite a lot of competition for the small number of jobs that are available. Therefore, to stand out from the rest, it’s best to be qualified and experienced.

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Expected Salary and Living Costs

[sociallocker id=”2137″]There isn’t really any expected income as the range of salaries on offer will vary considerably.

Salaries can be as low as $250 or $400 (USD) per month or as high as $2000 (USD) per month. The British Council will pay around $2000 per month. They usually recruit in London and they will expect their teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree, a teaching certificate such as a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA and recent experience.

International schools usually pay the highest and you can earn $2500 (USD) and more, but they usually have very high requirements for employment and you will usually need to be a qualified teacher in your home country to get a job in one of these schools.

The cost of living in Bangladesh is very low when compared to western countries. A local meal can be as little as a few dollars and transportation around a town or city can also be just a dollar or two.

Moreover, a basic apartment costs only a couple of hundred dollars per month to rent, but anything that resembles western standards will be considerably higher.

You don’t find many jobs in Bangladesh and most schools will pay just enough to cover your basic living costs. If you’re lucky enough to get a job with the British Council then you can expect to save a large part of your salary.

Read more about the cost of living in Bangladesh.[/sociallocker]

Visa Requirements

Lalbagh Fort - Dhaka

Lalbagh Fort – Dhaka

The British Council and International Schools will recruit teachers outside of Bangladesh and will help you to arrange a work visa prior to your arrival. If you don’t get a job at the British Council or in an international school then you will need a letter of invitation from your employer to get a visa before you arrive.

Most schools, however, don’t employ teachers before they arrive, so it’s quite normal to arrive on a tourist visa and try to find a job when you are in the country.

Companies that arrange volunteering positions will also usually help with the visa process. If you find a volunteering position after you arrive, it can be quite difficult to arrange a visa on your own. Although the organisation that you are volunteering with might help you, you will usually need to pay any fees on your own.

Get more information about work permits from the official website for the Board of Investment Bangladesh.

How to Find a Teaching Job

If you are looking to volunteer, your first port of call should be to search online for volunteering opportunities in Bangladesh. You will find many companies that can help. Alternatively, if you prefer, you can look for volunteering positions yourself when you have already arrived in the country.

For paid positions, you will find that most schools don’t advertise online. However, the British Council does and you can find more information on their website.

For all other schools, it would be best to arrive in the country and start contacting them directly. You can send emails and call them, but it might be best to go around and visit them in person.

Teach English in Bangladesh

There isn’t a huge demand for English teachers because there are not many language institutes around. You will definitely find volunteering positions all over the country, but if you’re looking for paid work then expect to find low salaries and few opportunities.

Disclaimer

Although I have never worked in this country, every effort has been made to ensure that this information is correct. This blog post has been written after extensive research online, interviews with teachers who have worked or are working in the country, and local schools have been contacted. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. If you have worked or are working in Bangladesh, we would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and share your experiences with us.

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