Teach English in Sri Lanka
With deep roots in Buddhism, Sri Lanka is mentioned in writings as old as the Fourth Buddhist Council in 29 BCE. Since then, it has grown to be an amalgamation of ethnicities, languages and religions. Historically it has a strong connection to the Silk Road and more recently experienced a difficult civil war, which has since been put in the past. Today, the country is flourishing and growing evermore popular among tourists. By teaching English in Sri Lanka you will get to live and enjoy the local culture whilst on a teaching placement you can make a real difference by helping students learn.
Teaching, Language & TEFL Jobs in Sri Lanka
Guide to Teaching in Sri Lanka
- Peak Hiring Times – The school year starts in January, but schools hire year round.
- Average Monthly Salary – Ranging from $100 to $200 USD depending on the institution.
- Average Cost of Living – Average cost of living is $200 USD a month, meaning teachers generally break even.
- Work Visas Needed – A short 30-day visa is easy to obtain and extend up to 4-months. If you’re planning to stay longer you will need to apply for a resident visa.
How to Get an English Teaching Job in Sri Lanka
Maybe you have teaching experience or you just have a passion for doing good, share your skills by traveling to Sri Lanka and teaching English. Sri Lanka recently partnered with India to expand English language education; so English teaching jobs are abundant. In fact, Sri Lanka reported housing 16,800 English teachers in 2006. If you’re looking to boost those numbers, English teachers can obtain jobs in public schools, international schools and private tutoring. For all positions be sure to have your TEFL/TESOL certification. There are also volunteer placements in Sri Lanka at Buddhist Temples in Sri Lanka where you can educate Buddhist monks and communities.
Teaching Jobs at Public Schools in Sri Lanka
With the government’s push to improve students’ English skills, public schools are a large source of English teaching jobs in Sri Lanka. Funding is minimal though and most opportunities are for volunteers. The government runs three types of institutions: piriven schools for Buddhist monks, provincial schools, which receive minimal funding and national schools, which receive some private funding. English is taught in all establishments.
Teaching Jobs at International / Private Schools in Sri Lanka
Private schools pay much higher than other educational facilities in Sri Lanka. Positions are few and far in between though, so job competition is intense. In particular, these institutions cater to wealthy expat families and the upper class. Teach Away and the British Council are great schools to look into.
With the high demand to learn English in Sri Lanka, there are many opportunities to teach students privately. Many teachers will tutor their students from school outside of class time to supplement their income. Additionally, teachers can advertise on sites such as Lanka Institute.
Best Time to Apply
Teaching programs hire year round. .
In order to work at schools in Sri Lanka, teachers need to be TEFL/TESOL certified or have higher education experience in English or teaching.
Salary for Teaching in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has a low cost of living, but this effectively creates low pay for teachers. Salary varies by experience. The least experienced teachers earn about $100 USD per month, while those who have worked before can earn $200 USD monthly. Many organized programs will provide housing for teachers, which can help cut down on costs. If you are looking for your own apartment, rent is around $150 USD per month for a single bedroom outside the city center. An average meal will cost $2, a beer $1.30 and a cappuccino $2. Public transportation costs about $9 for a monthly pass. Taxi-meters start at $0.40 and cost 35 cents per 1km.
Classroom / Work Culture
Typically classes are five days a week, six hours per day. The government standardizes student curriculum and nearly all Sri Lankan schools require uniforms. Student-teacher relationships are not exceedingly formal, even though teachers are referred to as “ma’am” and “sir.” Classes can be slightly disorganized with students being both amiable and mischievous at the same time.
How to Apply
Sri Lanka is the only country in South Asia that ranks high on the Human Development Index. Having so much government support, the demand for English teachers is continuously rising. Living and working there is a unique adventure with a mixture of cultures and beautiful terrain. Begin the experience of a lifetime, search our English teaching jobs and head to Sri Lanka!
Our guide to teaching in Sri Lanka was written by Alecia Weaver.