TESL, Is finding a job teaching english realistic?

I am out of college, studied abroad at University of Cape Town (UCT) and in Rome, fell in love with Cape Town, and a man, and will do absolutely anything to get back there, even if it is just for a year. All I need is to make enough money to survive. I've looked into english language teaching and all the sites say they can help find paid teaching jobs in Cape Town, and that it helps if you are already in country and in person, but I also know these sites just want me to take the course so they can have my money. Does anyone in SA actually know of any americans who landed teaching jobs in Cape Town? I really just need to know my chances of actually getting a job, once in country.... and I know, I know... its slim, but I can make magic happen... I have to... I just need encouragement. Please please please help me get back to Cape Town!!!!

Hi EmileynAfrica and welcome to Expat.com!

Do not hesitate to browse through the forum, it may help.;)


Hi there, I am pretty much in the same boat as you.

I have been with my boyfriend for nearly 6 years. He is from CPT and I'm from the UK. I lived there for nearly 4 years but couldn't get a work visa - only a spouse visa which allowed me to reside in SA but not work. I managed to make some money doing freelance photography work but we were always struggling and had to make a plan.

I decided to try and teach English. After some research, I discovered your only real hope of landing a legally sponsored job was to have good qualifications and experience.

I am currently teaching ESL in South Korea. I will have completed a year's contract in May and I'm returning home to the UK to complete a CELTA course (the normal TEFL which I already have is not usually good enough in SA). I then have a summer job teaching at an accredited school in England.

I'm hoping that this will be enough to find a job in CPT when I return in November this year. It hasn't been easy - we have had to deal with a long distance relationship and I am undertaking a lot of study and expense. But, if it works, it will be worth it.

It is very difficult to find a good job in CPT as South African's are always given preference so make sure your references and skills are amazing! You have to find a job that is willing to sponsor you to get a legal working visa.

If it all fails my plan B is to teach online and try to find my own student's for individual lessons in CPT.

Keep at it - where there's a will...!

Good luck!

Hi, I'm currently teaching at a language school in CT. Just to give you some background: I'm South African, have a BA degree, have a TEFL certificate (not CELTA, but it's the min. 120hrs), with a total of about 5 years experience (teaching both in SA and in Asia). I moved down to CT (from JHB) about 4 months' ago. I initially lucked-out finding a TEFL job, as I was looking for one during the start of the 'busy' season (Nov - Feb/March). Outside of these months (except maybe June/July), work is apparently very thin on the ground, and you definitely need to make other plans to make money. Also, what I discovered was that all the schools seem to offer only month-to-month (temp) contracts...a permanent position seems to be the Holy Grail of TEFL in CT...they do exist..but it's a mystery how one actually becomes permanent (the 5 permanent teachers at the school I'm working at all started when the school first opened!

So yeah..even as an SA citizen, it's hard to land a TEFL gig without having to worry about whether or not your contract will finish at the end of each month.
Also, at the school I'm working at, there are no non-SA teachers (I'm not sure about other schools though)...but I would hazard a guess and say that if, say an American or a Brit wants to teach English here, they'd prob have to go the volunteer route. Or..what I have seen is non-SA people doing internships at language schools (esp. Marketing)...but not the actual teaching.

Many Americans, Brits, Auzzies, Germans etc seem to work at bars/hostels (for min pay, and/or in exchange for accommodation).that could perhaps be an option for the thread poster.

Pmalenoir: you could consider marriage...that would bypass the need for a work permit.... :p

hi ,

My mother would like to know if it is possible for her to become a math/science teacher (English medium) in CPT.

Her highest qualification is GCE A levels (Cambridge Examinations) and she has over 25 years of experience as a Primary School teacher in Singapore.

How can she go about applying for a job?



If you are desperate for a job, there are a few online marketing jobs going around, they are recruiting all the time, maybe they are looking from a native from the US or UK, try looking at gumtree.co.za and see what you can find, they will usually help you with a work permit.

angCT: You do not automatically get a working visa when you marry.

If you already have a spousal visa (LPP) it is relatively easy to get a work endorsement, that will allow you to work.

Good luck to you all.


Hi İ really understand your love for Cape town but teaching English in Cape town(i think)is not really a good idea....Have you thought of waitering?Waiters make a lot of money in Cape town...