Teaching English in South Africa – Butterworth area

Published: 16 November, 2015  |  Last updated: 16 November, 2015

Teaching English in Butterworth area, South Africa

 Butterworth, South Africa


Report submitted on 17 September, 2015 by Debby Potgieter.

Teaching English in Butterworth area, South Africa:

How can teachers find teaching jobs in Butterworth area, South Africa?
Teachers can source paying teaching jobs online but the Qolora Education Centre is in a rural village in Eastern Cape, South Africa.
We are looking for volunteer teachers who have done TEFL or have had teaching experience to volunteer with us and build up their teaching CV.
We place these volunteer teachers at surrounding schools as well as we have a class at our centre in the afternoons. We are a charity organization and not in the tourism, marketing or business trade.

The main English teaching jobs available are:
Teaching at community centers, etc.

What are the minimum teaching requirements?
Volunteer teachers who would like to gain experience at our education centre need either an ESL certificate or some basic sort of teaching background to be able to work in the schools which we assist.

What teaching requirements would you recommend?
An ESL certificate or some basic sort of teaching background.

What are the levels of payment?
Only volunteer teaching.

How many teaching days a week is normal?
5 days per week

How many face-to-face teaching hours a week is normal?
20 hours per week

What is the normal arrangement for holidays?
We don’t need volunteers during school holidays.

What advice would you give to someone considering coming to Butterworth area, South Africa to teach English?
Our centre is in a very rural area of South Africa. There is no night life neither do we recommend it for the faint hearted. The Xhosa people are very friendly and life is simple. Volunteers who want to make a difference and are not fussy are very very welcome.

What are the positive aspects of teaching English in Butterworth area, South Africa?
Seeing children’s faces light up when they are taught by volunteers is payment tenfold. The education system is failing these poor children and you can help them by giving them your time.

What are the negative aspects for teaching English in Butterworth area, South Africa?
South Africa is one of the most beautiful, varied countries around but the education system in many provinces is disastrous.

What are some of the teaching challenges for English teachers teaching the local people in your area?
Classrooms are sometimes disorganized, there are no resources, there is a shortage of teachers, desks and textbooks. Lessons and all subject textbooks are all in English, taught by teachers who themselves struggle to speak English.


Living in Butterworth area, South Africa:

Are there any visa or other legal requirements to live in South Africa?
Volunteers need a visa to enter South Africa.

What is the cost of living like in South Africa?
Cost of living in South Africa is extremely cheap for foreigners. Volunteers don’t need much spending money – a 750 ml beer costs R15 (US$1) from the local shop.

What are the usual accommodation arrangements and how can you find accommodation?
We can accommodate and feed volunteers for a fee of R500 per week which is less than 5 euros (US$5.30) a day.

Other than teaching, what positive aspects are there for living in Butterworth area, South Africa?
We are walking distance from pristine beaches. We take volunteers to the most spectacular beach spots over weekends. The cultural experience of learning about Xhosa traditional life is fascinating.

Other than teaching, what negative aspects are there for living in Butterworth area, South Africa?
Crime in South Africa sometimes scares tourists away but in fact, crime is mostly either in slum areas where tourists would normally not go to or in cities when people who are not alert about their surroundings or leave their luggage unattended become victims.

What advice would you give to someone considering coming to Butterworth area, South Africa?
Be awake. There’s beauty all around.

What things do you miss most (other than family and friends) from your home country?
In in my home country and I don’t miss the luxuries I left behind in my city.

What do you think you will miss most when (or if) you leave South Africa?
Working with Xhosa children.

What things would you recommend to new teachers in your area to bring with them from their home country?
Flash cards, realia, resources, laptop, chocolates.


About Me and My Work:

My Name: Debby Potgieter

Nationality: South African

Students I’ve taught in South Africa: Elementary (6-12 years), junior high school (12-15 years), high school (15-18 years)

Where I teach: Qolora Education Centre in Butterworth. Teaching for 3 years.

My school facilities: Inadequate – schools lack all resources.

Teacher support is available at my school: peer support / training.

Links: www.qolora.wix.com/volunteer


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