TEFL/TESOL in Iran
Slightly larger than Alaska, Iran is a Middle Eastern country with a strategic location on the Persian Gulf, which is a vital maritime pathway for crude oil transport.
Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979. Today’s population is 98% Muslim, divided between Shi’a (89%) and Sunni (9%).
Iran’s economy relies on the oil sector (which provides 85% of government revenues). However despite the great fortunes amassed in foreign exchange reserves, Iran is not a rich country and the increased revenue high oil prices have brought in recent years has not eased economic hardships, unemployment or inflation.
Most economic activity is controlled by the state and it has seen only moderate growth. Economic inefficiency and insufficient investment have prompted an increasing number of Iranians to seek employment overseas, resulting in significant “brain drain.”
There are a number of private schools and universities that hire foreign teachers. The British Council has a base in Iran. In fact, they first opened it in 1942 then closed it 1952, then reopened it in 1955 but closed it in 1979 only to reopen it in 2000 and then close again 3 years ago.
The Peace Corps also operate with volunteers teaching English in Iran. However due to the current government and overall political situation, teachers need to be cautious if working in Iran, and very much aware that freedom of speech is neither common nor practised in this country.
There are a number of schools and universities which teach English where jobs are available. There is also the possibility to teach Business English and this sector is growing.
More language schools are opening in the major cities. However, there is considerable political influence over English language teaching and materials.
As far as qualifications go, this depends on the job being sought and the kind of place you wish to teach in; universities or the British Council, for example, will require higher qualifications whilst local schools will often ask for a degree and a TEFL Certificate such as the ICAL TEFL Certificate.