Teaching English in Iceland

Country Guides


Grass roofing in Iceland

Iceland is a small country with a population of about 300,000.

Until 1999 the first foreign language taught in schools was Danish (Iceland was part of Denmark for 500 and shares a great deal of background, values and culture with Denmark). However, due to globalization and the dominance of English a decision was made to make English the first foreign language in schools. (Although Danish is still taught, it is not popular amongst children who feel it is not important or useful for them.)

In schools and universities English is becoming more popular and dominant (although this is resisted by some people who fear the erosion of the Icelandic language and culture).

Many programs on television are shown in English and this, along with the prevalence of English on the internet, means that many children attending school for the first time already have a very basic knowledge of English from these sources.


There are few, if any, job opportunities for teaching English in Iceland. By far the majority of schools are very well run state schools with very few private schools. Teaching in those state schools tends to be of a very high standard and carried out by local teachers.

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  1. Alexis

    I believe I have a certain spunk to bring to Iceland when it comes to teaching. I’d love to be given a chance if possible,

  2. Kathy Lane

    What if I want to teach English in a public Iceland school? Is that possible?

    • Pete West

      HI Kathy, standards in state schools are high so you will need to have solid qualifications, relevant experience, speak the local language, and be at least a European citizen or an Icelandic resident.