Are you looking to travel the world, meet new people, and gain some valuable work experience? Look no further than the world of TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language).
TEFL involves teaching English to non-native speakers across the globe to help them improve their English language skills. It’s one of the most popular ways to see the world while earning some money and is an ideal job if you want to live in new countries, learn about different cultures, and enjoy new experiences. And, if you’d rather stay at home in your pyjamas, you can even teach English online. Just make sure you put on a smarter top for your lessons!
So, if you like the idea of being an English teacher, going on an adventure, and helping others, read on.
Who Can Do TEFL?
English is the language of the global economy and so there is a very high demand for English teachers around the world. This means plenty of opportunities for people who want to teach English as a foreign language. Nevertheless, even with this high demand, there are a few requirements that you must meet to do TEFL.
Firstly, you’ll usually be required to have a TEFL certification. A TEFL certification is an internationally recognized qualification that will help you get a job as an English teacher abroad or online. In order to obtain this, you’ll need to enrol in, and complete, a TEFL course. You can also take qualifications like the CELTA. This is a more intensive TEFL course and tends to be a bit more expensive than a regular TEFL certification.
Fortunately, a regular TEFL certification is enough to qualify you for many of the entry-level TEFL jobs and should be more than enough to get started.
Another requirement is that you must also be at least 18 years old. However, you should keep in mind that some countries or jobs have stricter qualifications and may require you to hold a university degree. This means that you’ll need to be at least 21 unless you’re some kind of genius who graduated three years early.
Can non-native speakers do TEFL?
While it is often targeted toward native English speakers, you can still pursue TEFL if you are a fluent English speaker from a non-native English-speaking country.
Different countries have varying requirements for TEFL teachers, so don’t be discouraged if the specific country or job you are looking at doesn’t match your qualifications. If you are willing to put in the time and effort to earn a TEFL certification, then there is most likely a job waiting for you.
What if you don’t want to travel?
Even people who are not interested in travelling abroad can teach English as a foreign language. Many companies will hire English speakers based in their home countries to conduct lessons online and there are a whole host of online English teaching jobs to choose from. Teaching English online can be a great way to make extra income, work remotely, or even expand your teaching experience before you go abroad.
What sort of TEFL jobs can you do?
TEFL teachers typically work with students of all ages and levels of English proficiency, from beginners to advanced learners. You could find yourself teaching English online with one of the many online teaching platforms or teaching English abroad to a variety of different students.
Some TEFL jobs are suited for bubbly, enthusiastic teachers. Elementary and preschool students love to learn a new language with fun activities from a creative and engaging teacher.
If you don’t fancy teaching young children, don’t fret - you may be suited to teach middle school and high school students or even adults. Many companies hire TEFL instructors to teach business and conversational English to their employees.
You can even take control of your own schedule and teach private English classes. There is a significant demand for this, and if you can market yourself well it can turn into a full-time job. If you want to take the independent route and run your own classes, it will help to have your own teacher website. This will provide you with a platform where you can promote yourself and offer your services. It can take some time to build up your client base, but the long-term rewards can be worth it.
Why Should You Teach English as a Foreign Language?
Teaching English as a foreign language is probably the best teaching gig on the market. It will give you endless opportunities to travel, teach, and accomplish your goals, and there are many different routes you can take.
But it's not just about the travel perks. Being a TEFL teacher is a challenging and rewarding experience that will help you develop good teaching qualities and skills such as patience, adaptability, and creativity. Plus, you get the satisfaction of watching students improve because of your teaching, which is a highly rewarding experience.
How To Get TEFL Certified
Are you ready to start your TEFL journey? To get TEFL certified, you’ll need to take and pass a TEFL course. This course can be taken online or in person, and typically takes 120 hours to complete.
If you have already started to research TEFL certification programs, you may have noticed that many TEFL course providers offer courses. To keep things simple, a 120-hour TEFL course will be sufficient for the majority of TEFL jobs when you are starting out.
You should also look for an accredited TEFL course. TEFL accreditation is important because it vouches for the quality of the course and employers will respect your qualification.
Non-accredited programs may be cheaper but might not be worth it if you can’t land the job you want after completion.
Online TEFL courses
Many people earn their TEFL certification online in their spare time whilst working or studying. So, if you have limited time, an online TEFL course could be the way to go. In this case, it is wise to give yourself six months to take the course, earn your certification, and prepare your TEFL CV.
On the flip side, an online TEFL course can also be done in the shortest time possible if you devote all your waking hours to it. So, if you want to get qualified ASAP it can be a great option.
In-person TEFL courses
You can take in-person TEFL courses abroad or in your own country. They tend to be more intensive, but you can earn your TEFL certificate in 4 weeks and you may even get some teaching practice. Plus, you get to experience studying in a new place and make some new friends. This can be invaluable if you’re planning to work in the country where you take your TEFL course.
TEFL opens doors to opportunities all around the world, it's also a great way to immerse yourself in new cultures and learn a new language (or two). Think of all the Instagram-worthy pics you'll be able to take while teaching in picturesque locations like Spain, Thailand, or Japan.
So, why not take the plunge, and start searching for TEFL courses? You may discover a new passion for teaching but at the very least, you'll have some amazing stories and memories to share.
James Prior is the founder of DoTEFL which helps people find their ideal TEFL course and begin their English teaching adventure abroad, or teach English online.
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