You can read a dozen books, watch hours of travel documentaries, but unless you get out there yourself and speak to those who’ve actually taught English overseas, you’ll never truly know what it’s like to TEFL. Here are 10 things you never knew about TEFL!
1. It’s not just for Gappers
TEFL is a popular option amongst career breakers – people over the age of 25 who are taking some time out. In fact, older gappers often find that they are well-suited to TEFL, having already got experience of the working world.
2. It’s one of the best ways for career breakers to get paid work abroad
If you’re over 30, your options for working abroad suddenly become quite restricted – this is because working holiday visa programmes are aimed at young folk. However, no such limits apply to TEFL – luckily for you!
3. You can fit a TEFL course around your work and social life
Many TEFL courses these days are online and/or at weekends, so you don’t have to stop work to do your course!
4. All TEFL courses are not created equally
There isn’t just one type of TEFL course, they vary in intensity, how much is online and in the classroom, and how long they are – take a look at the different types and pick the one that best suits your needs and budget.
5. TEFL is not just about teaching children
Although many English teachers work in schools abroad, this isn’t the only option to you. There’s a need for people like you to teach business English to adults abroad, particularly in the Far East.
6. You don’t need to speak the language of the country you’re going to
While knowing a bit of the language will definitely be helpful, it is not a requirement for you to get work. You will be placed with a local teacher who will serve as an interpreter, so you’ll be able to communicate with your students, even if they’re novice English learners.
7. English teachers don’t take jobs away from locals
You’re there to teach conversational English, and as such, you’ll be assisting local staff, not taking their jobs.
8. Teaching English brings real benefits to students abroad
In many parts of the world – especially the developing countries – having a command of English can open doors in the workplace, particularly where tourism is big, or where international business is important.
9. It’s not all about you teaching others
You’ll learn an incredible amount from your TEFL course and during your placements – about teaching, about people and about the country you’re in. You’ll find you’ll learn a lot from the students themselves.
10. A TEFL experience can help you get a job when you return
Doing the course itself shows you are still capable of learning, and your TEFL experience will show how you’ve developed communication, management and leadership skills. Most importantly though, in a competitive job market, a TEFL experience shows you have had the initiative and drive to do something different and constructive during your time out.
This post was written by Rachel Morgan-Trimmer of www.thecareerbreaksite.com, the UK’s biggest independent source of career break information. You can follow The Career Break Site on Twitter.