Common TEFL Questions & Concerns

Since our launch in 1994, our expert advisers have talked to hundreds of thousands of people, helping to prepare them for their dream TEFL adventure.  Naturally, there can be some concerns surrounding getting qualified, moving abroad to a foreign country and finding a job; and certain TEFL questions do crop up again and again.  Are you thinking of getting TEFL-qualified, but there’s something holding you back? Read on, and you’ll soon see the only thing stopping you from becoming a TEFL teacher is yourself.

Am I too old?

Every day we hear multiple people asking this, but it’s not true at all; and 42% of i-to-i TEFL teachers are actually 45 and over.  In fact, in some countries, mature teachers are preferred as they will naturally have more life experience, which they’ll be able to apply to teaching.

That being said, there’s no such thing as being too young (as long as you’re 18+, anyway!), and nowhere will discriminate you based on your age.  No matter how old or young you are, as long as you can show in your TEFL interview that you have the qualities needed to be a good teacher, you’ll find a great job teaching overseas.

If you’re still concerned about your age being a barrier to teaching overseas (which it certainly isn’t!), have a read of this article.


I haven’t taught before

The first time stepping into the classroom will often be the first time teaching for most TEFL teachers; but our training prepares you for this.  As a native (or fluent) speaker of English, you already know the subject you’ll be teaching in depth; it’s just a case of brushing up on how to best teach the topics, which will be shown on our online course.  You’ll be given examples of activities to try in class (and will be encouraged to come up with your own!), and videos of teachers in action.

We also recommend those who haven’t taught before to come along to our practical weekend course, provided you live nearby.  Whilst 20 hours split into two days can sound intense, it’s fun and totally worth it.  The minute you step into the class you’ll be participating in activities, and will also get extensive teaching practice.

Teaching is essentially like learning how to drive: the more you do it, the easier it will be.  Yes, it may be hard on your first day, but after a few lessons you’ll really get into the swing of things and you’ll feel like you’ve been teaching forever!

I don’t have a degree

Too many potential TEFL teachers worry about this, but it’s really nothing of concern.  Whilst it’s true that in some countries you do need a degree to teach (the Middle East, and a handful of Asian countries like Thailand, South Korea and Japan); for the vast majority of countries, a degree isn’t necessary at all.  Schools in places like Cambodia and Laos, all of South America and Eastern Europe hire TEFL teachers without a degree.

What it all comes down to when applying for a TEFL job is skills and experience.  Therefore, if you’re a new TEFL teacher who doesn’t have a degree, at i-to-i we’d personally recommend you initially find work in China or South America, where there are more vacancies due to the huge demand for TEFL teachers.  Like any other job, the more experience you get, the easier it will be to apply for future jobs in more competitive countries; so there really is no need to worry about not having a degree.

Is TEFL a scam?

Simply gaining a qualification to enable you to move to almost any non-English speaking country in the world to teach and get paid sounds pretty amazing… in fact, it can almost sound too good to be true.

Established in 1994, we are the world’s leading TEFL provider and during this time, we’ve sent more than 155,000 teachers overseas to teach; naturally building close relationships with employers worldwide.

Unfortunately, with the TEFL market growing in popularity over the years, the number of TEFL “course providers” has increased; and whilst most are genuine, there is also a great deal who want to cash in on the industry, with poor-quality courses that may be cheap, but won’t get you a job.

There are precautions you can take to avoid any TEFL scams; but if you do have any concerns you can call us at any time.


I’m not sure I want to move overseas by myself

It’s a scary prospect, and every single TEFL teacher will have felt some element of doubt just as they were about to leave their home country.  Leaving your family and friends behind, and starting a new life in a foreign country, and an entirely new job does sound daunting.

Most TEFL teachers inevitably suffer from homesickness during their first few weeks away from home, or landmarks like birthdays and Christmas.  You may even find that you suffer from culture shock, but there are ways to tackle this, and you will get over it.

If moving abroad by yourself is something you’re really concerned about, then our internships could be perfect for you.  Held in China, Thailand and Vietnam, these 5 month teaching places are fully supported by our in-country partners; and you’ll move and live abroad with a network of interns who are in EXACTLY the same position as you.  Essentially, they’re a great way to test the water and see if you want to continue TEFLing: if it’s not for you, you can go back home at the end of the internship.  If you really enjoy it, then you can carry on – a lot of previous interns have either signed contracts with the schools they were interning at; or secured a contract elsewhere.

How can online/long distance learning be effective?

Taking into consideration many aspects, including the fact that most people training on our course either work full time or study at University; we’ve found that an online course is the most effective way of studying, as it can easily be fitted into even the busiest of schedules.

Furthermore, our courses have been developed alongside leading language employers, so everything you learn on an i-to-i TEFL course are the qualities and skills employers look for, essentially putting you one step ahead of the competition!

To further aid with your learning, we provide all of our students with an eResumé, where you can showcase your skills, previous education and work experience; and your progress on the course.  You can also upload the work you’ve submitted for your checkpoints, for employers worldwide to see.  It’s just another way to help you find your dream job, and another reason why online learning can be effective!

Naturally, an online course makes the learning long distance, but we have a customer support team and a jobs team that you can contact if you have any queries.  We also offer practical weekends courses in hundreds of cities worldwide; so you can put everything you’ve learnt online into physical practice, whilst meeting a course tutor and other TEFLers who are in the same position as you.

I’m not sure I have time to commit

Most people taking our TEFL qualification either work full or part time, or study at University; so naturally, they have a lot of commitments.  Despite this, most people complete our course in 6-8 weeks, and with a 3 month course completion time when you first sign up, you’ll have plenty of time to work your way through the training; and you can always extend your course if you need to.

The great thing about the course being online is that you can work through it whenever you want: whether it’s an hour in the evening, on your lunch break, or even at 3am when you’re having trouble sleeping!  You can also spend as much or as little time as you want – you may decide to do just an hour a week for instance, or you could lock yourself in your room and spend all weekend getting it completed.  The progress checks are marked instantaneously, and the checkpoints (where you demonstrate what you’ve learnt by completing a task) are marked by a tutor in a matter of hours, so you won’t be held up!

Ultimately, while these concerns may sound like hindrances at first, they won’t prevent you from getting TEFL-qualified and finding a job in any way.  Essentially, the only thing stopping you from getting TEFL qualified and moving overseas is you.   Feeling inspired?  Find out more about our courses by downloading a guide.

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  1. Jadee

    Me and my boyfriend are looking for this opportunity, will they be able to give us a job at the same school? We want to go together.

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