Learning a new profession is never easy. This is especially true nowadays, where technological developments often have to be mastered alongside conventional methods.
In the world of teaching, one of these healthy challenges comes in the form of becoming a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) teacher. The following guide will hopefully help tackle some of the key topics around becoming a TEFL teacher, as well as some useful hints and tips to help along the way.
What is TEFL?
In a nutshell, TEFL is the teaching of the English language to students who typically grow up in an environment where English is not the dominant language. For instance, children who grow up in a country such as South Korea, where Korean is the native language, are likely to be in need of TEFL to help them progress in their English language learning journey.
In the past, TEFL was almost exclusively taught in a conventional classroom setting, but a new guide from the researchers at the TEFL Org has revealed that there is now a high demand for non-traditional learning settings, such as online or in smaller in-person group situations.
This creates extra opportunities for a new TEFL teacher to not only find work, but also to find the right kind of TEFL teaching scenario for them. For instance, those who are tech-savvy might just prefer to teach virtually, while those who are more inclined towards more old-school approaches could be more at home in the physical TEFL classroom.
What should a TEFL teacher do to get started?
The very first thing on the top of the list for any new TEFL teacher should be getting a verified and reliable TEFL certification. These programs are designed to help a new TEFL teacher learn the ropes of how to teach the subject, making it easier to focus on the most important parts of a lesson plan and deliver those effectively.
Not only that, these courses are led by a team of professional yet supportive staff, who have a wealth of expertise in the TEFL field. They are on hand to answer any and every question that comes their way, and have careers full of first-hand knowledge and experience to draw upon, when responding to any and all questions that might come up.
Besides, taking a TEFL qualification is a great way to meet others in the same position, enjoying the highs of a good day in the learning environment, while providing moral support and encouragement during any difficult moments. These friendships can often last beyond the duration of the course, meaning that there is the chance to share experiences and classroom knowledge long after the program is completed.
Candidates with a TEFL certificate are much more likely to land a job more quickly than those who do not. Partly this is because some countries do not even consider an applicant who does not meet fundamental visa requirements, and one of those can be the level of academic excellence that a TEFL qualification showcases.
However, it is also because most TEFL recruiters understand the value that genuine TEFL certification courses can provide, and so frequently place these applicants right at the top of their lists. Therefore, going for a trusted and reliable course really is the perfect place to get started on a career in the TEFL sphere.
Where are some good places to teach TEFL?
Got your certificate? The time is ideal, then, to begin the search for a TEFL position. Thankfully, with so many different places in need of TEFL teachers, there is a lot of choice when it comes to this decision.
One place to seriously consider right now is South Korea, where there truly is something for everyone. For some, the hustle and bustle of the capital city of Seoul is optimal, with culture waiting around almost every street corner.
For many, the appeal of life in a big city is irresistible, not least because of the entertainment and attractions available in a large metropolis. Seoul has something for all walks of life, from a high interest in technological innovation, to a plethora of sporting arenas and contests, all the way to a range of parks and gardens to step away from it all.
By contrast, others might prefer a more relaxed approach to life, such as one the many islands just off the coast of the mainland. These could be more suitable for a new TEFL teacher who wants to start off at a gentler pace, getting to grips with the expectations in a more serene environment while the key aspects of teaching TEFL are acquired.
Is it better to teach TEFL online or in person?
This depends entirely on the TEFL teacher in question. There are those who grew up with a chalk and talk approach, and are happiest providing this mode of instruction to others.
Indeed, there are lots of positives with this technique, not least the pure energy and buzz of being in a physical learning environment. Students frequently thrive on getting the chance to learn with their peers in person, sharing thoughts and ideas as well as receiving a more gentle form of feedback that only friends seem to know how to provide.
On the other hand, the digital world is becoming a bigger and bigger part of most people’s lives, and this is absolutely the case for TEFL too. In fact, lots of students prefer the online realm for learning TEFL, and there are a few good reasons for this.
There is often less pressure to study remotely, as the student can turn their camera off if they are feeling a bit shy, and they can also learn from the comfort of their own home. What’s more, the TEFL teacher is able to harness the benefits of technology, from interactive presentation material, to live assessment forms such as website quizzes.
In any case, the time is now for the new TEFL teacher to dive into this fun and exciting world, whether they teach in person or online.