Whether you’d like to have a little bit of extra spending money for travel, or for saving up for a rainy day, it is essential to find a job that pays well and is enjoyable too. Luckily, help is at hand in the form of becoming a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teacher.
Below, this simple guide will provide five major benefits of becoming a TEFL teacher, for both parents and students. Additionally, there will be some advice on what to do once this certification has been achieved, and how to use it in the TEFL field.
What is TEFL?
TEFL is teaching English as a foreign language. This could be something as relatively straightforward as the pronunciation of the letters of the alphabet, or something as complex as how to create and use subordinate clauses in grammar.
In any case, TEFL lessons were typically taught in a physical classroom environment for many years. However, recent advances in technology have led to an increase in demand for online TEFL classes, which in turn means more online TEFL teachers are needed.
For either format, a usual lesson includes some form of direct teaching, perhaps with the help of a visual presentation or slideshow material. Then, the students typically have the chance to ask some questions about the topic, before a guided activity is assigned to them to work on them, either by themselves or with their classmates.
Finally, once the students have shown that they understand the theme of the lesson, there is normally an independent learning task given to them. This could be in the form of a roleplay, a quiz sheet, or some other form of minor assessment tool.
After that, some in-person and online schools insist on setting homework for their students, so they would have to go home and show further performance in this case. Having said that, this does depend on the particular institution, as some places do not have this as a compulsory feature.
Advantage 1: A Wider Choice of Jobs
Getting a TEFL teaching certification has a range of upsides, not least having the chance to choose between a greater range of positions. For instance, composing your teach English in Costa Rica career is so much easier with a bona fide certificate to hand.
There are a couple of reasons for this, and the first one is pretty obvious, in that a genuine TEFL program is the perfect way for potential recruiters to see how interested and committed a new TEFL teacher is. Additionally, it shows a level of knowledge and comprehension about TEFL and the English language that goes above and beyond in terms of the time and effort taken to actually do the course in the first place.
Advantage 2: Refreshing Existing Knowledge
Secondly, another fantastic feature of a TEFL certificate is that it allows a new TEFL teacher to get back up to speed with their comprehension of the key features of the English language. These courses act as a great refresher for all that information that may have been learned years ago, but not so easy to remember as before.
Such examples on the courses could include the definitions of the conditional functions in grammar, or minimal pairs (like ‘ship’ and ‘sheep’) in pronunciation. These aspects often provide difficulty for English language learners, so getting an update on how these work is a wonderful way to pass on those details to students.
Advantage 3: Making New Friends
On top of that, these courses are a good opportunity to talk to new people, sharing ideas on how to thrive on the course as well as take part in group projects together. This communal form of learning might also enable students to keep going during difficult moments on the course itself, by working as a team to solve tricky details of a project on the course.
Beyond that, the contact can be maintained into the early weeks and months of teaching TEFL, sharing unique stories and anecdotes about the real life of teaching the subject. This can also serve as a chance to keep in touch and form friendships, based on the common experience of helping others learn the English language.
Advantage 4: Fulfilling Visa Requirements
For those interested in visiting other countries to teach TEFL, either in person or online, it is vital to realise that a lot of nations actually do have rather formal requirements when it comes to issuing visas to TEFL teachers. In fact, there are several countries globally who will only permit entry of this kind to those with a real TEFL certificate to hand.
This is partly to ensure that their students are receiving the very best information about the subject that they possibly can, as a qualified TEFL teacher is more likely to teach using the correct data. Also, this is a way of trying to be sure that the TEFL teacher will be committed to working with their students for a longer period of time, as those who have gone to the trouble of getting qualified and the subsequent visa process that follows are more likely to stay in that place a bit longer.
Advantage 5: Passing on TEFL Skills to Other Parts of Life
Last but not least, the skills acquired on a TEFL certification course are directly applicable to other areas of living. For instance, the capacity to present new information to an audience is great for parents hoping to guide their children through a new part of their life, from learning how to ride a bike to the first day at a new school.
Apart from that, occasionally a TEFL teacher may need to repeat or revisit a point of prior learning, which is useful for anyone needing to go back and study something as though it were new to them. Finally, the confidence that a new TEFL teacher could gain from helping others is likely to feed into other areas of their lives, and help them to help others in lots of different ways.