Mexico. Mozambique. Morocco. Malaysia. Madagascar.
For many of us, travelling the world is a dream, and one we don’t think we’ll ever realise. After all, who has the time and money to travel the world when we have deadlines to meet and bills to pay? Sure we can manage the odd local weekend away or short holiday abroad every now and again, which is nice, but what we really want to do is pack a bag and wander a different continent for a few months. Ain’t nobody got time for that these days, it seems.
Well, actually there is a career which allows you to work and travel to your heart’s content.
Of course you are!
So, have you heard of teaching English as a Foreign Language?
What is TEFL?
Teaching English as a Foreign Language is otherwise known as TEFL. Because there is such a demand to learn English from people from all over the world, there is a huge need for English teachers. TEFL teachers teach English to language learners who do not speak English as their first language. These could be children, teens or adults, in schools, universities, language academies, businesses or online. They teach General English, Business English, English for Academic Purposes, English for Specific Purposes or English for Exams. TEFL teachers can teach in English-speaking countries and non-English-speaking countries. Wherever you live now, it’s probably possible to teach English as a Foreign Language there!
As you can imagine, the fact that teaching English as a Foreign Language is possible in most countries around the world means you can do it wherever you want. In other words, this job allows you live abroad in the country of your choice and earn money at the same time. What more could you ask for?
Who can be a TEFL teacher?
That’s the good news: anyone can be a TEFL teacher! If you have a TEFL qualification then you’re good to go. And, in case you’re wondering, you don’t need to be a native speaker of English. If English is not your first language, as long as your English is at an Advanced level then you’re suitable to do a TEFL course and be a TEFL teacher.
Depending on where you want to work there may be a few other requirements you will need to satisfy (a Bachelor’s degree or a clean criminal record or a few other things) but generally speaking, a TEFL certificate is your ticket to a teaching and travelling career. It’s the only teaching qualification you need.
Why should I be a TEFL teacher?
The biggest drawcard for teaching English as a Foreign Language is the travelling. You can find a job in practically any country you want to live in. Look for jobs online, apply, ace your interview, sign your contract and pack your bags. Then, when the travel bug comes back to bite you again you can repeat the process and move somewhere else.
This job gives you a flexibility that not many other jobs can. You can choose where you want to live and who and what you want to teach. You can even choose to work online and live the life of a digital nomad, or work online and teach from the comfort of your own home.
Besides the flexibility, another plus is the salary you can earn. No matter where you work, teaching English will earn you a decent salary. Some countries like South Korea and the UAE offer salaries and packages which allow you to live well and save money. They offer high salaries as well as accommodation, flights and health insurance. Other countries might not pay you as well but their cost of living is relatively low, meaning you are still able to live a comfortable lifestyle. And travel, of course!
Sign me up!
Okay, not so fast. You first need to get yourself TEFL-qualified. Do some research and find a TEFL course provider that is internationally recognised and reputable. Their accreditation must be legitimate and they should have good online reviews. The course should be at least 120 hours and can be face-to-face, online or a combination of both. Even better is if the course includes a practical component where you can practise your teaching skills in the classroom, virtual or physical.
It is important that you consider your TEFL course provider carefully, because the TEFL course is essential in preparing you to teach in an EFL classroom. It needs to give you a solid foundation in English grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation, while also explaining to you about the different skills involved in communication, namely reading, writing, listening and speaking.
But it’s not only about the language that you need to learn. You also need to know about the different teaching methods and techniques you can apply in your classrooms. You need to know how to plan a lesson, and how to deal with a lesson that hasn’t gone according to the plan! Plus, there is classroom management and assessment and discipline. There’s a lot to think about when you’re a teacher!
You need to remember that being able to speak the language is not the same as being able to teach the language, which is why you need to do a TEFL course to prepare yourself to be able to teach English as a Foreign Language effectively. But once you’ve got that under your belt you can pick and choose wherever you want to live and work!