English teaching wannabes and newbies usually ask several questions here:
Is TEFL training required to get the job I want? Do I have to have it?
Would it make a difference if I had it?
. . . and the answers are: sometimes, sometimes and yes.
Some countries require a TEFL certification before they will approve your legal working papers. Thus – before you can work in Thailand, Indonesia and a few other places, you need to complete a good TEFL course.
Most countries don’t require any TEFL training at all, but the better employers will prefer their new hires to have had some training. So, in fact, TEFL training may be required for a move up the food chain or even give you the ability to start out in a preferred position.
And while many countries and some jobs that don’t require any training at all, it shouldn’t be about just getting by with the minimum and, if you are lucky, just doing a mediocre job.
Will TEFL training really make a difference?
You bet! There are several ways in which you may benefit from TEFL training. First is that many employers will pay a small premium to teachers that have some good training. While often not much on a monthly basis, it adds up across a year and tends to easily pay for itself in only one or two years. Add that to the idea that you can probably land a better job than the one you would get without training and you might be seeing an even better return on your investment.
Those are the good practical reasons for getting yourself some training. There are also some ethical, moral and emotional issues to consider.
The first is that you owe it to your students to get yourself some training. Students, in most foreign countries, pay a lot of money to sit in your class. Wouldn’t it just be fair to know what you are doing?
While teaching English overseas is not “brain surgery” or “rocket science”, it does require some skill to do it well. And as long as you are changing your life and heading overseas – why not do it right and feel good or even GREAT about the service you provide to your students?
The days of just showing up at a TEFL job and “chatting with the students for an hour” are long gone. Language schools these days would like you to provide some real teaching in their classrooms. And students almost intuitively know when a teacher knows what they are doing – or not.
One of the best reasons for getting yourself some training is that you will find preparing your classes much easier and you will enjoy your work more knowing that you are providing a quality service and not just skating by on someone else’s money. Best of all, you will sleep better at night.
It’s about doing it right – and feeling good about it.
Now . . . not everyone can afford four to six weeks of not working and the costs of a full blown TEFL certification program. In the following post we will talk about some good alternatives to the commercially available courses.
TED’s Tips™ #1: Get some training. You will enjoy yourself more and do a better job.
Remember how lousy teachers really turned you off when you were still in school? Yeah, don’t be one of those.
TED’s Tips™ #2: If you can’t afford the “Full Monty” of a four-to-six-week course, check out some of the alternatives we will talk about tomorrow.