Posts tagged: TEFL Certification

In-Classroom TEFL Courses – Which one is Right for You?

Most TEFL training schools will let you spend a day in the classroom to help you decide if you want to take their course – or not.

Sorting out a good in-classroom course requires a bit of research and we start that process here.

Even though there is no agreed-upon standard in the world for what you learn in a TEFL Certification course, many nations have formed their own requirements that such schools must meet.

The government certification process of a TEFL Certification school can range in intensity to a just-for-show rubber-stamp review to a complex and detailed checklist of course content and trainer qualifications.

To help you narrow down which in-classroom TEFL Certification course is right for you, here’s a handy list of questions I think all TEFL course participants should ask schools before they sign up (or pay!) for a program:

1. Where does the school’s license come from?  Is it issued by the national Ministry of Education, by a local education department or simply by a city business licensing agency?

Clearly, this can give you an idea as to how arduous the evaluation process is.

2. How many hours of in-class instruction will the course include? Most TEFL Training schools world-wide offer 100 or more, so you might be able to call this an “international standard.”

3. Will the course cover grammar? If so, what exactly will you practice or learn?

You want a TEFL Training course that not only reviews the proper structures with the trainees (most of us need a brush-up when we’re starting out) but also explains and illustrates how to teach, correct and explain grammar to your students.

Of course, most native speakers will be able to intuit correct (and incorrect) grammar when they hear it, however they might not be able to explain clearly and simply to students why a sentence is right or not.

4. Will you learn teaching methodology in the course?

This is critical. A good TEFL Training course must include methodology.

5. How many hours of observed teaching practice (OTP) will the course include?

Most programs around the world offer a minimum of 6-8 hours—another informal “international standard.”

6. When you do OTP, who will observe and evaluate you?

It’s best for you to get your OTP feedback from teachers who have some experience under their belts—ideally five years’ worth or more. At some schools, you’ll find student teachers evaluating each other, which – while helpful – is not optimal.

7. Who will your OTP students be?

It’s best to teach “real” students so you get a feel for the true experience of Teaching English as a Foreign Language. You’ll find some schools just have mock students (your student-teacher peers, for example) for OTP.

8. For what common learner difficulties will you be trained (for that country/area)?

As I like to tell new TEFLers, the best reason for taking your TEFL training course in the country in which you wish to teach is that you’ll learn what errors and problems are typical of that country’s students. This gives you a leg up when you get to your first job. However, your TEFL course should also teach you how to anticipate and correct common problems from all over the globe, not only your destination country. What if you want to move one day?

9. Will your OTP students be the same for all of your sessions?

There are pros and cons to having the same students for all of your OTP sessions. If you have different students each time, then you’ll get to experience an assortment of student problems and levels, while if you teach the same students over a number of classes, then you’ll experience and understand how to plan and organize sequential lessons so your students continue improving.

10. How old will your students be?

If you can get a chance to experience teaching both adults and children, or at least a variety of ages, you’ll come out better for it. However, in practice, not all training schools can offer you this.

(The next question is a follow-up to number 10:)

11. If you’re specifically interested in teaching one age group (i.e., kids or adults) after you obtain your certificate, will you be able to teach them during the OTP? If this isn’t the case normally, would they be able to arrange it for you?

12. Does the listed cost of the course include books and materials?

It’s best to know this before you go, as books and materials are not cheap. Many schools only require that you bring your own board markers or other stationery-type materials, while others will give you some suggestions as to books or other learning tools that would be useful, but not mandatory, for your course.

TED’s Tips™ #1: If you don’t know the answers to these questions, don’t sign up for the course, and certainly don’t pay for it! These questions are simple, and should be easily answered. If a school can’t or won’t answer them, then buyer beware!

TED’s Tips™ #2: If you live near the school, ask if you can go to the course and sit in for a day for that fly-on-the-wall experience. However, be forewarned that not every day of your TEFL course will be full of fireworks and excitement, some days will be spent poring over lesson plans and doing other time-consuming but necessary work.

Teaching Internships in China

 

International Standards for TEFL Certification

Warning: I am going tell you the truth, but some people won’t want to read it.

Here it is:  There is not just one organization or one standard in the world for Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) programs.  Sorry! I know it would make everything easier if this weren’t true!

So, if what I’m telling you is right, then what does it really mean then when TEFL programs say they are “Internationally Recognized?”  It usually means that their certificates have been accepted pretty much around the world.  And that is true of probably 98% of all TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certification programs.  It would be quite rare – at least in my experience – if a particular program were to be rejected.

Anyway, don’t read too much into claims of “accreditation”.  A few schools belong to organizations that will check the institute’s course content and might even come by to see if that content is presented well. But don’t read too much into that either. Large fees are paid and well . . . no one likes to bite the hand that feeds them.  Some large programs even own the very company that evaluates them.  How do you think that is going to work out?  I bet they get a good rating EVERY time!

The Nitty Gritty

Skipping the boring bits, what new teachers really want to know is:

1. If I take that course, will it help me get a job?

2. Will it meet the standards of employers?

and

3. Will it meet the standards of the Ministries of Education in countries where a TEFL Certification of some sort is required?

Now, when TEFL certification is required, the employers and Departments of Education and/or working visa authorities may or may not have any real requirements.  China – the world’s biggest TEFL jobs market, doesn’t have any set requirement about what they will accept.   A country like Thailand (probably the world’s third largest employer is generally are looking for a minimum of 100 hours of training and at least six hours of observed teaching practice.

Who Decides All This?

So, you might be asking, what international agency sets the standard for ESL/EFL training?

Sorry, because again, there isn’t one. The benchmark stated above of 100 training hours and 6 hours of observed teaching practice is just generally what is considered the minimum acceptable training for developing good basic EFL teaching skills. Will you be the world’s best teacher by the time you finish such training? Probably not, but what you will have is the knowledge you need to further develop your skills as a teacher.

What Types of TEFL Certificates Are Out There?

Before you sign up for a TEFL course, compare a few different ones and see what the differences are.  Look for a good basic one that meets the standards explained above, but also look for any extras. Some organizations will add on a module for Business English or will give you a concentration in Young Learners – nice if those are areas in which you wish to teach.

TEFL wannabees are often confused by two terms that emerge from the alphabet soup of English Teaching. These are the “TEFL Certification” and the “CELTA.” Both of these meet the standards mentioned earlier on this page.

A TEFL Certification (often shortened to “TEFL Cert”) is more of a generic term meaning “Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certification”, while the other is the CELTA, the “Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults.” Some years back there was also the Trinity RSA. Generally all of these can be considered equivalent and will have roughly similar content.

One important note – if you intend to teach in Europe or the UK there is strong preference there for the CELTA name brand. Mostly, in the rest of the world, employers don’t have a preference. However, keep in mind that schools which sell CELTA or even their own name brand, will often prefer to hire as teachers students who have previously taken their branded course, of course!

TED’s Tips™ #1: If you spend the money and time to get a TEFL or TESOL Certification (or CELTA) be sure it is one that meets the generally accepted international standards reviewed on this page. Otherwise you may find someday that you will need to take another course to meet the requirements for a job you really want.

TED’s Tips™ #2: If you intend to work in Europe, the UK and/or for schools that sell the CELTA course, get a CELTA.

TED’s Tips™ #3: There are many reasons why it is best to take your TEFL course in the country in which you first wish to teach. Experience with country-specific learner problems will be helpful on your first job. I’ve taught in five countries and each one has their own unique problems. As you develop your skills you will get better at quickly finding solutions, but a newbie teacher fresh out of the box will often struggle with solving pronunciation issues and explaining common problems that their students have.

TED’s Tips™ #4: Check out TEFL Program dot com for the five checklists the website provides to help you select the BEST training for you.

Teaching Internships in China

 

Should you Take your Training in the Country Where you Wish to Teach?

A reader wrote:

I are interested in completing a CELTA course in order to teach English in the UAE.  Would it be better to study the CELTA in the UAE or in London where I currently live?

I know you’ve previously recommended to study in the country in which one wishes to teach, but would studying in the UAE limit our prospects in other countries?

Will completing the course in London look more attractive to employers globally?  Considering the cost implications London would be the preferred choice.

It is almost always better to take an in-classroom course in the country in which you first intend to teach.

While it may seem more cost effective to take it where you are currently located, taking your course there does little or nothing toward your end goal of landing a job in the UAE.

Taking your course in the UAE immediately gets you into the environment and on the trail of good jobs.

Better TEFL schools will have employers coming by the school looking for you.  That won’t happen in London.  It will quite likely happen in Dubai.

For most people a TEFL cert or a CELTA, etc is a tool to get the job they want, not the end goal.  So purchase the tool that gets you closest to your goal, a course in Dubai or elsewhere in the UAE.

No one will really care if you took the course in London, Dubai, Saigon or even Yangoon.  In fact, when they see that you took it outside your home country, they will see that you can survive and thrive in a culture different than that of your home country.  To me that is a bonus.

Employers, not infrequently, have difficulty with people who have not yet lived and worked outside their home country.  It is a very real risk factor in hiring.  Some people get homesick, others just can’t adapt.  It is an unknown factor that adds risk to a hire.

If you are already living in the culture where you want to be hired, it greatly reduces that perceived risk by the employer.

TED’s Tips™ #1:   Taking a certificate is usually tied to an employment goal.  If you are taking an in-classroom course, take it in the country where you wish to teach.  You’ll be closer to your goal the moment you step off the airplane.

Teaching Internships in China

 

 

Should you Get a TEFL, TESOL or TESL Certification? Which is Best?

This is almost an FAQ type question because people often ask as they are unsure about what each of the acronyms really mean.

Not just the words they represent, but what does each area actually deal with?

How might the teaching be different?

Let’s get these ideas sorted out today . . .

TEFL Certification vs. TESL Certification

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is probably the most accurate description of what teachers who teach English overseas actually do.

Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) is what teachers do when teaching English in their home country when teaching immigrants the language skills needed in their new land.

We’ll address TESOL later down the page.

Purpose Defines Function in TEFL and TESL

When teaching TEFL, your students are usually in their home country, may never even visit an English speaking country and they usually need to study English to progress in their education or for work/occupational reasons.

Some definitions of TEFL would include the idea that students will not often have opportunities to speak English outside the classroom.  These students will have distinctly different needs and motivations for their study than English as a Second Language students.

When teaching TESL, your students are typically living in an English speaking country and need to learn (quickly!) the language skills needed for their daily lives.

From grocery shopping to mailing a letter to finding a job or even renting an apartment.  Their needs are real and immediate when it comes to getting English skills.

You can see here that the motivation of ESL students will likely be much stronger that of EFL students.   They have immediate and real problems that need to be solved using English.  And the topics taught might be very different.

It would be unlikely that you would want or need to teach an EFL student the language needed to mail a letter in a post office where English is the language in use.

Yet, for an ESL student this will be an important skill, becoming less so in these days of the internet and iPhones though, but I think you get the idea.

For the ESL student, this particular need is greater than for the EFL student – who may never step foot in an English environment post office.

As there is such a huge amount of language that our students need, we obviously need to focus on the specific language most relevant for our students.  We don’t want to spend time teaching them language that they will likely never need and never use.

If you wanted a general observation, possibly you might think that EFL is typically more generic language and ESL might be more specific to a certain task – but that conclusion would not really be accurate.   A lot of EFL is specific occupational language or language needed to pass a certain test like TOEFL, IELTS or GMAT.

TESOL versus the others

Teaching English to Speakers of other languages ( TESOL) encompasses both TEFL and TESL, but the reality is that essentially the same methodology is used in all three of these variations.

So the way you learn to teach ESOL will be the same as you learn to teach EFL or ESL.

You’ll tend to find Americans using TEFL, Canadians using TESOL and Brits using all three acronymns.

Methodology and lesson planning are the core of most courses and once you get that down, you are good to go in any of the three areas – you need only to determine the specific needs of your students and get to work.

Language Teaching Methodologies used in TESOL – TEFL – TESL

The most common teaching methodologies – PPP and ESA – are really just good teaching strategies that you could – really – just as easily apply to a simple mathematics lesson.

TED’s Tips™ #1:   Simple enough.  Don’t make too much of the differences of a TESOL, TEFL or TESL course – or methodology.  There really isn’t much difference and the only real difference in these types of classes is in the specific language needs of your students.  A good needs analysis will tell you that and get you going.

Teaching Internships in China

 

Get your TEFL Certification at Home or Abroad?

Another great question by a reader inspired this post.

Her question:

My sister and I are interested in completing a CELTA course in order to teach English in the UAE. My sister is familiar with the country and we have friends in Dubai. I have a BSc while my sister also has a secondary PGCE. Would it be better to study the CELTA in the UAE or in London where we are native and currently live?

I know you’ve previously recommended to study in the country in which one wishes to teach, but would studying in the UAE limit our prospects in other countries? Will completing the course in London look more attractive to employers globally? Considering the cost implications London would be the preferred choice, but I’m interested to hear your experienced opinion.

My Response:

It is almost always better to take an in-classroom course in the country in which you first intend to teach.

It may seem more cost effective to take it where you are currently located, but taking your course there does little or nothing toward your end goal of landing a job in the UAE.  Taking your course in the UAE immediately gets you into the environment and on the trail of good jobs.

Better TEFL schools will have employers coming by the school looking for you.  It will quite likely happen in Dubai.  But I quite doubt that a Dubai employer will be dropping by the course in London.

For most people a TEFL cert or a CELTA, etc is a tool to get the job they want, not the end goal. So purchase the tool that gets you closest to your goal.  In your case, a course in Dubai or elsewhere in the UAE.

No one will really care if you took the course in London, Dubai, Saigon or even Yangoon. In fact, when they see that you took it outside your home country, they will see that you can survive and thrive in a culture different than that of your home country. To me that is a bonus.

Employers, not infrequently, have difficulty with people who have not yet lived and worked outside their home country. It is a very real risk factor in hiring. Some people get homesick, others just can’t adapt. It is an unknown factor that adds risk to a hire. If you are already living in the culture where you want to be hired, it greatly reduces that perceived risk by the employer and is an advantage for you.

That’s my opinion anyway . . . I hope that helps in your decision making.

TED’s Tips™ #1: It is almost always better to take your in-classroom TEFL training in the country in which you first intend to teach.  It creates a real advantage in terms of getting yourself your first job.

Where to Take your TEFL Teacher Training?

Deciding where to take your teacher training for Teaching English Abroad

A reader contributed this question for a topic:

I think I’d like to try eastern Europe (maybe Czech, Poland, or Hungary), but I’m not totally opposed to Asia. I know there are TEFL schools in those countries, but would you recommend getting certified in the country I would want to teach in or here in the US, then moving to the country?

It is almost always better to take your TEFL training in the country in which you first intend to teach. Many reasons, but the most important ones are that you will do your observed teaching practice with students similar to those you will teach on the job.

It just gives you a leg up on the competition especially if you need to give a demonstration lesson. It also helps you solve some problems that are often unique to a specific country. I’ve taught EFL in four countries and each had its own unique grammar and pronunciation problems.

Once you have some experience it gets easier to solve them, but doing your training with students with those problems will help you get up to speed much faster.

TED’s Tips™ #1: If you have the time and money for a full out four to six week TEFL Course, it is usually better to take your TEFL Training in the country in which you first intend to teach.

TED’s Tips™ #2: Take a look at http:www.TEFLprogram.com/ to help you evaluate any in-class TEFL course that you are thinking about taking.

TEFL Certification and Your First Job Teaching English

I am taking a little vacation so the posts for the next few weeks will be responses to questions and topics suggested the readers of the blog.

Starting your career Teaching English Abroad

A recent reader wrote in and asked:

I am an engineer and thinking seriously of changing careers and getting certified to teach English abroad. I am very interested in TEFL certification. If I did that next spring, how long could I expect to have to wait to get my first job? I currently have a BS degree, some teaching experience while in college (late 90’s), but none after that.

My Response was:

Any good TEFL Certification will do a lot to help you land the job you want faster and usually will put you at the top of the list. Even if it is not required it shows that you are interested in doing a quality job. And that says a lot to a potential employer.

You asked, “…how long could I expect to have to wait to get my first job?”

The answer to that depends a lot on where you want to teach and even who you want to teach. If you want to teach in Korea or China, you can probably sign a contract within days. If you have something very specific in mind it might take a bit longer.

For example, if you want to teach at a resort on a tropical island, your job search should be more detailed and take a bit longer . . .

By the above, I mean what country and what kind of setting (university, preschool, language school, secondary school).

I would encourage you to read these webpages to help you sharpen your focus:

http://www.teflnewbie.com/types-of-tefl-jobs/

and

http://tefldaddy.com/Your_Special_Skills.htm

Please feel free to contact me and ask more questions.
Happy to help if I can.

Where to take your TEFL Training

Where is the best TEFL Certification program for you?

People frequently ask me where they should take their TEFL Training. They also ask if it is best to take their EFL teacher training in their home country or in the country in which they intend to teach.

First issue: I usually recommend a TEFL Certification school that I know well and I know the teacher-trainer(s) well. I know the primary trainer is very well educated and has extensive experience in two countries, teaching EFL abroad since 1992 to a wide variety of students.

When I was a teacher trainer I was awakened to just how little experience, training and education many trainers have. One teacher trainer was hired directly from my class to set up and teach a TEFL Cert course for another company.

He had ZERO experience teaching. Wow. I won’t go into any further details, but it wasn’t a pretty picture and that was not a purely unique situation.

Second issue: It is almost always better to take your TEFL Training in or near the country in which you wish to teach. There are many good reasons why.

First, taking your training in your new country gives you some time on the ground to adapt to the culture and get to know your way around, instead of just arriving cold and heading out to look for work.

Also helpful is that TEFL Certification schools usually know the best and biggest employers, who to try first and who to avoid (just as important!).

One of the most helpful aspects of taking your TEFL Training in your new setting is that your observed teaching practice will likely be with students that have similar grammar and pronunciation problems as those you will face on the job. This is important for several reasons.

Every country’s students have different issues with grammar and pronunciation and while this is not a big problem, even well-experienced teachers take some time to get a good grasp of exactly how to solve these problems when they arrive in a new country.

A new EFL teacher, of course, will take much longer. Getting that experience during your training, with an instructor who knows exactly what to do, will make you a much more effective teacher, right out of the box.

It is common in some countries to request a “demonstration lesson” as part of the interviewing process. Don’t you think that lesson will go much better if you already know what kinds of issues are common in the classrooms of that country? Of course!

In countries where demonstration lessons are common, you should have the opportunity to build that lesson and practice it as part of your TEFL Certification training course. You will have plenty of opportunity to build, practice and polish that lesson under the guidance of an experienced teacher-trainer.

How do you think that lesson might go if you are just off the plane and have no idea what the common issues are with local students?

Last but not least, you can job hunt while you are taking your TEFL Certification course and hopefully have something lined up about the time you complete your training.

If you are taking your training in the developing world, TEFL Certification courses are often much cheaper than in developed Western countries are as your accommodation and food costs.

TED’s Tips™ #1: Take your TEFL Certification course in the country where you first intend to teach.

TED’s Tips™ #2: Practice and polish your demonstration lesson during your training.

International Standards for TEFL Certification

Standards for TEFL Certification Courses

I am going to say something that is true, but that some people don’t want to hear.

There is not ONE organization or ONE standard in the world for TEFL programs. Period.

So . . . what does it really mean then when TEFL programs say they are “Internationally Recognized”? As we know most do, right there on their websites.

Generally, it means they belong to an organization or two, often just a paid membership. Other than that – don’t read too much into it. There are a few that belong to organizations that will check their course content and maybe even come by to see if it is done well. But don’t read too much into that either. Large fees are paid and well . . . one hates to bite the hand that feeds them.

Bottom Line:

What new teachers usually really want to know is this: If I take that course, will it help me get a job? Will it meet the standards of employers? Will it meet the standards of the Ministries of Education in countries where a TEFL Certification of some sort is required?

Employers and Departments of Education requiring TEFL certification are generally looking for a fairly standardized requirement: a minimum of 100 hours of in-classroom training and at least six hours of observed teaching practice (OTP).

The OTP must be with real students, not other teacher-trainees, not as demonstration lessons in the classroom, and must be observed by an experienced EFL teacher who will give you detailed feedback after each lesson.

Observed teaching practice is a critical part of the training and assures that you will have some real practice with real students and will provide you with some confidence the first time you are on your own in front of a classroom.

Is there one set international agency that has set this standard?

No, it just seems to be what is considered the minimum acceptable training for developing good basic EFL teaching skills. Will you be an excellent teacher by the time you finish such training? No, but you should have the knowledge you need to further develop your skills as a teacher.

What types of TEFL Certificates are out there?

You will see many types of certifications out there – but look for a good basic one that meets the above standards. Some organizations will add on a module for Business English or will give you a concentration in Young Learners – and those are generally helpful if those are areas in which you wish to teach.

In terms of terminology there are really only two types of programs out there that tend to meet the standards mentioned earlier on this page.

One is a TEFL Certification or “TEFL Cert” – more of a generic term meaning “Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certification”, and the other is the CELTA, the Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults. Some years back there was the Trinity RSA. Generally all of these can be considered equivalent and will have roughly similar content.

One important note – if you intend to teach in Europe of the UK there is strong preference there for the CELTA name brand. In most of the rest of the world employers don’t generally have a preference. Know that schools that sell CELTA or even their own name brand, often prefer to hire students who have taken their course.

TED’s Tips™ #1: If you spend the money and time to get a TEFL Certification (or CELTA) be sure it is one that meets the generally accepted international standards reviewed on this page. Otherwise you may find someday that you will need to take another course to meet the requirements of a job that you really want.

TED’s Tips™ #2: If you intend to work in Europe, the UK and/or for schools that sell the CELTA course, get a CELTA.

TED’s Tips™ #3: If you have the opportunity, there are many reasons why it might be best to take your TEFL course in the country in which you first wish to teach. Experience with the problems specific to that country is very helpful on your first job. I’ve taught in five countries and each one has their own unique problems. As you develop your skills you will get better at quickly finding solutions, but a newbie teacher fresh out of the box will often struggle with solving pronunciation issues and explaining common problems that their students have.

TED’s Tips™ #4: Check out TEFL Program dot com for the five checklists the website provides to help you select the BEST training for you.

Alternatives for TEFL Teacher Training

As we mentioned in the previous post, not everyone can afford to take four to six weeks away from work and pay the costs for a full blown TEFL certification or CELTA.

Following are some options to help you get a better idea about what to do in the classroom – without the “Full Monty” of a TEFL Certification.

First, any kind of training is better than no training. You can often find some free training as a volunteer from organizations like Literacy Volunteers of America [now known as ProLiteracy and working internationally].

There are online courses that are inexpensive. All of them will provide you with some beginnings of the knowledge and skill you need to do a decent job. Will you become a seasoned “pro” with such a class? No, but you will have a good idea of what needs to be done and how to continue to improve.

A free online TEFL course that I wrote is here: TEFL Boot Camp. The course is self study, roughly equivalent to the content for a full course – but no observed teaching practice is offered – nor is a certificate on offer.

What kind of training do employers look for?

Sadly, some employers in some countries, have no expectations that you have any training at all. Others, will have some very specific ideas about what training they would like you to have had. You won’t be able to please everyone in every country, but with a good TEFL training course you will have what 95% of employers will be satisfied with. And, enough training to feel like you are doing a good job and have some real satisfaction about the work you are doing. It’s a great feeling!

On-Line Training versus Full-Blown TEFL Courses

As mentioned above, any training is better than no training. If you don’t have the time or money to do a full course, or if you just want to experiment and see if it might interest you – consider a an online course. They are a good introduction to teaching and can tide you over until you get into a full program with observed teaching practice.

Free TEFL Certification Training?

There are some TEFL certification schools around the world that will offer you “free” certification training if you will work for them for a specified period of time. Approach these programs with caution as things that look too good to be true, often are.

Now . . . to protect myself from liability I am going to say that not all schools do what I am going to suggest – but know that some do.

Some TEFL Cert schools happily enroll you into their certification program and then place you in a job in which you are usually paid less than the going rate. The difference between the wages other people on the job are getting and your wage – will go to the TEFL school.

They, unfortunately, rarely tell you about this little “arrangement” they have going. And month after month, for as long as you work there, you are literally paying for your TEFL course. So . . . know that free things are rarely free.

If you stay at a job for a couple years you will have paid for the certification a couple times over or more.

No free time and no money?

TEFL Boot Camp is as good as it gets online – and it really is free.

Have a little money and want to study on your own? Check out TEFL eBooks for some options.

TED’s Tips™ #1: Get the full four to six week TEFL Training in residence if you have the time and money to do so.
The full course is worth your time, money and effort.

TED’s Tips™ #2: Get some training. Any kind of training to help you along.
You will enjoy yourself more and do a better job. Study a book, take an online course, sit in on classes somewhere.

Take an interest in becoming a quality teacher.

Do I Need TEFL Training?

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.