TEFL Career Path Questions #6

This post is a follow up to the previous post – TEFL Career Path #5.  Here we talk about a career option that is open to you that is a bit of an alternative from the straight TEFL idea of teaching English.  We are talking about teaching in International Schools.

In a follow up question to the previous post the reader asked (and I will extract here):

. . . should I first look into getting my teacher’s certification and then consider the tefl certificate?

IF you have the time and money to become a certified teacher, do that first as it is MORE important than the TEFL cert, though you may still need to get a TEFL certification at some point if only to satisfy employers who don’t understand that a certified teacher is a better animal than a TEFL certified teacher . . .  🙂

Also – there is a circuit of international schools out in the world that hire ONLY real certified teachers.  Those schools DO require more experience and talent, but also pay MUCH better and offer much better benefits and even long-term pension plans for the professional teacher.  I would consider that a STEP ABOVE the college/university option in terms of professionalism.  I don’t usually mention the international school option as it is often not an option or even a consideration for most people considering teaching abroad.   But it is – in my opinion – the very best option if you can take it.

For more about “international schools” cruise the ISS.edu website.  Yes, it is a pay service, but eventually you might use them and they can at least introduce you to the idea of working for those high quality first tier schools abroad.  These are often the “American School” or “British Curriculum School” type situations to which expatriate corporate executives or even diplomats will send their children.

First tier international schools – I say “first tier” as there is a whole raft of wannabe schools and lower quality imitations with “international” in their names – will usually want you to have at least two years of experience teaching as a qualified and certified teacher in the schools in your home country along with the appropriate degrees. In the UK this would be called Qualified Teacher Status or QTS – in the USA you would be certified by the state in which you are working.

The only downside to this option is that you are essentially working in a Western setting, according to Western standards and Western cultural rules. If your goal is to immerse yourself in a foreign culture – you won’t find that at work, but you will find it at home and in your community.

TED’s Tips™ #1: If you have the time, money and inclination, give a close look to the option of working in international schools. It is an option not often considered by the TEFL troops, but is one that should be considered – especially early in your career.