Teaching Abroad - The Basics
May 13, 2010 Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) 2979 Views
Are you looking for a fresh challenge? Want to break from your routine? Do you feel that you would like to explore new skills and talents that you haven't yet had the opportunity to develop? What about travel? Would you like to experience other countries and other cultures up close?
Then teaching English in other countries might be just the ticket - your passport to a world of new adventure and discovery.
As English establishes an unstoppable momentum and reaches a critical mass of adoption as the international language of business, media and technology, so non-native English speakers are turning to English language study in their millions.
What do you need to do to teach English abroad? What's the best way to find teaching jobs abroad? Teaching English in Asia? In Africa? The Middle East, South America, anywhere in fact that requires English instruction?
Here's a little advice to help you on your way.
If at all possible go into TEFL (teaching English as foreign language) often referred to also as TESL (teaching English as a second language) with as much instruction and as many qualifications under your best as possible. Don't let a lack certification get in the way of your dream but always remember that the better qualified you are the more you will enjoy your teaching career. From Totnes to Timbuktu, Barcelona to Beijing, the facts remain that:
· Training equips you with the skills and confidence to be an effective teacher.
· Your certification will give you access to better paid and more interesting TEFL jobs
· Some institutions insist on qualifications such as a Trinity TESOL, Cambridge CELTA or equivalents. Others might require Diplomas or more advanced qualifications
· In the unfortunate event that you land up in a position that isn't working out your qualifications mean that you aren't stuck - you will have better options.
There are plenty of 'seat of the pants' TEFL teachers out there winging it. You don't have to. The poor jobs, low rates and stress that come with not really knowing what you are doing just aren't worth it.
It's neither particularly expensive nor time consuming to get the instruction you need. From full time four or five week courses to part-time evening courses run over a number of months, online or offline, there are all kinds of ways to do it. Of course you will need a certain standard of English but if you are a native speaker and educated up to or above GCSE level you should be fine. Ideally though you should have a degree, as many jobs will require graduate level teachers. Watch out for all that grammar you didn't pay attention to at school though - it may come back to haunt you.
Understand too that teaching abroad isn't a game. Certainly, TEFL is fun and offers a great opportunity to travel and see the world, but people pay hard-earned money to be taught English by a professional. You owe it to them to give them their money's worth.
Finally - make sure you do you homework. Research the training options and investigate them thoroughly. When you qualify make sure that you get as much background on the location you are heading to and the positions you are applying for. Go online and hunt around the many TEFL resources, many of which have really useful forums or message-boards. Try to speak with existing or former teachers of institutions you are considering working with and make sure you gather as much information as possible to help you make the right job choices for you.
But most importantly, have fun!