Most people dream of packing up their lives and moving to an exotic place to live overseas and begin a journey of change, excitement and fulfilment. I mean, if this wasn’t the case, novels and movies such as Eat, Pray, Love; The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel; or, my favourite, Under the Tuscan Sun, would not have been such big hits. With that being said, it’s not the “Why” that stops many of us, but the “HOW”? Teaching English is one of the best ways to do it.
We are so lucky…
My Spanish friend once said to me, “You don’t know how lucky you are to be born in an English-speaking country”. And it’s true; we really are quite lucky to have learnt the ‘common tongue’ from birth, especially when English seems to be quite difficult to speakers from non-English backgrounds. I mean, what is up with our non-phonetic spelling? It’s easy to take this simple skill for granted.
So many countries are screaming for native English speakers to come and teach in schools, academies or even privately. Countries in Asia, South America and Europe are always searching for English teachers. It’s one of the easiest ways to get yourself overseas, with a job waiting for you. But don’t think that being a native speaker is the only qualification you need. Many jobs require a bachelors degree AND a certification in TEFL (or TESOL). What is TEFL or TESOL? TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language and TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. They basically are the same thing. Someone at head office must really love their acronyms, right?
Many years ago, Guy and I did a TESOL certification. I think the buzzword has now changed to TEFL, but either way these certifications are quite helpful. Back when we did the course, online courses were really only starting up, so 50% was taught in face-to-face workshops. We learnt how to use gestures, body language, special activities and games to teach English to non-English speakers. This course certainly prepared me for my stint in Spain, where I was an English language assistant, teaching English to both adults and students. I was able to recycle and build upon the knowledge I had learnt during my course to create fun and engaging activities that got students talking and, equally important, having fun.
No matter which course you might choose, they will all generally cover the following useful aspects of teaching English:
- A background refresher on English grammar (do you know your adverbs from your gerunds?);
- The basics of an language lesson – structure, timing, revision, warm ups, closure;
- How to incorporate activities and games into your classes to reinforce learning;
- How to use repetition and non-verbal gestures or cues to aid language learning lesson; and
- Internet and other resources for teacher support, curriculum development and professional learning.
Teaching English abroad can be a fun and rewarding experience. What does teaching English overseas entail? Well when I did it, it involved a lot of activities to help with pronunciation, vocabulary and conversation building. I played games and sung songs with infants and I lead engaging debates and discussions with adults. Looking back, I loved my experience of teaching English in Spain and would definitely do it again. Aside from living overseas, experiencing amazing culture and festivals and travelling in our spare time, we made some wonderful connections with people we never would have met otherwise.
Doing a course like myTEFL is a great way to prepare yourself for an international career in English teaching. A friend once asked us about these courses, and having looked into myTEFL a bit, we were quite impressed. They offer a variety of accredited certification options, both online and face-to-face. The online option is great if you already have a variety of commitments or some other language teaching experience, as you can study whenever and wherever you like. In fact, that was the most difficult part of the previous course we did years ago, as we had to take time off work and give up some weekends to complete the face-to-face aspect in order to get certified.
There are different course options available, from the basic 40-hour course through to advanced professional 120-hour courses, catering to your different needs and ambitions. As a guide, if you are curious and maybe after just a short-term sea-change, then the basic course is sufficient. If, however, you want a full career change, then opting for one of the more intensive courses (with more course hours and skillsets) is a great option. Just be aware that many countries require a minimum of 100 hours of TEFL training to apply for a working visa. If you have a destination in mind, it’s best to research what the visa requirements are before deciding what course is best for you.
Once you’ve finished your certification, myTEFL also offer free job search assistance and job placement guarantees. Imagine yourself in living and teaching English in China, Papua New Guinea, South Korea, France, Brazil, India, Poland, Japan… the list goes on! myTEFL even offer amazing in-country internships! I’m already daydreaming about teaching English by day and learning Tango by night in Argentina…
If you are thinking of having an exotic sea-change, and want to explore beyond your backyard, check out myTEFL for courses and get inspired to find your next destination! Not only that, but as we have partnered up with myTEFL, you can get 35% off their online courses by using this unique code TLING35 at the checkout! What are you waiting for? Make your dream a reality now!
Disclosure: By using the code TLING35, you not only will receive 35% off your online course, but you will be able to help me continue to run this blog (or eat; whichever seems more important on the day!).