TEFL: TEACHING ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE
Last year, Gary and I both purchased TEFL courses with the hope of one day being able to teach English abroad. Originally, we considered the idea as a break from working in the UK, but we’ve since realised it could be a great way of prolonging our future travels! We have both purchased 120 hour courses, which we will complete online. They were on offer at the time for £99 from STA and with no set time limit on when we could complete it, it seemed like a good idea! We have the 120 online course from LoveTEFL.
We hadn’t done much research at the time and naively thought that there was only one type of TEFL course. We’ve since learnt that TEFL just stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language and many different online companies and institutions offer courses. There are online courses and practical courses and some that are in between. There is everything from £49 courses on voucher websites all the way through to CELTA courses which are considered by many as the highest standard of TEFL qualification, but are also the most expensive (around £1000!). We’ve also learnt that not all are accredited, which can be important, depending on the school and the country in which you want to teach.
Luckily, it seems our online course is accredited and LoveTEFL also offer ‘Specialist Courses‘ which are smaller 30hr or 60hr online add-ons which allow you to gain further experience in a particular area. Ideally, we’d like to find a company that has 20-30hr classroom practice add-ons as many schools require prior experience within the job description. I’ve got a fair amount of teaching experience already (with children aged 8-14), due to working on and off in various schools as part of my Sixth Form studies and University degree. However, I lack experience dealing with an older audience and although I’d like to work with younger children, we may end up having to take on any job that will have us! We are expecting to find it a little difficult in some places to be placed together as a couple. We’ve heard that some places don’t like to put you in the same accommodation if an unmarried couple, and many places will potentially only have one job up for grabs. On the flip side, we’ve also heard from friends who have taught abroad that certain countries actually prefer to take on couples (e.g. South Korea).
I’ve spent quite a while searching through all the different companies and options, the hundreds of online comments and debates as to whether schools will accept online courses and whether they even care if it’s accredited etc.. and it’s all a bit confusing! The general gist is that many places will happily accept an online course and many won’t mind where you got the qualification, as long as you have some form of certification. Most places specify at least 120 hours TEFL training, with some requesting a little more. I’m pretty confident that we will be able to make something of our course!
We aim to complete our 120 hours over the next few months, so I’ll have more to add here once I’ve started to complete the training. Afterwards, we can worry about adding on classroom experience! We don’t plan to teach abroad until after our year working in New Zealand. Being so far in the future, we won’t need to start looking at jobs and requirements until much closer to the time!
I’ve now finished my LoveTEFL course… Wooo! It took me just over two months to complete the 120 hour online learning and course tests as well as the final assessment. The course is pretty in-depth and I definitely haven’t got my head around everything yet. I’m not too worried as I won’t be looking to teach for at least another 2-3 years, so I’ll dedicate some time to refresh my memory and learn everything in more detail when I need to. Although it’s a lot to learn, the course tests are fairly easy as they use information taken directly from the learning pages. The final online exam took me around 20-30 minutes, the lesson plan about 3 hours in the end and the final assessment (1500 word essay) was finished in about 3 hours too.
If you have any questions about the course or TEFL in general, fire away! I’ll try my best to answer them 🙂