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Everything You Need to Know About TEFL

Written by: Katie Baxter

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. There are many other acronyms around, such as TESOL / EFL, but they all pretty much mean the same thing. Why should you get a TEFL qualification? Easy. Not only do you get to go out there and see the world, but you also get paid for it!
All types of people are needed for all types of teaching jobs all around the world. Whether that’s a kindergarten teacher in Korea, summer camp instructors in Italy or teaching adults in Thailand, there’s a TEFL job out there for everyone.
How do you get TEFL qualified?
Once you have your TEFL qualification, it’s completely up to you where you go and how long you go for. Your TEFL certificate is your ticket to round the world travel and your qualification lasts a lifetime too! All in all, teaching English as a foreign language is perfect for a gap year!

So how do you get TEFL qualified?

Good question. There are a few different types of TEFL course, and the good news is that they’re all flexible, meaning you don’t have to quit your job or miss a deadline in order to complete your TEFL training.

Online courses

Guess what? i-to-i online TEFL courses take place at your computer; you log in and work through the course at your own pace. There are modules to check your understanding of each section. Modules are marked by expert tutors who provide feedback for you. You have three months to complete the course and you’ll be rewarded with your own shiny certificate at the end.
You’re not alone as you work through your course though! There are online webinars by our expert team, plus support from your fellow TEFLers on the free social community, Chalkboard.
What you need: A computer, motivation, a desire to learn.

Classroom course

Classroom TEFL courses take place over one weekend in a variety of locations across the UK and Ireland. In two days you’ll be taught by an expert TEFL tutor with plenty of experience of teaching English abroad, so they’ll whip you into shape in no time! You’ll also plan your own lesson and teach it to fellow TEFLers on the course too.
What you need: A spare weekend, a pen and paper, a desire to get TEFL’d up
You have a few different choices when it comes to finding your TEFL job abroad

Combined course

A combination of the above two courses – a perfect package if ever there was one! You’ll benefit from both an online and classroom-based tuition, meaning you’ll bloom into a beautifully talented TEFL teacher.
What you need: A combination of everything above

Level 5 course

This is the ‘Big Daddy’ of all TEFL courses. Once you start teaching and realise how much you love it, you might decide to throw in the towel back home and live overseas for a few years, or forever (it happens!) In which case, you should look at the Level 5 EDI CertTEFL qualification. With anything, the more training you have, the more opportunities you have and the more confident you feel.
Having a Level 5 top qualification means you can apply for the best jobs, earn more money and it opens up teaching jobs in the best TEFL markets including Japan, the Middle East and even the UK!
What you need: Six spare consecutive Saturdays, a passion for TEFL, a desire to practice teaching real English learners

How to find your TEFL job

Use a TEFL Jobs Board: There are plenty out there, some are awful, some are amazing. Find one that works for you and that offers a variety of positions. Check if positions are moderated before they are posted on the boards.
Use a recruiter: When it comes to a recruiter, their job is (unsurprisingly) recruitment. They’ll help you find a position in a new country and will answer your questions pre-departure. You should never have to pay for a recruiter, so be aware of anyone who charges a fee. Once you arrive in the country, there may be an element of support included, but it’s best to check what is offered before you arrive.
Take a fully supported internship: If you want to teach abroad, but you’re extremely nervous and don’t want to go alone, an internship could be perfect for you. There are set arrival dates and everything is arranged for you before you arrive. You’ll be with other like-minded TEFLers to share the experience with too. On the flipside, you receive a living allowance, so if you’re looking to earn and save, this might not be the choice for you.
If you’re looking to earn serious cash, you might find it in some countries around the world providing you have the required amount of TEFL training. Largely though, TEFL is about having an amazing experience, opening your mind to other cultures, lifestyles and friendships. Plus, you get to give your students the greatest gift – the gift of the English language – which will ensure they have a brighter future.
That’s got to be better that a 9-5 office job, right?

Further Information

If you want some further information on teaching then check out some teaching tips and ideas.
And if you’re thinking about getting a job after travelling then make sure you read our article all about it!

About the Author: Katie Baxter

Katie BaxterHi, I’m Katie, I’ve worked at i-to-i TEFL for 5 years and part of my job is to prepare people for the most incredible experience of their whole lives… pretty cool hey? Except most days I’m seething with jealousy at the fact that everyone is travelling apart from me. So, I try to shoehorn in as much travel as my annual allowance… allows.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zanzibar, Honduras and Mexico to name a few amazing destinations. Being in the UK, I like to take advantage of cheap flights to Europe too.
My favourite place is Kenya. I just love it for so many reasons; the food, the music, the people… everything. It’s so much more than a safari and beach destination.

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