There was a time when people would leave school, get a job, start a career and just get on with it until the time came to retire. Most people never really liked their jobs, but you just got on with it because that’s how the world worked.
But the world has changed and now, more than ever you can choose a career that not only pays the bills but is also fulfilling an enjoyable. And for many people, that career is teaching English as a foreign language.
Is It For You?
Becoming a TEFL teacher opens up a lot of different options, the possibilities are actually pretty vast. You may have an image of students taking a gap year to teach and to party in Thailand, and that is certainly an option, but becoming a TEFL teacher can be the start of a new career too:
Get to Work Anywhere
If you want a change of scenery and you want to travel, doing a TEFL course may allow you to work virtually anywhere in the world. Asia is a popular option, but for serious teachers, Europe and South America are options too.
As a teacher working overseas you will get a real sense of giving something back to the world. Teaching is a very fulfilling career anyway, but working in poorer countries with lower standards of education can open your eyes to the world.
Stay at Home
If you don’t want to travel, or if you want long term opportunities in your own country, you can certainly work teaching English in the UK or USA. TEFL teachers often find work as tutors for foreign children who have move to the UK/USA and need to learn the language.
Start a New Career
Perhaps you want to become a teacher some-day. Training can be hard (and expensive) and getting onto the best courses takes work and often experience. By taking a year teaching overseas you can build up valuable teaching experience that can help to launch a new career in teaching.
How to do it
The first step of course is to figure out what you want to do. Most TEFL teachers start by teaching in Asia or otherwise overseas – this is generally where jobs are easiest to find and after a year of getting experience it is much easier to find work at home.
If this is the route you want to take you should start weighing up where you would like to work. Try to base your decision on factors such as:
- Where in the world would you like to go?
- How easy is it to find work in that country?
- What are conditions like for teachers in that country?
- What are the requirements to work as a TEFL teacher?
- What sort of salary can you expect?
You can make a shortlist of possible countries and then research each of them and try to find which one is the best fit for you based on what you want out of your year.
To work in most countries you will need a degree and a TEFL certificate, although it can be worth investing in a TEFL course which includes additional experience and training since this will help you to get a better job in the more competitive countries.
Things to Look Out For
Working as a TEFL teacher is not easy and neither is the training, so if you want an easy year seeing the world you are probably better off just saving up. But if you want to change your life and put in the work becoming an English teacher is a great opportunity.
Getting a job comes with its own challenges, particularly in less popular countries, so be prepared to send out a lot of applications and do a lot of research. In most countries it is possible to get a job before you go, but in other countries you may have to fly out and then start looking for a job.
Either way, if you are prepared to work, it could be the best thing you ever do!
This guest post was written by James from ICALTEFL.com, providers of internationally accredited TEFL courses and certificates.