Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) gives you the opportunity to help non-English speaking individuals to learn spoken and written English.
You will teach them how to use spoken English conversationally, how to structure written sentences and even how to use English within a business context.
Teachers of English as a foreign language help their learners develop skills that will serve them throughout their lives. Whether they choose to travel, work in an English-speaking country, or have dealings with English speakers.
Where this role differs from traditional teaching roles is in two important ways. The first is you don’t require a degree to teach English as a foreign language. The second is TEFL teachers generally live and work in another country. Although there are some roles teaching non-English speakers in the UK, the majority of roles lie abroad.
This presents a rare opportunity for anyone who wants to live and work overseas. Or someone who wants to see the world but wants to earn a decent wage as they do so.
Is becoming a TEFL Teacher right for me?
As with all career choices, not every role is right for everyone. Becoming a teacher of English as a foreign language brings with it a lot of benefits.
Not least of which the chance to travel the world and get paid for doing so. TEFL teachers are in considerable demand all over the world giving you the choice of where to live and work.
There are few jobs out there that can give you the freedom and flexibility to live and work in one country for six months to a year before relocating to somewhere entirely new.
It turns your career into something of an adventure. Of course, you still have working hours and the commute but you’ll be doing so a far cry from the usual sitting in traffic.
If travel is a powerful motivator it also gives you more stability and safety than travelling on a shoestring, staying in hostels and working cash in hand.
Thanks to the growing demand for TEFL teachers, salaries are becoming increasingly competitive, especially if you have relevant qualifications. An experienced TEFL teacher can more or less pick and choose from the roles on offer. So, whether you plan to teach English as a foreign language long term or not, you’ll be able to earn good money while on your travels.
Considering some countries don’t have income tax, your earning potential can rival or exceed what you’d earn in the UK.
There are two important things to consider, however, before you sign on the dotted line.
First, if you’re considering becoming a TEFL teacher it’s also very important that you actually like the idea of teaching. Doing something you don’t enjoy day in and day out will more than likely tarnish the experience of living and working abroad.
Second, you will be employed by an English school and your students will be paying customers. That means you will be expected to behave and teach professionally.
You are there at the school’s sufferance. If you don’t do the job, they have every right to replace you, which could jeopardise your right to be in the country. Especially if you’re there under a work visa.
How do I become a TEFL Teacher?
As mentioned, you don’t require a degree to teach English as a foreign language. However, competition for the positions available is fierce, not just by location but for the English schools too.
The more qualifications you have to your name the better your chances are of getting the role of your choice, with the higher end of the salary bracket too.
With some schools paying as much as $5,500 a month – sometimes tax-free – it quite literally pays to have the right qualifications.
Studying a Teaching English as a Foreign Language Diploma is all but essential in helping you get a role teaching English.
The course will teach you how to plan lessons, create resources and how to create an engaging environment for your students. And, most importantly, how to deliver lessons your students will enjoy.
You will also learn how to assess how your students are progressing and provide constructive feedback to aid their learning.
As with many course offerings, different levels of diploma are available so do your research. A level 5 diploma will give you the best possible chance of getting better teaching jobs.
Also, look out for courses that are either recognised by CELTA or are a recognised CELTA equivalent.
Some courses also include access to TEFL job boards to help you with your job search.
Things to be aware of
As with any foreign travel it’s important to do your research before you agree to anything. While scams are rare, they do happen. No legitimate English school will ask you to hand over any money or pay administration fees to process your job application.
While some will pay your travel costs, not all will. Equally, be wary of the school putting you in direct contact with a landlord over a registered letting agent. Landlords are not above giving schools a commission from placing tenants with them.
Letting agents and room finder sites are a safer way to find somewhere to live. However, government websites are usually the best source of information if you’re planning on travelling to a country for work.
Equally do your research in terms of the visas, vaccinations and other things you need to have in place before you travel. Your new employer will have lots of experience helping new teachers of English so liaising with them can help smooth the process.
Another important thing to check up on is the local laws of your destination country. Both in terms of day-to-day life and things like paying taxes.
In the UK tax is deducted before the money hits your bank account. Other countries require you to submit a tax return at the end of the financial year. Knowing what to do, how much you owe and who to pay it to is important for a stress-free life while teaching abroad.
Similarly, knowing what is and isn’t acceptable in the country you’re living in will prevent any unnecessary run-ins with local law enforcement. Being sensitive and respectful of the local culture and customs is important to your success in your new role.
Not to mention it’ll help you enjoy the experience a whole lot more.
Start your Learning
learndirect is the UK’s leading online course provider. We’re here to help you achieve your learning goals. Our nationally recognised, Ofqual accredited Level 5 Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language will give you the skills and knowledge you need to start your new adventure.
To learn more about the course click the image below. All our courses are entirely online so you can start your studies the same day you enrol.
And because your learning material is available 24/7 you can qualify for your new role within weeks.
Take the first step of your new adventure and enrol today.