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Is TEFL Right for Me?

21st April 21

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is an opportunity to work with people all around the world. You will help them develop their spoken and written English so they can work and travel abroad themselves.

Because English is the language of commerce and spoken by some of the world’s biggest economies, TEFL teachers are in great demand. This presents anyone with a desire to live and work in other countries with an ideal job.

Equally, if you want to simply see the world and put some miles on your soul, you can do so while earning decent money. Because there is more or less a global demand for TEFL teachers you can travel to your destination of choice.

To teach English as a foreign language requires qualifications, notably an accredited TEFL diploma. Although there are more TEFL roles than teachers, employers still expect a high standard of education. So the better your qualifications – and the higher level of your diploma – the more choice you’ll have in terms of roles. You’ll also command a higher salary too.

Teaching English as a foreign language is a fun and rewarding role that allows you to experience other cultures. But here are some things to consider before you sign up.


LD - Is TEFL Right for Me? - Travel

As mentioned, as a TEFL teacher you will get the chance to travel the world. Teachers of English as a foreign language are in high demand around the world. Some of the most in need locations are:

  • China
  • South Korea
  • Mexico
  • UAE
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Morocco
  • France
  • Italy
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Japan
  • Argentina
  • Guatemala
  • Vietnam
  • Russia

However, if your plan is to spend a few weeks in a country and move on, becoming a TEFL teacher may not be the right path for you. Most contracts are a year, although some are occasionally less.

So, wherever you go you need to be prepared to stay awhile. Some schools may let you transfer to a different school within the network, allowing you to move to a different part of the country. This isn’t a guarantee though so wherever you go choose carefully.

Regardless of whether you stay in one place or you’re given the flexibility to move around, you will still get to experience a great deal.

Aside from living in vibrant cities, you will get the opportunity to travel around the country during your time off. Because you’ll be there for a year and earning a liveable wage you won’t have to be selective about what to see or do.

Rather you can experience all the country has to offer. And, should you feel like you haven’t seen enough, you have the option of extending your contract or teaching in another part of the country.

Before you commit to anything it’s important to do your research about the countries you could be living and working in. While the UAE and Saudi Arabia offer some of the highest rates of pay – and no tax – their local laws can be oppressive. They have strict laws governing women, alcohol, relationships out of wedlock and more.

Also, some countries on the list above have criminalised LGBTQ+ people. Same-sex relationships can carry prison sentences and in Saudi Arabia the highest penalty is death.

This isn’t intended to deter you from embarking on a rewarding and life-changing journey, it’s just important to have all the facts before you apply.


LD - Is TEFL Right for Me? - Teaching

Most teachers will tell you that teaching is a tough yet rewarding job. Teaching English as a foreign language is similar. The main difference is that initially, a language barrier will exist between you and your students.

Obviously, this will change with time, but it can make for a slightly isolating experience to begin with.

Also depending on where you teach your role, and the associated expectations can vary. For example, a Japanese state school will have you working with a Japanese teacher in a more supporting role. You will also be required to follow a curriculum.

Elsewhere you may find you will be required to plan lessons and create the materials entirely on your own. As with travelling to a different country, research what the expectations will be on you and your time.

Prep of some sort will almost always be required, as will marking work. Most of this will have to be done in your free time so if having homework of your own doesn’t appeal, this may not be the role for you.

Just as the expectations and the working hours can vary, so can the rates of pay. Depending on where you go and the role you have, pay can be between $500 a month to over $5,000.

However, cost of living can vary wildly too. So, while earning $1,500 a month while teaching in Bolivia may seem low, the cost of living is considerably lower too. Comparatively, you will be on a reasonable wage.

Rates of pay are usually competitive relative to the local economy so factor this into your decision making. And also the trade-off between high earnings and drawbacks such as long working hours or a restricted way of life.

How to Qualify as a TEFL Teacher

Requirements vary depending on where you want to teach. Again, Japan expects all its TEFL teachers to be at least degree educated, in addition to holding a TEFL qualification.

Other countries will just require the latter. Regardless of where you want to travel to, you will need a CELTA qualification or a recognised equivalent.

These qualifications will give you all the skills and knowledge you need to teach English as a foreign language.

Without a qualification of this type, you’ll have very little chance of getting a role as TEFL teacher. Similarly, the hiring institutes will look for the best qualifications they can.

A Teaching English as a Foreign Language Level 5 Diploma will carry significantly more weight than a level 3. Especially when paired with other qualifications you already have.

A-levels and bachelor’s degrees are looked upon very favourably by potential employers.

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.

LD - Is TEFL Right for Me?- CTA

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