You may have been considering doing TEFL for a while, but have never done anything about it. That sounds like it could be down to just a little bit of fear. If this sounds like you, the best thing you can do to overcome those fears is get a clear idea of what teaching English abroad can be like.
Take the initial low-risk step of researching and contacting a few TEFL course providers, contact some current or former EFL teachers and get an understanding of what teaching English involves. By the end of it you will have a much clearer idea of just what is involved in teaching English abroad. More importantly, you’ll be feeling excited and enthusiastic to get on with TEFL. Ask practical questions regarding pay, accommodation, teaching staff and students, this will help build a real picture of teaching English abroad.
Finding out about the country you want to teach in is also a good idea. It will not only get you excited with anticipation, but will also help you decide if it’s somewhere you want to be. Ask teachers who have been to that country about the culture, lifestyle, cost of living and whether you earn enough to live.
Other concerns some prospective TEFL teachers have are doubts as to whether TEFL can constitute a career. I know a lot of people in TEFL, in a wide variety of different roles. Some are still out teaching, notching up more countries and destinations on their resumes. Others have started their own schools, some are in teacher training, others writing books. TEFL is the same as any industry, there are plenty of opportunities for the right person. The people I know are industrious, show initiative and are professional; qualities that any employer in any field would value.
Saying that, simply because you choose to get into TEFL, doesn’t mean that you are tied to it. It can be perfect for taking a career break before starting something else or following a successful career. By teaching English, you’ll also find that you gain transferable skills such as presentation, communication and organizational skills.
I have found professionals from different areas teaching abroad for a year or two to gain useful resume experience.
Many primary and secondary school teachers find that teaching abroad is an effective way to gain practical experience before returning to apply for jobs in their home country.
There are a lot of fears and excuses to prevent you from taking the plunge. And while I meet a large number of people who say they had always meant to do TEFL, but never got round to it, I am not sure I have ever met a TEFL teacher who regrets their time abroad.
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