For those wishing to travel the world and live abroad one of the best options is teaching English. It allows you to travel to an array of countries and have a truly authentic cultural experience, by being able to live in the local community and give something back through teaching English. An essential requirement to teach English is a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Certificate. A Bachelor degree (in whatever area) is also an advantage as it is a requirement in some countries. In Peru and South America though, a TEFL Certificate is the most important requirement. A TEFL Certificate is an internationally recognized and accepted qualification to teach English as a second or foreign language. It means you will be able to teach in China, Italy, Mexico and even back home in the United States or Australia.
TEFL courses are also offered on-line, however they are not ideal, as it is a highly intensive course which requires personal interaction. A TEFL course should be a 120 hour face to face course, delivered over 4 weeks, and include a minimum of six hours of teaching practice of local students, although up to ten hours is ideal. Your TEFL course should include an academic component and cover EFL methodologies, how to teach the different skill areas (reading, writing, speaking, listening & grammar), classroom management, a basic overview of English grammar, lesson planning, preparation for international exams, demonstration lessons and peer teaching. The end of the course should also include preparation for job interviews and an overview of EFL teaching opportunities worldwide. The rest of the course should be dedicated to lesson planning for the teaching practice classes you deliver to local students in the evenings, which are observed and assessed by your TEFL trainer.
You can take a TEFL course in almost any country in the world; however it is recommended that you study outside of your country, in a non-English speaking country. Primarily this will allow you to teach non-native speakers in your practice classes, allowing you to gain richest experience possible. Secondly, studying TEFL should also be a cultural experience for you, so challenge yourself to take the course abroad, live in a new country for a month and learn about the local culture and people while you are getting qualified. As TEFL is an unregulated industry it’s important to make sure that your course is accredited and that your provider provides guaranteed teaching positions or job placement assistance upon graduation. Be sure to do your research, ask your TEFL provider to answer all your queries before you enroll and read the testimonials from their graduates to be sure it’s the right course for you.
About the Author: Ellie Ryan is a TEFL trainer and teacher who has spent many years living and teaching in South America. She is the Founder of TEFL Zorritos, a TEFL training institute in the far north of Peru, where she trains teachers & places them in positions in Peru and abroad