I graduated from university in the summer of 2013 with just one ambition in mind, to travel. One problem stood in the way and you will not need too many guesses to figure it out. The problem was a serious lack of funds and a catastrophic amount of student debt. My story is probably not too dissimilar to many other graduates out there.
I quickly found myself a mundane job in a call centre and I saved up the funds for a month of backpacking around Europe. I then returned to the unfulfilling job, yet again penny less but still with the itchy feet. This is when I began to research ways I could earn money while travelling. TEFL popped up on too many occasions for it to be ignored.
Teaching English in a foreign country? This would satisfy my desire to travel and explore other cultures but teaching, is this for me? I was, and still am to some degree, a quiet, introverted person. I loved meeting new people but standing up in front of a room full of expectant eyes was very daunting. I had never considered teaching as a career path.
That was when I stumbled upon TEFL Org and the wonderful courses they offer. I chose their 150-hour Premier TEFL Course which included 30 hours of learning in the classroom and 120 hours of online work. I never looked back.
The online section provided me with the theory behind teaching English as a foreign language and the grammar sections, in particular, were very helpful. It was, however the 30 hour classroom experience that was the most valuable for myself. During these three days I gained experience of teaching for the first time and had the opportunity to learn from a very knowledgeable and qualified teacher. These three days gave me a huge amount of confidence that I could be successful in this line of work.
One year on and I can happily say that I am now a TEFL teacher in South Korea. I am based on the outskirts of Seoul and am thoroughly enjoying the experience. I’m immersing myself in the Korean culture, have met some wonderful people and I am, albeit slowly, figuring out how to use chopsticks!
The teaching aspect is hugely rewarding. The feeling of satisfaction I get when a student learns something new has never worn old. There are challenging classes and challenging students but these difficulties make the job even more satisfying. When I look back to 18 months ago and remember myself being stuck in a mind-numbing job and look to where I am now, it is hugely pleasing. You can have the same experience and a large portion of thanks needs to go to TEFL Org.
So, if you are like my former self, looking for an adventure abroad but nervous about making the step into teaching then I invite you to take one of the TEFL courses. Without wanting to end this on a soppy note, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Good luck and have fun!