The Good, The Bad, and The Grammar Ugly!

22 February 2013

When I first started my search for the right  TEFL course I found it quite difficult to know which was the best option. There are a lot of  TEFL companies out there each selling more or less the same course for more or less the same price give or take 20 quid.

Serena HortonI chose TEFL Org UK as the reviews were good and a few friends of mine had trained with them.  If you are a student, have GRADUATED within the last 3 years or are unemployed then TEFL Org offer a 20% discount of any of the courses. The price of the courses vary depending on what you choose. You can pretty much do anything from 50 hours to 150 hours worth of study. There are a few Groupon offers knocking about for about £60 for 50 hours on-line only, however in hind sight this is not something I would recommend and I’ll talk more about why later. After talking with people who are already teaching I decided to go for 120 hours combined classroom and on-line learning and as I had recently graduated I had the 20% discount and paid around £270.00 I am told you can walk into a job in Thailand with the minimum TEFL qualification, but for me I wanted to get the most from the course and be well equipped for going into the actual classroom for the first time.

The first stage was the classroom learning. I attended the course in Birmingham and it was an intense couple of days with 20 hours of stuff packed into 2 days. In the lead up to this I was dreading it. Having been on various training days through work in the past I was stocked up on Red Bull and Pro Plus and dreading that feeling of trying to look awake and alert when really you just want to cry with boredom. BUT…….it honestly wasn’t like that at all. The teacher was a guy called Steve who was so inspirational. Steve had so many stories of his days TEFLing all over the world. The lessons were fun, interactive, informative and the best thing of all for me was being in a room full of like minded people all with the same ambition. I honestly think now looking over it all that if I hadn’t had this classroom time then I wouldn’t feel as confident as I do about actually teaching and this is why I wouldn’t take the cheap on-line only option…but that is just my opinion of course!

The next stage was to complete the online stuff, the course was broken down like this:

  • 20 hour classroom
  • 50 hour Online TEFL Course
  • 30 hour Grammar Course
  • 20 hour Video Course

I’m not gonna lie the on-line stuff is not as much fun as the classroom, but then it’s not going to be really. There is a LOT to learn. When I first looked at it I honestly thought I was NEVER going to be able to complete it. The Grammar element is fluent throughout the entire course, even the classroom bit and it can be gruelling to say the least.  If like me (prior to the course) you don’t know your there’s from your theirs then you will need to do extra research (Google was a great help with this).

The on-line tutors are amazing and provide lots of support and advice and throughout the whole course I really got the impression that they really want you to both enjoy it and succeed. You have a time limit of 6 months (I believe you can extend this for a fee) however, I followed the course in the order they recommended and with a little help from a friend and the extra on-line help (there is  sooo much stuff on-line) I worked my way through it all in just under 2 months and I can honestly say that I have learnt so much from it, I actually enjoyed learning about my language and how it comes together and would of benefited from something like this at school for sure.

Other Criteria…..

As I said before I know for a fact that you can walk into a job in Thailand (and many other countries) with ZERO qualifications and many people do do this. It is becoming more difficult though so I am told to obtain a secure and well paid position within a reputable establishment without some kind of qualification. Most good schools will ask for a degree as well as TEFL and some top international schools want a full English teaching degree as well as experience. All teachers have to undergo a CRB before work visas are granted. FYI I have a degree in business studies as well as my 120 hour TEFL certificates and all of the schools I have spoken with are happy with this.

All Prepared Then???

Am I ready for the classroom?? Hmmm well I am still very nervous about actually delivering lessons but I’m sure once I find my feet with it all I’ll make a really good teacher. I am planning on a bit of volunteering in various places before my term actually starts to get a feel for it, but I am looking forward to finding my own teaching style too and I’m sure as with everything it’s all about trial and error.

Where I’m at…..

Serena Horton CertificateSo yesterday I received scanned copies of my certificates which is really exciting. I have my accommodation and transport sorted in Thailand now all that is left is to find a job but this is something I want to do whilst I am there and not before. I need to make sure I am doing something that is not only going to pay well but that is going to fit in with me looking after my son and making sure he keeps up with a bit of the UK curriculum by way of a bit of home tutoring. I have spoken to the Thai Consulate and they have assured me Matthew will be able to ‘piggy back’ my work visa and my employer will assist me with sorting all that out… I will blog more on visas and Matthews school as and when I know what’s what. Apart from that flights are booked and I leave 2 weeks tomorrow.

If anyone reading this knows of anyone else like me who has taken the plunge and moved abroad as a single parent then I would love to hear from them, I really wish I had of stumbled upon a blog like this when I was looking as there really is limited information out there….could that be telling me something???? hope not!

I am a 31 year old single Mom who has upped sticks with my 12 year old son to try something different, for a more personal and detailed review of our adventure please take a look at my blog.

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