TEFL for career changers

TEFL for career changers

Have you ever interacted with a customer or sat at your desk and thought “What am I doing?”?

It’s happened to all of us at some point. You’ve got the feeling that, perhaps, you’ve backed the wrong horse. You’ve stayed in a job too long, or you’ve picked a career path that, at one point, seemed like the end goal, but now represents a bit of a chore. There’s no shame in it, because career ennui is something that the vast majority of people go through. Even beer testers and water slide designers have rough days at work and wonder “what if”.

So, what is it that people feel they’re missing out on? Perhaps they feel geographically stuck. Maybe they feel as though their career doesn’t let them help people as much as they want. It could be that they don’t see the direct fruits of their labours. This is why, for many,  English as a foreign language is the answer.

Could TEFL be your answer? Is there, in fact, a very good reason you’re reading this blog post? Let’s talk it through, and maybe by the end you’ll consider changing career and joining the exciting world of English teaching!

Signs a career change might be in order

There are tell-tale signs that you should consider changing career. First off, do you dread Mondays ? Do weekends never feel long enough? Does Sunday afternoon turning to evening put you in a state of genuine anxiety? It might be time to consider your options.

Or, your career is lacking momentum. There’s no shame in it - sometimes, as people, we reach as far as we can go in a chosen trade or vocation. The phrase “dead-end job” is one we all know and understand. If it applies to you, it doesn’t mean you have to be stuck forever. Along these lines, a l ack of progression might be the root cause of your unrest. Maybe you’ve been working hard for a promotion that never comes, there aren’t opportunities for personal development, or there’s just no more room to grow. It happens!

Do simple work tasks feel difficult ? It might be that you’ve run out of enthusiasm for your job. You could be bored of your surroundings , coming to the same office space, shop floor or shared space day after day, and that affects your ability to perform to your best.

These are all tell-tale signs that it’s time for a change.

A man holding a pen in front of a whiteboard

What’s stopping you?

Now, let’s be clear: life can be difficult. Especially when it comes to money. Maybe you’re not happy in your job, but the security is something to appreciate, and you have bills to pay. Or maybe the job market has changed? Maybe the job you have is a crucial lifeline?

Let’s not be dishonest here, there are plenty of valid reasons for not taking the risk of changing jobs. You might be earning good money - or money, full stop. You may have responsibilities: children, older family members, rent or a mortgage to pay.

Time could be a factor. For example, if you want to change careers but what you want to do requires a degree or other qualification, you may just not have the time to do it. Or, maybe it seems unaffordable?

It could be that having worked in the same job or type of job for a long time, you feel like you’ve aged out of a particular industry. Or, you just don’t have the relevant experience and too much time has gone.

You’re about to see why these factors don’t need to be… well, factors!

The main reasons people want to TEFL

So, why is TEFL such an enticing change of scene for career changers?

Firstly: adventure . You can go pretty much anywhere in the world with a TEFL qualification. With the right level of talent and initiative, you can spend the rest of your life travelling while you work. Teaching English abroad takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but the opportunities to explore the world are plentiful.

While we’re at it, teaching English is so rewarding . Just read any of our student stories to find out how life-changing and fulfilling TEFL can be. The feeling of moving and setting up life somewhere else can be utterly amazing. From a career perspective, seeing learners progress in real-time? There’s nothing quite like it.

Furthermore, you can really make a social impact. Whether you start off by volunteering in areas where English proficiency is low , or finding work where the infrastructure for teaching isn’t as well-funded, the impact you can make as a teacher is huge.

There’s also very obvious career progression and momentum for teachers, especially when they just start out. We’ve heard plenty of stories about teachers moving countries and, before long, helping to shape the curriculum like Jema Perry, who spoke to us for our podcast series ‘I Taught English Abroad’ .

Why it’s possible

Isn’t TEFL just a pipe dream? You need to get qualified, you need to build experience, and in some cases, you need to even earn a degree! That’s before we even get to finances and finding work!

Except, no: TEFL is accessible to anyone . Nowadays, you can easily get qualified to teach English as a foreign language. Courses are affordable , with some course providers using payment plans if you want to pay in instalments. What’s more, you can do great courses at your own pace, meaning you can study around your current job.

What about age ? It’s true that in some regions it can be tricky to find work if you’re over 60. However, age is valued across the world and at the very least, you can find teaching work online if you’re approaching or past retirement age. 

Are there jobs? Yes, the demand for EFL teachers worldwide is huge. Even a cursory glance on our TEFL Org Jobs Board will show you the sheer breadth of opportunities from all corners of the globe. What if you’re inexperienced as a teacher? It doesn’t always matter - and nor does it matter too much if you don’t have a degree but want to teach overseas!

A woman pointing at a whiteboard with words written on it

How to do it

So, you want to change your career and join the exciting world of TEFL. Brilliant, great choice! First, you’ll need a qualification. Through The TEFL Org, you can get TEFL qualified in your own time and at your own pace, with incredible tutor support and industry-leading materials.

Don’t think you have the transferable skills to be a great English teacher? You almost certainly do. As Carl Cameron-Day told us in his fantastic webinar ‘ TEFL as a Career Change ’, there are all kinds of experiences and skills you’ll have developed in other industries. For example, working with the public is a great way to build communication skills. Any job where you have to give training is an excellent platform for a career in teaching. Organisation, creativity - no doubt, you’ve had to develop these skills in your career.

It’s very easy to find jobs. From social media and online TEFL networking groups on the likes of LinkedIn and Facebook, to official TEFL job sites, you won’t struggle to find work, whether teaching online from the comfort of your own home, to moving abroad and exploring new horizons.

Maybe it’s time to make a change!

If you’re stuck in a career you don’t like, it doesn’t have to be that way. TEFL is accessible, it opens doors to the rest of the world, and it’s much easier to get started than you thought.

It could be that you think changing careers is selfish or irresponsible, somehow. It’s not. It’s your life, and it’s too short a life to be stuck doing something your heart isn’t invested in. Teaching is an amazing avenue for self-development, travel and diversifying your skill-set, and you’re more than capable!

Find out which TEFL course is right for you via our fantastic TEFL Course Quiz !

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