We say this every year, but what a year it’s been. From Covid-19 lockdowns becoming a thing of the past for most, to new developments across the TEFL scene, it’s been a fantastic 12 months for the industry – and for The TEFL Org.
We won a Queen’s Award For Enterprise as well as SCDI’s Annual Highlands & Islands Business Excellence Award, we launched a new podcast – ‘I Taught English Abroad’ – taken on new tutors, helped thousands of people gain TEFL certification, and maintained our excellent standards of accreditation.
We’ve also updated this blog every single week, which we hope gives everyone – not just TEFL teachers – something informative to read every Tuesday.
So, what were some of our personal favourites from the blog in 2022? Let’s look back on some highlights, while we remember we’ve got to do this all over again when the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, 2023!
The landscape of TEFL teaching is always changing, but one constant has remained in the digital age: video is very, very useful.
So, we whittled down some of the best video content for TEFL Teachers out there. From the hip-hop of Fluency MC to the underrated wisdom of Learn English with a TV Series, there is a world of opportunity on YouTube.
“It’s all about picking the right moments. Using videos as the be-all-and-end-all isn’t the best approach, but for really articulating phraseology, vocabulary and accents, it’s hard to beat an audio-visual learning experience.
Video can act as a reward, too. If a class has been performing well, some comedy clips, or even some rapping (courtesy of Fluency MC, for example) can be both a pleasurable experience for students and an incentive to learn. Use it wisely, and video can be your best friend.”
We’re big fans of Carl Cameron-Day, one of our highly-qualified and wonderfully experienced tutors here at The TEFL Org.
So, when it came time for one of his most useful series of webinars yet, you just knew we had to take plenty of notes for those who missed it. Going over the absolute fundamentals of TEFL, Carl explained how to get around problems with reading, writing, speaking and listening, while creating engaging lessons that students will remember.
“For teachers, Carl explains, it’s about patience and properly explaining things. There are habits and practices within language learning that seem natural to native speakers from an early age. However, in writing a different language, it’s easy to miss key parts of putting a language into text.”
We love to hear from our graduates, and when Sophie told us all about her time teaching in Thailand, we knew we had to share it here on the blog.
From the process of choosing Thailand to picking up the native language, teaching classes and reflecting on her experience, Sophie’s story is a great read for anyone wavering over whether or not to teach English abroad.
Spoiler alert: by the end, you’ll practically be packing your bags.
“We all remembered thinking “when is this going to end? When can we travel and get back to normal?”
“For many, the lockdown was really tough and for some it was revolutionary. For me, it was an opportunity to research countries I wanted to go to and teach in. After lots of researching on what I wanted out of this experience – was it finance or was it self-discovery and adventure? – I chose Thailand!”
We’re big advocates of Latin America at The TEFL Org. While, for whatever reason, it’s not an automatic pick for a lot of TEFL teachers, it really ought to be. From Mexico all the way down to Argentina’s coast, the continent is full of natural and man-made wonder, as well as millions of potential English students.
With Latin American economies looking to be more competitive, proficiency in English is a must, what with the language being the lingua franca of business. Beyond that, though, many Latin American governments know the benefits of learning another language, and that’s where you guys – yes, you reading this – come in.
With plenty of jobs going, looser requirements in terms of qualifications, and some of the world’s most fascinating ecosystems to explore, don’t discount Latin America; put it at the top of your list.
“Latin America, however, remains an underrated gem. For one thing, it’s a gigantic area – when we say ‘Latin America’, we’re encompassing the continent of South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. In all of that land, there are a range of customs, histories and crucially, languages. 19.2 million square kilometres, in all, and so much to explore.
“The continent also houses the Amazon rainforest, Machu Picchu, Rio’s Christ the Redeemer, Iguazu Falls and countless other breathtaking sights.”
When it comes to finding TEFL work, it’s not unfair to say that it’s easier for some than for others. Sadly, even in 2022, the reality is that for teachers in the LGBTQ+ community, there are some countries that aren’t as accepting or tolerant as others.
As backward as that is, it means that safety is a real issue. However, it also means we had the opportunity to celebrate some of the best and most exciting LGBTQ+-friendly TEFL locations in the world.
Using a range of data, including Asher & Lyric’s fantastic guide to LGBTQ+ legislation across the world, we picked out some brilliant TEFL spots, including Chile, the Netherlands and more!
“…it’s worth pointing out that there is no “perfect” destination for LGBTQ+ people; we should be under no illusions that, everywhere, there is still immense progress that needs to be made.
“The point is, it’s about your own personal comfort and safety. What works for one person might not work for another; that’s the nature of the human experience as a whole.
“Whatever choice a TEFL teacher makes in terms of travelling to teach English, the most important thing is safety and being able to exist peacefully.”
Did you know that the word “set” had over 430 definitions? Think about it: you can set a table for a set time, you can complete a set of something… it goes on and on.
While we’re here, do you know what a “contronym” is? How many words Shakespeare popularised? Do you know what the longest English word is? Yes, we’re all about teaching English here at The TEFL Org, but it doesn’t mean we can’t sit back in amazement at some of the unique quirks of the language.
So, we picked out 10 facts we like the most. Maybe you have your own?
“Over time, letters like ‘ash’ (æ) and ‘ethel’ œ were dropped, although they are still used in Scandinavian languages.
“The English alphabet we know and love today has 26 letters. However, earlier variations included 29 letters and more. Comedian Steven Wright once asked “Why is the alphabet in that order? Is it because of the song?””
The myth of the gap year has probably overtaken the reality in the public consciousness, to a point where many prospective university students are avoiding it entirely. However, there’s a way of doing a gap year right, and that’s teaching English as a foreign language.
If you actually get TEFL qualified, find a place where you’ll be useful and use the experience to bolster your career, doing a TEFL gap year could be the making of you. As ever, it’s all about taking it seriously, and making a lasting positive impact.
“The gap year is an opportunity to see new cultures and landscapes, sure. For many, though, the possibility of earning a wage is crucial, because there are plenty of us who wouldn’t be able to travel at all if we couldn’t also make a living.
“Yes – we’re talking TEFL on your gap year. While TEFL is – and this can’t be stressed enough – a wonderful career choice and a vocation in many respects, doing it for a year and travelling simultaneously has given any number of TEFL teachers the impetus to say “this is what I want to do with my life”.
“So, while the gap year TEFL experience can be just that – TEFL for a year – it’s also how many life-long teachers got their start.”
For anyone, in any industry, it’s not unfair to say that sometimes, you need a reminder of why it is you do what you do.
That’s true of people in the TEFL industry, too, especially those of us who are determined to spread the word about the impact teaching English can make to individuals and collectives. It’s a big deal to us!
So, we asked amongst ourselves – the staff here at The TEFL Org – what’s so great about all this? The answers should inspire, uplift and give anyone with any interest in teaching English abroad something to think about.
“Put simply: do it.
“I always say if you want to try something new, travel, learn transferable skills, and meet people from all over the world, TEFL is the perfect way of doing all of this.
“I [had doubts], and was nervous about pretty much every aspect like everyone I think, but once you start it gets easier and easier. Also, just think that everyone that has gone abroad to teach, in every country that needs TEFL teachers, has gone through the same process.”
Want a teacher story that has a bit of everything? References to Breaking Bad, a mega twist of an ending and some real, practical advice about how to make moves in the TEFL industry?
When Irene heard her son getting English lessons, she wondered “why not me?”. From then on, everything changed, and a career in the corporate world became an amazing adventure in teaching English.
If you’re wondering whether you can change your career, you absolutely can. If you feel like you’re losing momentum, that those Monday mornings are ever-harder to face, then you can change things, just like Irene did.
“These have been three crazy years. I’ve been teaching in-person, online, and in hybrid mode (the craziest version of all, any teacher will confirm). Any significant change takes a lot of determination and humility, but this job really calls for all your strength and passion.
“I have been working hard all the time: in order to teach, you need to study. I have studied electronics and mechanics, I have been up all night with my literature books, the kids’ texts and on my own, and all my notes again and again; I have taken additional qualifications – DSA for teaching languages, teaching young learners online – and more will come, I’m sure.”
Talking of career changes, teaching English online has become an industry unto itself. Whether you work independently or for an English teaching company, the freedom, flexibility and ability to accumulate extra revenue has made teaching online very attractive.
How do you find work in that sphere, though? It’s all about getting qualified, finding a niche, and being ready for opportunities across the globe; albeit, from your living, home office or wherever you choose to work.
We’ve made a comprehensive guide all about finding that first online teaching job, packed full of good advice to make a career change in 2023.
“It might seem trite or cliché but our best advice through all of this is simple: be yourself. Don’t exaggerate, because you won’t need to. If you’re TEFL qualified, enthusiastic and have transferable skills, that’ll come across. There’s no need to embellish your achievements, your passion and knowledge will shine through.
“When it comes to the interview, just take some deep breaths beforehand and let your personality show. If you’re TEFL qualified, and willing to put the effort in, you will find jobs teaching.”
Check out our previous blog posts for advice, tips and insight into the world of TEFL!