If the name wasn’t a giveaway, we’re pretty sold on the idea of TEFL as a fantastic way to live and work, whether from home or across the world.
Our highly accredited TEFL courses have been created by real TEFL teachers with extensive experience working in the industry – as English teachers and teacher trainers. On a TEFL Org course, you’ll receive comprehensive training, dedicated tutor support, and course materials that are both on the cutting edge and the most proven for success in the TEFL industry.
Specifically, though, just what’s so great about TEFL? Why have we devoted ourselves to it, why do we preach the good word (or acronym) as much as possible, and why do growing numbers of people take it up as a career?
Well, we thought we’d get the perspective of people who’ve seen it all, have done it, and are now helping others to achieve their TEFL dreams. Yes, this week we’re going to be asking big questions to some TEFL Org employees who have also been abroad or taught online. They’ve taken the courses, got a job teaching, have been overseas and are now helping thousands more do just as they did!
So, what’s so good about TEFL? What inspired our staff to teach English as a foreign language? What advice would they give to those who were thinking of taking a TEFL course and teaching in the near future?
Dutifully, our fantastic TEFL Org staff responded.
“I loved the energy”; What inspired you to teach English abroad?
Kicking things off, it seemed important to ask what actually motivated some of the TEFL Org staff to get involved with teaching English.
Thomas Kerr, our Online Courses and Academic Manager, made it sound very idyllic indeed. Asked what inspired him to teach English abroad, Thomas says: “I was in Spain, decided to stay and needed a job. Someone mentioned teaching English, I tried it with a group of teenagers, and loved the energy I got from them. After a few months, I realised there was more to it and did a TEFL course.” Thomas is still very much in Spain, helping to run the show here at the most highly-accredited TEFL company going!
Jenny Hilder, based in North Carolina, joined The TEFL Org recently, having studied and taught in Italy, as well as online. When it came to making that TEFL decision, she told us in very straightforward terms: “I basically needed a way to fund travelling. TEFL was a great option for me and played into my skill sets.” Sometimes, that’s all it takes to forge an exciting career in teaching. Nowadays, Jenny is helping new students have the same exciting experiences that she’s had.
Luke Bartsch never expected to end up teaching English, especially having graduated with an Art degree. However, like Jenny and Thomas, travel was an integral part of what would end up being his career. Luke told us: “I was stuck on what to do next. I knew I wanted to go abroad but didn’t know how to do it. Teaching abroad came up and it seemed to tick all the boxes I wanted from a job, it was then just a case of deciding what country I wanted to teach in.”
Luke would end up teaching in China, and is now an integral part of what we do here at The TEFL Org, helping to establish partnerships with educational institutions across the globe.
“It really opened my eyes”; Had you always felt an urge to teach, or was there something specific about TEFL?
A common thread of these TEFL experiences is that, had you asked any of our staff if they had big teaching plans for their career, they’d surprise you.
They’d surprise you because, generally speaking: nope, it wasn’t on their radar.
However, there’s just something different about TEFL that proved a real eye-opener. Jenny, for example, came from a family of teachers, but had no urge to be a teacher herself. However, as she explains: “I never wanted to teach, to be honest, since my whole family does, but TEFL really opened my eyes to the best parts of teaching and being able to see and experience a student’s level go up purely because you’re their teacher.”
For Luke, travel had been the incentive. A first lesson in China, though, changed all of that. Luke tells us: “To be honest, I had no urge to teach. I didn’t think it was an option for me until I stumbled across TEFL.
“Once I researched everything involved it was just a case of asking myself, can I teach? I think everyone worries and feels it will be hard at the start, but I loved it as soon as I got through that first lesson.”
As for Thomas in Spain? He quickly realised the life he had at home just couldn’t compete: “I had never thought about it until that first lesson with the teenagers. I just remember walking out the door after the first lesson, and thinking, that was fun and so inspiring.
“I knew I wanted more of it. It made my old job in a bank in London seem so boring.”
“Experiencing the foreign culture”; What was the best feeling you got from teaching English overseas?
Now we’ve established why our contributors made it overseas, or into the world of online TEFL teaching, what experiences did they have?
For some, it was the shock of getting through that first class and realising they had what it takes. For others, it was about an entirely new culture, experiencing it all newly and in clear, first-person view.
For Jenny, it was Italy, and taking in the sights and sounds of southern Europe. She told us: “I think the best part was experiencing the foreign culture in Italy all around me, but then being grounded in a way in my English teaching. You could be anywhere in the world but the TEFL online would be the same wherever you go.”
Thomas, who also set up home base in Europe, describes his initial time in Spain: “Definitely that contact with people from different cultures [was the best feeling I had].
“It was so interesting and exciting to teach and learn from them too. It opened my mind so much to new and different ideas.”
Luke, who found himself teaching in China, explains it was a mixture of culture and seeing his students learning English in real time that was the best feeling he got from TEFL.
“Definitely seeing progress in your students, especially the young students”, Luke explains. “I taught in China, and a lot of my students were 5-10 years old, at the start they are pretty nervous and anxious about being in class, but within weeks you can tell they are excited to learn from you.
“Some students I had for over a year, twice a week and seeing the progress was so rewarding.”
“We are helping to shape people’s lives”; What would you say if you were asked to recommend TEFL?
Let’s imagine, for a moment, you were reading this and wondering whether TEFL was right for you.
If that’s the case, we can only hope this blog post has inspired some very positive thoughts about teaching English as a foreign language, whether at home or across the world. There’s a lot to consider, though; moving home, changing career, investing your time, money and effort into doing a course.
We get it. It’s a big commitment, and to TEFL successfully, it’s something you have to really dedicate yourself to.
So, in that spirit, we asked our colleagues what they’d say to recommend the TEFL experience, especially to someone wondering if it’s right for them. Somewhat unsurprisingly, all of them wholeheartedly recommended taking the plunge.
Luke knows exactly how you feel if you’ve got one or two doubts. He says: “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.”
Jenny, who moved from online teaching to working as a TEFL Advisor here at The TEFL Org, is of the same mind. She says of her experience: “I would definitely recommend TEFL to anyone who was thinking of teaching in general or wanting a career change because it really can open doors.
“I would say that it’s definitely something to pursue, as it can be used in so many different ways. Especially if you get certified through The TEFL Org, because the certificate doesn’t expire. So, if you have the time now to get certified, you can use it later in life.”
Thomas gave us the best closer of the lot. Now living in a beautiful village in Spain, his recommendation of TEFL should leave no doubts as to his infectious enthusiasm: “I would recommend TEFL because it takes you to a world where teaching and learning is exciting, fun and dynamic.
“Having a TEFL Cert gives you the freedom to travel the world whilst working and earning a salary, so you can integrate with the culture you are living and/or working in. When teaching, we are helping to shape people’s lives, giving people an opportunity to grow and develop.
“As TEFL makes learning fun, it does motivate people to learn English more. Then when our students learn to speak English well, this does open many doors for our students in the future.
“I’d say ‘just do it’. You will learn so much even if you don’t go on to teaching.
“You can transfer much of the knowledge you learn from TEFL into everyday life and work life too. So it’s a win-win situation.
“I actually know quite a few people who said they did the course because they had some spare time in between jobs. However, after doing the course, they quit their jobs and went into teaching, and never looked back.”
Inspired to get TEFL certified? Check out our range of courses! If you’re not sure where to start get in touch with our friendly team on live chat, by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by giving us a call on +44 (0) 1349 800 600 / +353 19 011 793