28 June 2013
After receiving your accredited TEFL certificate, your next big decision is what you choose to do with it. There are many different opportunities waiting for you in many different countries and you just have to decide which ones you want to follow. You could be a primary school teacher in Spain or a private tutor in Japan; that is the beauty of a TEFL qualification. There are also many volunteering opportunities around the world and these should also be taken into consideration when you are deciding.
Volunteering is a great and easy way to build up classroom experience. Being a paid teacher standing in front of your first ever class is always an intimidating experience so having a chance to get some practice with real people in a real environment will help you a lot on that fateful day. You have completed all the training and you have read all the guides but nothing compares to a little real life practice to prepare you.
With extra experience, you can also find a better job than what might have been on offer without this understanding. Some of the top TEFL jobs in popular South-East Asian countries like China and Japan want a few years of previous experience because their teaching standards are so high. Volunteering is a great way to gain this!
Volunteering positions are available all over the world but they typically appear in poorer developing countries. Some of the countries of Africa and South America regularly want volunteers to travel to them to teach English. The people you would be teaching through these schemes would probably have no other way of ever learning English. With the knowledge you give them, they can better themselves and improve their own lives and their lives of their families.
Voluntary positions often come with accommodation included which is one less stress for you to worry about and you can occasionally receive a small stipend too. This will cover any expenses you may have and will contribute to any meals you need and any savings you have. Make sure to investigate the volunteering position carefully before you commit, not all come with a stipend.
The difference you will bring to these people’s lives will be amazing. Nothing can compare to the feeling you will get from knowing that you have helped this community. In Africa certainly this is true. The impact you will have on their lives will not only help them greatly but the memories you make will stay with you for life.