Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) has become one of the largest education industries in the world. The growth of the industry means that there is also a growth of opportunities, especially in China. EF English First now proudly boasts over 300 schools across 60 cities in China. Your role as a TEFL teacher primarily involves you delivering English language sessions to groups; these could be children and/or adults. You are not just simply a teacher; you are someone who opens up the world of English to students, inspiring them and helping them to shape their futures. I could write about how amazing a TEFL career is for a long time, but I'll try and keep it brief for you.
For some people, a TEFL is the gateway to an adventure of living in another country. For others, it is their first step in their career towards their goals, whatever they may be. Most TEFL jobs offer a one-year contract with the option for renewal, so it can be used as a gap-year from studies and it offers you the opportunity to be partially flexible with your career. Some people will complete a year and realize that they love it so much that they end up renewing their contracts for several more years. Others will ‘call it quits' after a year, but will generally have a better understanding of themselves and career pathway. My cousin went abroad to teach English for a year, fast forward 10-15 years and now he's living in Vietnam having taught all over the world, also having opened his own school.
It IS as fun as it looks in the pictures you see on the Internet. If you want your sessions to be fun and energetic, then make them fun and energetic! Teachers normally have to follow a curriculum set by the school/center, but they have the freedom to teach in their own style and here in EF, teachers are encouraged to be creative and try new things. Not only do students learn from the teachers, but we teachers also learn from students. We start to think about the students, how they learn, what they like, how we can improve their weaknesses etc., but also, we learn about what we are capable of doing ourselves. You may find yourself teaching the same lesson to a few different groups, but you will never have two lessons the same!
Embarking on a TEFL career will provide you with many benefits. For starters, it provides you with the opportunity to live and work in another country with added opportunities for traveling within the country, or others nearby. It is also not necessary to have previous working experience, something that can be difficult to obtain, and it provides you an excellent chance to gain experience. There are also opportunities for progression and development; being a teacher isn't the only available role in the TEFL industry, you could be involved in management, producing new content, marketing etc. If you're someone who is driven by money, you'll be pleased to know that TEFL jobs offer a competitive wage and usually comes with extra benefits such as insurance and accommodation allowances. In addition to all these benefits, you also get the opportunity to meet many like-minded individuals and make friends for life.
It doesn't matter how experienced or inexperienced you are; what is important is that you are willing put 100% into sessions and your own development. Even the ‘best' teachers had zero experience at one point. My first TEFL experience was at my cousin's school in Vietnam and I felt incredibly anxious, so much that I was in the classroom one hour beforehand going over everything countless times – I was only there to visit him, not teach! However, as soon as the session started I felt more relaxed, and by the end of it I realized that it was the career I would pursue once I completed my University studies. More than two years have passed since that day, and I've come to realize that it was one of the best decisions that I've ever made. I've only been teaching in Shanghai for eight months, but already I've transformed myself into a more confident teacher and person all round.
In short, a TEFL career is the ticket to an unforgettable adventure. It can take you anywhere you want to go, and you can be the person that you want to be. You don't need to be fresh face from University; you can also do it at anytime later on in your career if you fancy a change.
Is it a good idea? YES!