How to jumpstart your TEFL career

Thinking about the future? Have an impending graduation on the horizon and no idea what to do next? Do you just want to escape your country and be one of those travel bloggers you see on the ‘Gram?

(In the voice of Barney Stinson) … haaave you tried English Teaching?

Teaching English overseas has become one of the most lucrative ways to make money whilst being able to travel and learn about a new culture. Better yet, most companies (EF included) feature a supportive network of teachers that help you learn how to be a fantastic ESL instructor. In this article, you’ll find tips and tricks of the trade to help you get the most out of your TEFL certification.

 

1. START PLANNING EARLY

Whether you’ve just graduated university or still in high school, there is no time like the present to start planning.

  • Look at which courses are offered in your school for next semester- can you grab an extra English class? What about creative writing? Having a strong hold of grammar and spelling is only going to help you in your future ESL career.
  • Buy a grammar book. We native speakers know English so well that sometimes it’s difficult to explain WHY you need that second ‘had’ in a sentence (“if I had had an umbrella….” ). Doing a few pages of exercises will familiarize yourself so that teaching is a breeze. We recommend Raymond Murphy’s Essential Grammar in intermediate. It might even help you get an A on your next test (WINNING).
  • Pay attention to teachers in your current classes. See how they speak, move around, write on the board, and answer questions. Every teacher has a different style of teaching, and now is your time to figure yours out. Start generating a style that you want to emulate in your future classes.
  • Pick a grammar exercise and TEACH it. You can start by yourself, but teaching a friend (or many!) will skyrocket your speaking, delivery, and presentation skills. Also, it’ll open your eyes to how much fun teaching can be!
  • Record yourself. One of the fastest ways to improve your teaching and speaking skills is to record yourself doing so. Seeing how you look, stand, and speak can help you to decide where you want to improve. Don’t forget to look into the lens (don’t watch yourself) and smile!

 

2. SPEAK WITH THE PROS

Already in university? Great! There are lots of options to ready yourself for teaching while on campus.

  • Pop into your student and career services offices and book an appointment to speak with a professional. It’s their job to help you find a job, and they’ll be happy to show you where and how to get started.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for your campus’ next Job Fair. You’ll usually find one or two teaching English stands that you can visit, most with volunteers who have taught abroad themselves.
  • Ask your friends if they know someone who has taught abroad. Maybe someone has a friend of the family or older sibling who has gone. Offer to buy them a coffee and ask all the burning questions you’ve got. Personal experiences from others can generate excitement and knock back that anxiety, so be sure to ask them what they liked most about their time!
  • Check out online discussion boards. We love sites like BBC English and The Guardian, but you can find informal conversation boards where teachers are happy to answer any questions about teaching overseas. These sites will really help you when you start your TEFL course! Just plug your keywords you’re your browser’s search bar and see what pops up.
  • Check out YouTube videos from English First (EF). They have a wealth of knowledge from real teachers in everything from teaching to life in a new country. Even better, they are real people who make you feel supported and informed, and who doesn’t want that in life?

 

3. RESEARCH BEFORE BUYING

So, you’ve read all up on our previous articles and you know that an English teaching certificate is the best way to start teaching abroad. Amazing!

  • Before you break out that credit card and buy a course, make sure you research which provider offers a certificate that is globally recognized.
  • Know the difference between TEFL, TOEFL, and CELTA certificates. Choose the one that is best suited for your needs (and your wallet!)
  • Consider the difference in prices versus quality of the coursework. You should book a course that offers at least 100 hours of coursework, as well as 10+ hours of live practice teaching. It may sound like a lot, but the work is generally straightforward, and most teachers-in-training finish their year-long course load within the first 3-6 months.
  • Take the practicum (live teaching hours) slow and be sure to network with ESL instructors in your city. They might have tips for you that you can use abroad.

Have more questions? That’s awesome! Check EF English First’s YouTube channel and see if we’ve got answers, or comment below. We can’t wait to hear from you!

 

Are you ready?

Travel, teach, and train with EF English First