A TEFL is probably something which you’ve never considered doing before so this blog will hopefully serve to convince you to consider it. For those who are unaware, a TEFL is a Teaching English as a Foreign Language course which provides you with a certificate which allows you to teach English to non-English speakers. I did my TEFL course in July of 2016 at TEFL Iberia in Barcelona, a school I would highly recommend (I blogged my entire TEFL experience which you can check out here!). I decided to do mine in another country (more specifically in the country where I knew I wanted to teach) just so I was able to get some experience teaching people who I would be teaching in the future.
So, I just thought I would write this blog to tell you guys what I got out of the TEFL course and why you should definitely do one too:
- Awareness of your mother tongue (and other languages): For a lot of of people, we glide through life just being blissfully unaware of how our own language actually functions. Why do we sometimes use ‘the’ in front of some nouns and not others? What’s the difference between ‘a’ and ‘an’? What’s the difference between ‘its’ and ‘it’s’? A TEFL course will take you on a massive linguistic learning curb of your own language, which I found incredibly interesting.
- You can do them all over Europe: I didn’t want to label this point as “An excuse for a holiday” because doing an intensive TEFL course is just that, intensive. Mine was 10am-6pm Monday-Friday so it was far from a holiday. However, it does allow you to travel to a new city in a different country and experience life in that city for around a month, a little taste so to speak. I was very lucky as Barcelona turned out to be a great city to live and study in. Another reason I chose Spain in general was because I study Spanish back in the UK and it was another opportunity to improve my language skills, and it could be for you too.
- Meeting new people: If you do your course in summer, your course will no doubt be a busy one. I did mine in July and there was 9 or 10 of us in total, so I had the chance to meet loads of new people from all over; England, Spain, America etc.! (Hey guys if you’re reading!) It’s a great opportunity to meet and get to know people from all over, from all walks of life!
- Allows you to travel afterwards: Us English speakers are very lucky. English as a Second Language (ESL) is in great demand all over the world. Having a TEFL course (and especially a degree on top of that) opens a lot of international doors for you in terms of working or volunteering abroad. I’m definitely one of those people who can not see my life being spent in the U.K. full time, so it gives you that ticket out even if you want to spend the summer teaching in another country. And that’s what I’m doing this summer, using my TEFL to go and volunteer in Thailand for a month (Find out more about that here!)
- Transferable Skills / CV Booster: This is a term which comes up a lot (I think anyway). If you’ve done a TEFL, it shows to employers a lot of skills, not just that you can teach. It shows that you work well under pressure, you’re not afraid to put well outside of your comfort zone, it shows great communication skills, high levels of initiative and the list continues. I’ve been using my TEFL experience on a lot of job applications recently, especially when they ask “Tell us a time when you’ve had to think on your feet” and I’ve just told one story of when a class didn’t go to plan at all.
- Helpful when you’re a bit low on cash: If you’re a bit low on cash, a TEFL is a great thing to have and to use when you need it. I’m sure in your university city there are loads of international students who are looking for some one-on-one tuition with a native speaker. If you’re not at university, and just need some extra cash, there are always people look to improve their language skills
Of course, I’m not forgetting that fact that this is not exactly the cheapest way to spend your summer as TEFL courses come in at around £1,400 depending on the school (but it is possible to get them for cheaper if you reserve your place in advance). However, it doesn’t negate the fact that it’s an incredibly rewarding and worthwhile experience which will equip you for your future.
I’ve left the link for the school that I did mine at, and which was incredible in terms of communication, support etc. at the top of this blog. Feel free to comment on this blog if you want any advice!
See ya x