6 reasons why I chose to get TEFL certified when it wasn't required

Authored by:
Cyd M.

Cyd M.


Have you ever heard the story about the ant and the grasshopper? The story where the ant saves food during the whole year to prepare for winter while the grasshopper plays and doesn’t prepare. I think we’ve all heard this story, but if you have not, I’ll give you a spoiler. At the end when winter comes the ant has food and the grasshopper doesn’t and regrets not preparing himself for the future. Well this children’s fable is very much one of the reasons I decided to get TEFL certified even when it wasn’t required for my placement abroad. 

When applying to teach abroad in Spain, I could see it was not required to be TEFL certified. You could get accepted and be on your way to start an adventure without it. So why did I even get certified and spend time and money when it wasn’t required? Simple. Just like the ant, I decided to prepare myself for the future.

Here are the top 6 reasons why I decided to get TEFL certified:


  1. No formal teaching experience

Just like me, if you didn’t study education or a related field it can be a bit intimidating to move overseas and teach without having any previous experience. Before taking TEFL, I had done a good amount of volunteer work teaching English and felt ok with stepping in and helping in a classroom, but I knew I wanted to learn more. I knew that if I wanted to give my future students the best education they could get and impress my future school; I had to become TEFL certified. I assumed this was going to be an intensive course teaching me how to teach English as a foreign language,  and without a doubt it surely did!

  1. Help me gain confidence

I wasn’t as confident with the idea of teaching abroad before getting TEFL certified.. I kept asking myself, how is this optional and not required? This should be required for anyone who wants to teach English abroad. I learned so much and was able to put a name to so many concepts, from knowing what CLT is, to learning efficient ways to teach vocabulary, to feeling confident and excited writing a lesson plan. TEFL gave me the knowledge, power, and boost I needed to feel more confident in my skills.  


  1. Give the best opportunity to my future students

As I was considering getting TEFL certified, something I thought about was my future students. I imagined them eager to learn and constantly looking up to their teacher for all the answers. I knew that I wanted to give my learners the best chance to succeed. To do that, I had to be the best auxiliar (Language and Culture Assistant in Spain) I could be. Taking TEFL helped me not only to earn a certification but also how to be a successful English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher for my students.

  1. A different point of view

As a daughter of two teachers I have a pretty good understanding of the work that goes into planning and giving a class, but as I was talking to my parents about teaching in Spain I had an epiphany. I realized that the only teaching experience I had was in my own culture. I needed a different point of view. I wanted to learn how teaching dynamics changed depending the country and most importantly how to take into consideration learners culture when teaching. Nevertheless, CIEE TEFL  did not disappoint. There was a complete module dedicated to this and the tutors not only talked about how teaching methods and expectations change in one country, they talk about how teaching in US is different from Spain and how teaching in Spain is different in China and other countries.

  1. All online and at my own time

The CIEE TEFL certification is completely online and you can do the work at the hours you prefer, which I found very convenient. When deciding to get TEFL certified, I was working from 8:00am-4:30pm, so I usually did my work from 7-9 every day. It’s no secret that studying online gives you a more comfortable learning environment. I could do my course work from 7-9 or I could do it at whatever time was more convenient for me. I loved studying in pajamas!

  1.  Accredited lifetime certification accepted worldwide

Key words: lifetime and worldwide. The TEFL certification is a “lifetime certification” LIFETIME! This means it does not expire, you don’t have to take it again and it is a learning experience you can carry with you forever. This was a very convincing part for me. “Accepted worldwide”! I’ve seen of schools from Thailand to South Korea looking for teachers and it specifically requests that applicants have a TEFL certification.This is when I realized the certification is not only accepted all over the world, but its also recognized worldwide.


As you can see there were many reasons as to why I decided to get certified even when it wasn’t required and without a doubt that was the best decision I ever made. Investing my time, effort and money into a certification that doesn’t expire and is accepted worldwide was a good investment. Just like the ant in the story, I was preparing myself for the future. Now, there is only one question to be asked, are you an ant or a grasshopper?


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