After 10 weeks of work...I finally finished CIEE’s TEFL certification course! It’s done...I’m done!
You might be in the process of getting your TEFL certification, too...or maybe you’re starting to consider it.
I’m here to tell you that it completely worth it! (No, CIEE did not pay me to tell you this)
I’d like to share some of my reflections on the course with you, so that you can decide whether getting the certification really is the right decision for you.
Why I chose to get certified
I am teaching English in Spain starting this fall...but I did not major in education in college. The main reason I chose to get TEFL certified through CIEE is because I felt I needed a more solid background in teaching.
So the good thing is, you don’t have to have a background in education to teach English in Spain!
The bad thing is, you don’t have to have a background in education to teach English in Spain…
...Just kidding, I don't think it's actually a bad thing. You can be a great teacher whether you majored in education or not...I personally think it is a good thing that anyone from any major can teach overseas because it brings in so many unique experiences and perspectives into the classroom.
...But I also know that teaching is an important job with its own unique challenges, and requires specific skills such as lesson planning and classroom management.
And that’s where CIEE’s TEFL certification comes in to save the day!!
The course covers lesson planning, classroom management, and other practical skills useful in the classroom. I have finished the course feeling a bit more confident about my abilities as a teacher, and more prepared to enter the classroom.
The course itself is 150 hours. It includes 130 hours of instruction on topics such as the history, theory, and strategies behind teaching English as a foreign language. The other 20 hours are spent on what is called a practicum, in which you either observe or teach in a real-life class!
The course is divided into 10 Modules, to be completed over 10 weeks. It is designed so that you can complete one module per week. With each module, you have a live tutorial, a graded assignment, and quizzes over each unit. The graded assignments allow you to practice what you have learned over the course of the week…(such as through designing a lesson plan or an activity for an EFL class). It’s great hands-on experience for those that do not have experience with lesson planning (cough, cough...me).
Some Reflections/Advice for the course
Start on the practicum EARLY
In this course, you will be responsible for finding a place to complete your practicum. Don’t worry, it’s not as intimidating as it seems, and CIEE has resources to point you in the right direction. But you have to contact the organization and set up the practicum. My advice is to start looking for a place as soon as the course starts. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to complete the required 20 hours, rather than trying to squeeze them in all at the end.
Expect a lot of collaboration and interaction with your peers
I did not expect the amount of interaction and collaboration I had with my classmates during this course. Each assignment is peer reviewed...meaning a fellow classmate reads over your assignment and offers some constructive feedback. Also, there is a tutorial once a week, where you meet up with your tutor and classmates through a live video chat. If I am being totally honest...I feel super awkward during video calls, like though Facetime and Skype...so the idea of live video chats with people I didn’t know was downright terrifying! However, my peers were always very helpful and insightful. Our tutor was also fantastic, and facilitated lively and interesting class discussions. I think these tutorials were one of the most beneficial parts of the course.
It’ll keep you busy!
CIEE says that the course is the equivalent of 12-15 hours per week. While I didn’t keep track of the amount of hours I spent each week on course, I’d guess that it was somewhere in between there. My last blog post was in May if that tells you anything, haha;) It really depended on the week and what else I had going on. Also, I tend to work slower and take my time with assignments, so this could vary from person to person.
It's worth it!
This course opened my eyes to the world of TEFL, and prepared me in several ways that I was not previously. While I do not have a degree in education, I can say that I do feel more prepared to teach English in Spain this year. The course provides you with plenty of practice, guidance, and resources to help you succeed in the classroom! In the end, the course was well worth the time and effort!