Obtaining TEFL training was much more difficult than I thought it would be. Prior to taking the course I heard many TEFL courses were easy, simple... ineffective. I took mine through CIEE and was surprised how advanced it was. It was not easy and I’m glad it wasn’t. My TEFL course prepared me for life as an ESL teacher and I’m extremely thankful that I was required to obtain a certificate. This article explains the benefits of getting a TEFL certificate. Before deciding to teach abroad it had been a couple years since I was in school. In college my degree was in History. I became a very proficient writer and learned how to properly cite my work, but I didn’t learn much about grammar. I was required to take three English courses to obtain my degree. One was a basic-level English course, a speaking course, and a creative writing course. Grammar was barely touched in any. So my point is that, like many others, I didn’t know grammar that well. Grammar tends to be something we just know how to do rather that the breakdown of it all. In short, we know what’s right and wrong but we can’t say exactly why. My TEFL course was a great resource for me to actually learn grammar. It was extremely important to do so because I now teach many higher level classes which cover many advanced grammar forms.
While there isn’t much grammar in the younger levels of ESL teaching, TEFL was still crucial in preparing me. I teach various age ranges and at times it can be hard to switch between the strategies that work best for each age group. Some days I go from a upper level class of students ranging from 13-14 years old to a preschool class of ages 5-6 years old. The jump is drastic and my TEFL training helped me learn how to switch teaching skills and what aspects to focus on.
During my TEFL course I met many other teachers online. It was really cool to meet like-minded individuals who were also preparing for a life changing experience. It was a great community to bounce ideas off of and it felt like a collective effort to learn how to become an ESL teacher. My TEFL training also helped me learn the differences in culture and how critical it is to know what type you’re going into. I teach in Vietnam where they value a more indirect method of communication compared to the United States’s more direct method. It can often be seen as rude to correct peers in front of others. I learned before coming here to be mindful of how I communicate. I became familiar with many customs and cultural aspects about Vietnam before arriving which I’m extremely grateful to have known.
Probably the most amazing thing about having a TEFL is your ability to find work anywhere in the world. Armed with a TEFL you can go live just about anywhere in the world. Today there are so many countries working towards building a more English proficient population and many of them pay well compared to the cost of living. My wages here in Hanoi are outstanding when compared to the cost of living. This has allowed me to save quite a lot of money. There are online teaching opportunities to those who have a TEFL certificate. My contract in Hanoi is coming to an end and I’m planning on travelling around Southeast Asia while working as an online teacher. It’s a great way to work remote and travel.
In conclusion, the TEFL course can be challenging at points but is worth the effort. Not only will it prepare you to be a amazing EFL Teacher but it makes life easier living abroad. It gives you endless work opportunities and the ability for life-changing experiences that comes with it.