After 5 years working in corporate I could no longer ignore my love for travel and adventure. I discovered CIEE’s Teach In Thailand program through a former colleague and knew that pursuing a career in international education was the perfect next step. However, I knew nothing about teaching, and if there is one thing I learned in corporate “fake it until you make it” only gets you so far. I decided to enroll in CIEE’s TEFL certification course to prepare for my new career.
1. You’ll immediately have the respect of your colleagues and community. While a TEFL certification is not required to teach in Thailand, your extra effort to prepare yourself to teach will not go unnoticed. Your TEFL knowledge will make you an excellent resource for those who are struggling with culture shock from teaching abroad. More importantly, the information will better prepare you for the road ahead and give you peace of mind so you can focus on enjoying your new home over what lesson plan will come next.
2. Being a native English speaker doesn’t translate to being a good teacher. Don’t get me wrong, accuracy is important, but so is understanding who you are teaching. The TEFL certification prepares you to examine your students’ motivations for wanting to learn English. When you understand how they want to apply their English skills, you can develop a framework that best meets their goals. The TEFL course will show you how to build lessons that are relevant, challenging, and interesting. In Thailand half of your job is to teach and the other half is to entertain. That means you have to be creative and make your lessons useful and fun. TEFL training prepares you to create lessons that are practical and entertaining! Believe me, you do not want a room full of 25 bored 6 year olds.
3. Having a TEFL certification means more opportunities, and more opportunities means more money. Like me, you may decide to stay abroad a little longer than originally planned. My TEFL certification expands my teaching opportunities to other countries, and it qualifies me for more money. More money = more traveling. As I ramp up my international job hunt, many of the positions I find require a TEFL certification. While I now have a year of experience teaching young learners, the TEFL course prepared me to teach different ages and English proficiencies. My ability to teach different kinds of learners strengthens my job applications. Additionally, online teaching has become a popular trend as it gives you the mobility of working anywhere in the world. Trendy job = saturated candidate pool. Having a TEFL will boost your candidacy when applying to online teaching jobs (some platforms require it).
4. Your future non-teaching jobs will value your TEFL certification. Employers love candidates with international experience. It proves you are capable of succeeding in a variety of environments. Pursuing a certification shows your passion and commitment to mastering a new skill. As a former recruiter, I appreciated candidates who had a diverse set of skills to bring to the table. Teaching skills can translate to any job. Employers care deeply about training and development, and your TEFL certification teaches you an important framework for understanding the learning process. You may be asked to lead a training program or coach a new employee. During TEFL training you are taught that people have different kinds of learning styles. You can use your TEFL knowledge to create a tailored program that will best benefit your new colleague and impress your employer.
5. Your TEFL certification lasts forever and always gives you a plan B! You may decide to head back to your home country and pursue a non-teaching career at some point. If corporate culture turns out to be too much fluorescent lighting and Keurig coffee, having your TEFL certification allows you to pull the ripcord and land your next teaching career abroad. If you crave a life of travel, adventure, and the unknown, then having your TEFL certificate can help you achieve that dream.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain