I knew I had always wanted to teach and live abroad one day, and was thrilled (not to mention nervous) when I finally took the plunge to start my journey to become a certified English teacher.
While travelling, I had met a girl Nicole, who had just finished her time abroad teaching in South Korea. Honestly, I didn’t even know that many people went there. I was so intrigued about her time abroad that I spent many months doing research on the country. South Korea seemed like such a beautiful and unique place – I knew instantly that Seoul is where I wanted to end up. Though some countries don’t require an official TEFL certification, South Korea has stricter requirements as it is becoming an increasingly competitive country to teach English in. I chose to get my 150-hour TEFL certification through CIEE.
Why? Here are a few reasons:
1. CIEE’s TEFL certification is accredited by the World TEFL Accrediting Commission – It was important for me to ensure I invested in a TEFL certification that had been fully vetted and that would be recognized worldwide so that I could work in any country I chose.
2. Getting certified from home – I had a full work load with my full-time job, weekly dance rehearsals in Boston, Korean language classes, and not to mention having a regular social life. I needed to find a program that was both flexible and available completely online. I loved being able to read through the modules during my lunch breaks, or use my phone to participate in course discussions while waiting for rehearsals to start.
3. A fast, yet organized and efficient process - I wanted to send in my application to teach in South Korea as soon as possible due to the program’s competitive nature. CIEE’s online TEFL certification only took 11 weeks so I was able to finish the course and my practicum with plenty of time to prepare my application afterwards. I was given the syllabus ahead of time so I could see everything that was being covered and when. Details for each assignment such as due dates were also given ahead of time. This allowed me to easily manage my schedule and stay on track.
4. A close-knit community - Though my classmates were in various places throughout the globe, we all became very familiar during the 11 weeks. It was nice knowing that 10 others shared the same doubts, fears, and excitement that come from wanting to teach for the first time. My classmates and I would review the material together with our tutor, share ideas and stories from our practicum, and ask any questions we had about all things TEFL and life as an English teacher. These weekly tutorials really helped me feel at ease. Funnily enough, my tutor happened to be in the same city as me! I still keep in touch with some classmates as well; it is a great way to expand my network. We happily share lesson plan ideas with each other too!
Upon registering for the course, a dedicated staff member from CIEE reached out to me, and provided me with login information and a link to the Canvas website. Canvas is a user-friendly online platform where the TEFL modules are housed. From the Canvas site, I was able to participate in weekly discussions, check my progress and grades for each assignment, message my instructor, and even submit assignments. Weekly readings and assignments would take anywhere from 10-20 hours a week. We had weekly scheduled tutorials with our expert tutor who served as our guide throughout the course. We had to complete 130 hours of online coursework, during which I decided to also start the 20-hour practicum requirement. After completing all assignments and passing my final exam, CIEE sent me an official TEFL certificate in the mail. It was such an exciting day! From that day I was certified to teach in my own community, online, or at an institution abroad!
As a first-time teacher, I am glad I decided to go with CIEE. Their comprehensive course covered everything from classroom management, current effective teaching methodologies, guides for how to teach grammar, and how to develop intercultural competency. I noticed a dramatic difference in my confidence levels from the beginning of the course until the end. Believe it or not, once the course finished I was left feeling like I could truly walk into a classroom the next day! Getting the in-class experience was instrumental in helping me grasp the concepts from the modules and put them into practice.
I am happy to share that I am writing this post a year after my certification from an elementary school in Seoul, South Korea! It has been a tremendous ride, and thanks to CIEE’s TEFL certificate, and their dedicated staff, I was able to fulfill a lifelong dream. The TEFL certificate never expires so I’ll be able to teach for as long as I please! There is no age limit or special requirements to get TEFL certified, other than being fluent in English! This certification process was the perfect fit for me, and if you’re hoping to learn more about teaching, or have dreams to live abroad, then this certification is the perfect fit for you too.