It is not unusual for fully qualified teachers to leave their home country and pursue a new life working as an English language teacher abroad. For many newly qualified teachers it can be difficult to find a suitable job without experience, so spending some time teaching EFL abroad is a great way to get their career started. For others with plenty of previous experience, heading overseas can be a great way to find a new challenge and to leave the familiar classroom routine behind. Whatever the reason for heading overseas, teachers are in a great position as they can build their knowledge and skills, gain classroom experience, and greatly increase their future employability, all while enjoying a life of travel and adventure.
Do I really need a TEFL certificate as a qualified teacher?
Even a small amount of online research will soon reveal that a large percentage of international employers expect applicants for their vacant teaching positions to hold a TEFL qualification, including fully certified teachers. Despite having qualified as a standard teacher, there are many reasons why a TEFL certification is also required for language teaching positions. Teaching in a English language class is different in many ways from the type of teaching you are already familiar with and more specific skills and knowledge are necessary if you want to give your potential students the best opportunities for progression.
What will a TEFL certificate course teach me?
Teaching in a school where all the students are native or fluent English speakers would negate the need for a TEFL certification. However, this is generally not the case for 99% of people who head overseas to teach. For the vast majority of teaching jobs you will be working with non-native English speakers who are often at the early stages of their English language education. In order to be successful in this unfamiliar classroom environment you will need to learn many different skills that you won’t have had to learn in your former teaching role.
Within a TEFL classroom you will need the specific skills required to bring the best out of your students. During your TEFL course you will learn about different teaching methodologies, testing strategies, grammar subjects, and all the techniques and exercises needed to teach your lessons effectively.
Will a TEFL certificate help me through the recruitment process?
Having earned a general teaching qualification you will have the potential to secure many of the best jobs available in the TEFL world. However, it is generally true that most sought after employers will only interview candidates that can also include a TEFL qualification on their CV/resume. If you can offer previous teaching experience on top of a TEFL certificate you should have no trouble landing a good quality job in the country of your choice.
Many TEFL graduates find that their new teaching knowledge is invaluable before they even set foot in the classroom. During the interview process your potential employers will want to know about your personal approach to teaching non-native English speakers in an unfamiliar environment, something that might be difficult to answer with confidence for anyone without the necessary TEFL training. In fact, many TEFL qualified teachers with no experience do better in this situation than experienced teachers with no specific EFL knowledge. The completion of a proper TEFL certification course will allow you to demonstrate to potential employers that you have all the knowledge and skills necessary to give their students the level of instruction they deserve.