Although it is natural to be a little apprehensive before taking a TEFL/TESOL course, there is no need to get overly anxious or concerned. As long as you are enthusiastic, prepared to put in the hours and are open to new ideas, you should have no problem successfully completing the training. However, there are a few things you can do in the run up to your training course to ensure that it is a smooth process that ends with that all important certificate in your hand.
Should I plan a schedule for my TEFL studies?
If you take an online course, you will be able to set your own amount of study hours and choose when you do them. In this case, it is important to plan a study schedule and keep to it if you want to complete the course in the time frame you need. Write up a calendar with weekly goals that you can realistically stick to. Don’t forget that your TEFL course is an investment in your future that promises a new career, adventure and excitement, so don’t let it slip away due to poor organization or a lack of commitment.
If you have chosen an intensive in-class course, you need to be prepared to miss out on time with friends and family, and to spend weekends and/or evenings studying your course materials. Just tell yourself that it is only a one-month commitment that will be more than worth it once you start your new career teaching English abroad.
Should I review English grammar rules before my TEFL course?
Just uttering the phrase ‘English Grammar’ is enough to cause mass panic among many classes of TEFL trainees. Most native English speakers know the main grammar rules but explaining them to others is a whole different thing. The fact is, teaching English grammar is an unavoidable part of being an English language teacher and you will need to know what you are talking about when you start work in your own classroom. However, there is no need to panic as a large part of any good TEFL training course is dedicated to explaining the ins and outs of the language and how to teach it to your students. If you want to get a head start on this important part of the course, it is a great idea to read up on the basics of English grammar before you start.
Will I get any pre-TEFL course materials?
You can also get a head start on your training by reviewing any pre-course materials that are available from your provider. Many courses offer some guidelines and reading materials that you can look over in advance to gain confidence in what you will be learning. If your chosen course doesn’t provide any pre-course materials or you would like to know more about the subject than you have received, take a look online as there are a huge amount of useful resources out there. You can read articles and blogs, watch YouTube videos and listen to podcasts that cover all sorts of topics relating to your course. Even a small amount of time doing some pre-course research can really help to set you up in knowledge and confidence.
Will I need any equipment for my TEFL course?
Depending on the format of the course, you will probably only need a notebook and a pen to get started, but it is worth checking in advance to ensure you have everything you need. Some in-class courses may require you to bring your own laptop and maybe some stationary or other classroom aids. Make sure you check with the provider and read the small print to avoid any mishaps.
Should I practice public speaking before my TEFL course?
Speaking in front of a group of students can be a scary prospect for some trainees. However, as with grammar, by the time you have your own class to teach you will have learnt all the skills you need to confidently deliver your lessons. However, before the course it can really help to practice speaking in front of an audience, be it your family, friends or work colleagues. Practicing things like voice projection and making eye contact should go some way to reducing the nerves that you might feel when you step into the class on your first day.
Should I join online TEFL groups?
During your pre-course online research you are likely to come across TEFL groups where people share their experiences and give tips and advice for new trainees. By joining these groups you will also find useful reviews of different courses and you might even find someone who you can share your experience with either online or in person. Many of these groups have information on job hunting as well, so you can start to look into where you might want to live and work once you have completed the course.
Finally, just relax!
Try not to be overwhelmed by all the information and contradictory stories you might find online, just stay calm and be genuinely excited by the adventure that awaits you. Yes, a TEFL course is a serious qualification that can open doors to employment all over the world, but it should also be a fun and interesting experience that you will remember for a long time to come. Go into it with a positive and relaxed attitude and you should find that you sail through the training with flying colors.