The age, language level, and motivation of the students in your classroom will vary depending on a range of factors, including the type of school you work for and the location. You could end up teaching business executives, workers from the local tourist sector, or university students. For the large number of teachers who work in government-run schools, your daily class will be young learners aged anywhere from five to sixteen. Each type of class has its own characteristics and most teachers develop a preference to a certain age or language level after a while. Whatever type of classroom you think you might prefer, a TEFL certification course will prepare you perfectly for your first day.
Will my TEFL class contain adults?
Teaching adults of different ages and backgrounds is a common occurrence for many TEFL qualified teachers. In regions such as Europe and Latin America it is generally difficult to land a job in a government-run school due to local regulations, which means that the majority of jobs in these areas are in private language centers. Many of these put on classes within their own premises, although some also provide off-site teaching for local businesses such as offices and hotels etc. In this environment, your students could be from many different walks of life, such as those working in the tourism industry, for cross-border businesses, or individuals who want to learn English for social reasons or simply for a better understanding of English language arts and culture. When teaching adults of any background it is worth remembering that they will usually have other work or study commitments which means your classes will tend to be during the evenings or at weekends.
Will my TEFL class contain young learners?
In certain parts of the world there is a much larger chance that you will teach young learners. In South Korea and Japan, for example, there are major government-backed recruitment schemes that bring in thousands of foreign teachers to work within the public school system. You will also find similar programs on a smaller scale in Spain, France, and Chile. Another situation where you might find yourself teaching young learners is at English language summer camps. These camps pop up in many countries in Europe and Asia and can provide a great experience for teachers looking for a shorter term commitment. Many private language schools worldwide also provide lessons for children who want to improve their English outside of school hours. In some cases this could involve preparing students to take English language college entrance examinations, such as TOEFL.
What about extra private tutoring on the side?
For most TEFL qualified teachers the everyday workplace will be either a government-run school or a private language center, although many also choose to take on some private tutoring in their freetime. If you choose to go down this route you get to pick what type of students you teach, how many you take on, and even how much to charge them. The additional income generated from these extra students can make a big difference to your quality of life and the amount you are able to put away for further travel or to pay off debts etc.