You’ve finished university, taken the obligatory graduation photographs, but, unfortunately, you don’t have a job lined up to go along with your shiny new certificate. Hold your horses before you decide to beg the local supermarket for your job back. You’re a native or native-level speaker of English right? You do realize that there are millions of people around the world hoping to speak the language just…like…you, right? Well, they’re willing to pay for the privilege to learn from you too.
Now, being able to speak a language doesn’t mean you can teach it well. That’s where the TEFL course (which stands for teaching English as a foreign language) comes in. During the course, you’ll revise many of those pesky grammatical rules in English, learn proven techniques for captivating your students and find out how to make learning English fun over the course of just a few weeks. Once you’ve secured the certificate from Tefl Org or any other TEFL institution, you’ll be a highly-employable graduate that hardly any country will turn down.
Does that sound good? Here are 6 signs that teaching English as a foreign language is your true calling right now.
1. There’s no stopping your wanderlust
The perennial issue with being a student is never having enough cash to travel. However, with a TEFL qualification, you can combine your passion for traveling and teaching English abroad with a real job. Don’t be fooled into thinking that teaching English is an easy path, however. You’ll have real responsibilities, deadlines to meet, homework to mark and lessons to plan. However, that won’t sound half as bad if you can do it in a place with sensational beaches such as Thailand, explore cuisine and culture in China and Japan, or learn how to order beer in Spain’s Costa del Sol.
2. You’re desperate to make up for that failure of a year abroad or pick up a new language
If you’ve studied Spanish for almost a decade of your life now and you still don’t speak it fluently, you’re doing something wrong. What you really need is a complete immersion in the country in which the language is spoken and the only way you’re going to achieve that is by making a small town or city with a largely monolingual local population your new home. You’ll be forced to use the language and won’t be able to take the easy way out by hanging around with a bunch of expat friends. This is doubly so if you decide to combine teaching with a homestay whereby you live with locals. For those of you who have been playing Duolingo for a year but have barely made progress, the same rule applies. Interacting with native speakers is key to developing fluency. Of course, whilst at school, or teaching privately, you’ll be required to communicate in English. However, outside of that, you’ll find a wealth of opportunities to practice the target language.
3. You have no plans to settle down
At 21, the idea of marriage, owning a home or having kids are probably still distant dreams, completely unimaginable, or quite possibly nausea-inducing. In the future, opportunities to take extended time off to travel will be few and far between, so during this transition from student-life to hardcore “adulting,” why not head abroad to teach English and pick up some useful new skills, great new memories and Instagram photographs along the way?
4. You’re struggling to get a job
The dreaded rejection email is something we all have to deal with at some point, irrespective of how intelligent or qualified we might be. When you’re a graduate, the job market can be even tougher as the classic conundrum inexperienced job-seekers face comes to the fore: Companies will state that they seek candidates with experience, but you can’t get experience if no one will give you a job. Rather than wallowing in self-pity, take advantage of the plethora of TEFL job opportunities available around the globe and gain some valuable and transferable skills in the process.
TEFL teachers often say that their confidence in public speaking and making presentation improved as a result of teaching and this is a critical skill in many careers both inside and outside of teaching, particularly when it comes to teaching English online. Perhaps this is just an interim job for you — you don’t have to commit to a lifetime of teaching. However, you never know, you might fall in love with it and never look back.
5. After three or four years of university, you’re still as shy as can be
Part of the issue with shyness is feeling that you have nothing remarkable to share, or struggling to connect with the interests of others. Teaching English as a foreign language abroad will give you have plenty of unique experiences to share at the next gathering with your friends. When it comes to meeting new people, the experience of living abroad and teaching English is something that you might share, or your knowledge (or lack thereof) of a person’s culture or country of origin might present plenty of opportunities to bond. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to connect with people and how enthralled they will be hearing your experiences, once you’ve taught English abroad.
6. You’re still a student at heart
If the idea of more studying doesn’t put you off entirely, completing the TEFL course is an excellent way to create new opportunities for yourself. Naturally, it is less intensive than your degree course would have been, less time-consuming and you can even make new friends if you opt for classroom-based versions. The studying doesn’t end at the course, as teachers will still need to prepare for lessons. However, the studying that accompanies lesson-planning is much different since it isn’t followed by exams at the end. Once you have gained some experience teaching English, you might even decide that teaching is for you. At that point, you can return to your country and undertake a program to obtain qualified teacher status, enabling you to teach at schools.
Also, read this TEFL guide to help you get started on your very own journey teaching English abroad.