People choose to pursue TEFL certification for many reasons. The idea of being able to travel the world while teaching is an attractive incentive. Others may be making a career change, while some are looking for an additional side gig. Whatever your reason is, there are things to consider before entering the world of TEFL certified.
- But I speak English!
Being a native speaker of English or English speaker is not always enough to get hired as an English teacher or another language service professional. Getting TEFL certified gives you a competitive advantage. It informs potential employers that you understand the complexities of language including grammar, syntax, phonetics and you have knowledge of techniques and methods to effectively teach English to a diverse set of learners.
2. Am I good enough?
Acquiring the skills and knowledge to give you a competitive edge will present you with challenges. Suddenly the excitement of getting TEFL certified is replaced with anxiety. You will learn new terminology and be asked to create lessons and complete assignments applying brand new concepts. You may doubt your work or experience confusion and frustration. Many seasoned professionals started out as novices just like you. Don’t be too hard on yourself or give up. One day your experience will help someone just starting out!
3. I’m so confused!
If you become overwhelmed by the work or do not know how to begin an assignment or task for the course, re-read the instructions carefully, review course content and any models or examples provided. Many TEFL certification programs will have tutors who will guide you along your certification journey. Other programs will have a support team where you can submit your inquiries. The internet has a wealth of information for you to self-study and supplement your knowledge as you complete your course. Start being comfortable finding answers on your own. You are not expected to know everything so don’t try to submit a perfect assignment or task. Making mistakes is how you learn!
4. I want a gold medal!
Remember that the end goal of getting TEFL certified is to provide you with new skills and knowledge so that you can succeed and connect with your learners. Many people will focus on getting good marks and lose sight of the process and purpose. Of course, you want to do well, but as you work through your course, reflect on what you are learning and why the information is relevant to a language learning context and your future learners.
5. Why don’t you understand?
While you are getting TEFL certified to teach English or provide other language services, don’t forget the human connection. If you felt anxiety and frustration learning new terminology and skills while completing your certification course, imagine how your future learners will feel learning English. Don’t forget what it was like to learn something new. How you teach and connect with your learners is just as important as what you teach.
6. Be greedy!
Getting TEFL certified alone does not guarantee your success. Don’t stop researching current trends in teaching, TEFL, language learning etc. “Knowledge is power” is not just a cliche; it is reality. Stay competitive and relevant by building upon your skills and knowledge acquired during your TEFL certification program.
7. The world is my home!
Getting TEFL certified will provide you with opportunities to be employed all over the world! If you are curious about what it would be like to live in another country but worry about what you will do for work, your TEFL certificate can make it possible for you to work in schools, language institutes, companies or other organizations seeking TEFL certified professionals.
8. Sure, I can help you!
You can teach a variety of people and ages. Getting TEFL certified allows you to teach young learners, young adults, business professionals, medical professionals and just about any other group of learners you can think of.
9. I want to be a …
TEFL certification can lead to other careers. While you may start out teaching abroad or locally to a particular set of learners, your career path may lead you to other professions. If you are interested in becoming a Senior/Lead Teacher, Coordinator, Director of Studies/Academic Director, or pursuing administrative roles, being TEFL certified is a great start.
10. I want more!
TEFL certification may lead you to pursue other certification and studies. Many people who obtain their TEFL certificates and spend a few years teaching discover that they would like to continue developing skills and acquiring knowledge related to TEFL. It is not uncommon for TEFL certified teachers to later pursue the DELTA, Trinity Diploma in TESOL, MA TESOL, MA Linguistics or other certificate and degree programs. Taking your studies to the next level also takes your opportunities to the next level. If you are interested in working in a University or becoming a Teacher Trainer, getting TEFL certified can be the first step to paving a new career path.
Getting TEFL certified is more than a piece of paper you get at the end of a course. It is the key that opens the global door providing life-changing
experiences for you and for the people you will meet, teach and interact with.