TEFL: Things to Consider Prior to Accepting Jobs: Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Becoming an English Teacher
It sounds too good to be true. You jet off to some distant and exotic land, armed with nothing but your backpack and a few teaching guides. But what should you consider before buying your ticket? Here are five things to think about before setting off for a new life abroad.
Do You Have Enough Money for the Teaching Life?
No matter how far you decide to travel to escape your present life, you can never escape from one thing: money. People considering teaching English are swamped with promises of cheap living expenses, but do your research first.
Although it may seem cheap on the face of it, as a tourist you may have to pay above the odds for things like accommodation in some countries, which could come as a nasty surprise. Make sure you have some savings to fall back on just in case.
Do You Want to Teach English in a City or the Country?
There are so many considerations to make when thinking about a place to teach, but perhaps the most important is where you want to work within your chosen country. Do you want to experience the excitement and bustle of a big city, where you are likely to meet lots of fellow English teachers? Or would you prefer to be based somewhere more remote? The two experiences can be very different and should be weighed up carefully.
What English Teaching Skills do You Really Possess?
People often think that just speaking English qualifies them to be a teacher. While it is true that many people manage to find teaching work without any form of qualification, this is often highly dependent on the location and the wages.
Native English speakers are often wanted for conversation classes, but what about teaching grammar? You will be quickly found out if you try to get a job without knowing anything. If in doubt, take a language course, because even a cheaper online course such as those on offer from i-to-i will prepare you with the basics. Alternatively, check out this guide on the other types of qualifications available.
How Much Free Time Will You Have?
It is very easy to imagine the teaching lifestyle as a couple of hours here and there, with the rest of the time spent exploring an interesting city or lazing on the beach. But you may be in for a shock if you approach it this way.
Teaching can be very demanding. Hours can be long and unsociable, with early starts and late finishes quite common. If you don’t take these into account you could be in for a nasty surprise.
Is Teaching English a Career or a Gap Year?
Although it’s very common to consider teaching English as a thing to do for six months or a year, there are many who make a career out of it. Depending on where you teach, you may find many local people fully trained and making a living from teaching. Even if it is just something to keep you busy, remember to be professional at all times, because if you don’t treat it as a serious job then you won’t be welcome for long.
With the right preparation and attitude, teaching English as a foreign language can be the ideal way to see a new country and learn about the world. But take the time to consider all the ins and outs, and you’ll be sure to get the most from your experience.