With rising prices and ever increasing demands on citizens’ time, it is more important than ever to find a work position that provides a sufficient remuneration for living comfortably. Luckily, one such career exists in the form of TEFL (or Teaching English as a Foreign Language), a vocation that enables a good quality job with a financially attractive potential for the right candidate.
Of course, as with any profession, there are key questions that need to be considered before taking the leap to start working in this fascinating field. Below, some of these key questions shall be considered, as well as some useful hints and tips for taking the next steps.
What is TEFL?
Put simply, TEFL is where a knowledgeable and helpful teacher provides invaluable input in the world of the English language. Typically, this arrives in the form of structured lessons, focused on major grammar and vocabulary areas.
These are separated by both level and interest. For beginners, the focus might be on the present simple tense for grammar, or daily routine terms for vocabulary. As the student becomes more proficient, the difficulty grows along with them, up until the point where a student could be considered an advanced user of the language.
Still, even advanced students need help, in the form of learning phrasal verbs of common idioms, or even just brushing up on their prior studies. Either way, TEFL is designed to assist any student of the English language, making their journey smoother and more comfortable along the way.
The best way for a TEFL teacher to get started is to get certified. Any profession worth their salt requires their participants to be fully trained, and TEFL is no exception.
A high quality TEFL course is the best first step to take, and they can not only add value to the knowledge and skill base of the future TEFL instructor, they should also make that candidate more employable and thus help them to find work more easily. So it really is a win-win situation to get qualified ahead of time.
What is the difference between teaching TEFL online and in person?
For many decades, the only way a TEFL teacher was able to teach was in person. This usually took the form of an educator working in a school or other academic institution, providing lessons from a course book in most cases.
In many cultures, English was not spoken widely outside of the classroom until recent years, so the only exposure that a lot of students had to the language was in the lessons themselves. This led to the challenge of how to make TEFL learning authentic and meaningful for these students, as well as keeping them on track when distractions abounded elsewhere.
However, in recent years there has been a technological shift and that has been felt keenly in the world of TEFL. For one thing, in person teachers are now able to harness the power of technology, from watching online content in the classroom, all he way through to live interactive quizzes. There is no doubt that the digital age has streamlined much of an in person TEFL teacher’s work, but it has not completely resolved all the issues that were there before.
On the other hand, teaching TEFL online is a relatively recent innovation, and one that lends itself nicely to the modern learner. The class sizes are typically smaller, so the teacher can give more attention to each learner’s needs. In addition, as all the students can study from a place where they feel more established, as opposed to a physical classroom where they might feel more pressure, this should lead to students feeling more at ease in their learning.
For the online TEFL teacher, grading is also usually more straightforward, as much of the work is performed and assessed digitally. This means that there is less of a chance that an online TEFL tutor will be trying to decipher a student’s handwriting, instead reading their written work through a word processing tool is much more likely.
Where can a TEFL teacher teach?
Strictly speaking, an online TEFL instructor can teach from pretty much anywhere there is a fast and reliable internet connection. This opens up a world of possibilities for teaching TEFL online from almost any country on the planet.
One great option to think about is Japan, a nation that has made great strides in terms of work life balance and technology in recent years. Just type teaching English in Japan salary to get a broad idea of the kind of earnings one could make in the Land of the Rising Sun.
What are the benefits of teaching TEFL online?
Aside from avoiding the dreaded daily commute to and from the workplace, teaching TEFL online has a host of other upsides for the future TEFL tutor. One of these is that option of being able to move and live in virtually any place on Earth, making the dream of having a home in any place a potential reality.
Beyond this, there is also the time aspect to consider. The amount of hours saved by not having to travel to and from a physical building could be allocated to lesson planning, assessment, or indeed teaching more lessons. This in turn leads to a TEFL teacher honing their craft and obviously having the chance to earn more money too.
On top of that, each TEFL lesson is unique and distinct, offering genuine variety to any given day. For some students, they could be facing writing challenges, which might be eased by a caring and thoughtful TEFL educator approach.
For others, there may well be concerns about speaking in public, or reading the latest news for context. Alternatively, TEFL learners could be facing difficulties in their other academic pursuits, or even in finding employment. In any case, a vital source of motivation and aid comes in the form of a TEFL teacher who understands these needs, and is able to lend a hand suitably and where needed.