Well I have been back from my travels now for nearly 18 months, and am getting bored of being back in an office doing the same old, same old everyday. I am seriously considering trying to get into teaching English as a foreign language, and am looking for people’s experiences of it, notably:
1) Where people have taught English as a foreign language and how they found it?
2) Which particular course to go for? I am getting confused between TEFL and TESOLs and CELTAs.
3) Any recommended organisations that people have used before to get a teaching English as a foreign language qualification.
I know you can do online courses, but I would rather do a classroom based course.
Any information/suggestions/general tips gratefully received!
If you want to teach English, the British Council is a good place to start. If you're qualified to teach, you could apply at their teaching centres worldwide. At the moment, the British Council in Malaysia has vacancy for English language teachers. You can check what's required of you in order to teach there.
I have had multiple friends go to China to teach English for durations of 6 months. I'm not exactly sure what program they went with, but I can tell you they had the time of their life. If you have the time, I would say to do it. You won't regret it.
The qualifications that you need, and the type of experience you get, greatly depends on what country you go to. In some countries or schools, an ESL course is essential, and at others it's of no use.
The only place that I can speak of from experience is Japan. For most jobs in Japan, you don't need a TEFL cert or anything, but in most cases you do need a university degree or something similar in order to get a working visa. There are also two main types of jobs available - Private ESL schools (known as Eikaiwa) where you teach small 1-hour classes to a variety of paying students. Generally these jobs are located in city centers and your coworkers will be other foreign English teachers. The other job is an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT), where you are placed in the public school system to work as an assistant to the local teachers who teach English. As every single school in the country has an ALT, you could end up downtown Tokyo, but you could also be placed in a tiny town in the mountains, as I was. Often you are the only foreigner at the school, if not the whole town.
Do a little google research and you will find a number of Eikaiwa companies, some good and some bad. For ALTs you will find the two most common options are the government sponsored JET program, and the private company Interac.
Other countries of the world are a completely different situation, so you'll have to do the research to find out which ones are best for your qualifications. One good place to start is Dave's ESL Cafe. There's tons of excellent info there.
I've taught in South Korea and China. Getting a TEFL certificate is a plus- it lets you choose from a wider selection of employers, and for higher pay, generally. Cambridge is the most widely accepted course.
In China, if you are more interested in travel and experiencing the culture than making a lot of money, I'd recommend working at a university (only a bachelor's degree is required). The pay is minimal, but you get 5-6 weeks of holidays in the winter, and 5-6 weeks of holidays in the summer, which means lots of time to travel around this vast country (or neighboring countries in SE Asia). Plus, you'll be teaching young adults, close to your own age (if you are in your 20s) who may become your good friends.
In Korea you can make a lot of money teaching English, but you'll be working longer hours, with more stress, usually at a 'hogwon' (private after-school academy). After 2 years in South Korea, I walked away with $15,000 and a nervous twitch.
Thanks everyone for your comments. I am thinking of going in 2014, and would like to do my TEFL first and then hopefully find work after - I think there are organisations that can organise that for you?
Really appreciate everyone who has responded to this thread though, so really useful information here.
I taught in Korea for 9 years and had a tremendous experience. In Korea you don't need TEFL or TESOL certificates to teach at schools and you can earn a lot of money if you work hard, are flexible and have a good attitude. If you'd like to receive information about teaching English and learn about experiences there from myself and other teachers check out -snip-
Thanks and best of luck!
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