You’ve pulled the trigger and finally decided to go after that TEFL certificate you’ve been thinking of for months or even years. Congrats! This is an exciting step in the direction of…your life!
I say ‘Congrats’ because it’s really a remarkable decision. I thought about getting my TEFL certificate for years before I did. When I finally did it, it was like a huge rock was lifted off my shoulders. I could see my future career path in it. Things became clearer.
So, why is it that we put things off that we really want? Because those things take time, energy and money, amongst other factors, too. In this article, I’m going to talk about what it takes to make time for your course, and once doing your course, what it takes to arrange your life accordingly.
We all have lives that need to be tended to: work, family, social life, doctors appointments, the list could go on and on. You can’t ignore any of these things, or your life will feel like it’s spinning out of control. So, how do you add one more thing into the mix? You just make it happen.
First, make an affirmation to yourself: “I want to be a TEFL teacher, so I will be a TEFL teacher”. Remind yourself this repeatedly. Look in the mirror and say it to yourself. Say it so much that you actually begin to feel it; that you become it. By doing this, you’re imprinting it on your mind.
Now, you have 2 options: You can take an online course or an in-person course. Check out this article I wrote a few weeks back articulating the differences on each. The reason I bring this up is because of the way you structure your schedule will be different depending on which one you choose.
Schedule for In-Person Course
I have observed that people who choose to take an in-person TEFL course are people who have had some sort of “free time” open up in their lives. By “free time”, I mean maybe you just quit their job or just graduated from school and you suddenly have ample time to do something. I, for example, experienced this. I had just graduated from university when I chose to take my TEFL course. I hadn’t started a job yet, so I was able to clear my schedule and go down to Costa Rica to take an intensive 6-week course.
By opting for an in-person course you’re committing to be at a certain place at a certain time. There is not much flexibility about this. In addition, you will need to set aside a number of hours per week to do the required readings and homework. Not all in-person TEFL courses are 5 days a week, 9-5, for 6 weeks, like mine. Some are twice a week in the evenings, or three times a week in the mornings, or maybe even once a week. Regardless of what the timing of the specific course, there is still time and place commitment involved.
So, if you opt for this, make sure you have your time cleared for actual class time. Then, I would suggest also giving yourself around 10 hours per week to do the other tasks on your own. Set aside this time at the beginning of your course and follow through with it for the duration of your course.
Schedule for Online Courses
If you choose to take an online course, you can make your schedule fit your lifestyle a bit easier. With an online course, you can do your coursework whenever you have free time. If you work during the day, you’re able to do some work at night, and vice-versa.
This option is really nice for someone with a heavy, overloaded schedule. Kids, a job, a dog, and just about any other responsibilities take a lot of time in our lives. Sometimes these things have unpredictable occurrences that can take-up more time than we expect. By being able to have flexibility to do your TEFL course, you’ll feel a little more at ease with it. You won’t be as stressed about it knowing that you can do your coursework at 9 PM in the comfort of your home.
You do have some sort of time-frame given to you to complete your online course within. So, you can’t be doing 1 hour a week for a year. You must create some space in your life to dedicate about 10-20 hours a week for it in order to complete it in a timely manner.
In today’s world, I think everyone has a lot going on in their everyday lives. Additionally, nearly everyone has access to the Internet and a computer of sorts, making online classes more and more popular. I find it really amazing that we are able to pursue a career, while still juggling all of life’s other responsibilities.
So, if this is something you’ve been thinking about for a while, I encourage you to take a little time out of your schedule to do some research and figure out what type, of course, would be the right fit for your life. Everyone’s different, so what worked for someone else, may not work for you, but there’s definitely a course out there with your name on it!