You’ve made it this far. I assume at this point that you’ve decided to take up a career in TEFL starting with obtaining your TEFL certification. I know, I know, even that decision seems a little overwhelming, so what now? What comes next?
What comes next is the research portion of this journey. Researching which certification course you will take when you will begin and end, what credentials you need to teach in certain countries if you want to travel abroad or take your course at home…..this list can go on and on. I know because I’ve been in this position.
While all of this seems really overwhelming, it’s a good idea to hash all of this out before actually beginning your course. You’ll thank yourself in the end.
So, what does all of this have to do with busting TEFL myths?????
Nowadays, I’m going to say we do 99.9999999% of research using the Internet. Books are rarely used anymore to obtain the needed information before starting a career in TEFL. So, we head to our laptops, tablets or iPhones to look up what we need to know. The problem here lies in the fact that, guess what, everything you read on the Internet is not true!
Imagine that, huh? I’ll repeat it just one more time for fun.
Everything you read on the Internet is not true. This goes for a lot of the TEFL information out there. There are loads of sites that give false information. This can be a huge problem for you if you read from one of these websites!
TEFL Myths are pretty abundant on the world wide web today, so I’m here to dissect some of the most popularly heard ones. Here we go…
Top 5 TEFL Myths
1. “It’ll be so easy and I’ll hardly have to teach.”
WRONG! Oh my goodness, this is so incorrect about a TEFL career it makes me cringe!!! TEFL teaching jobs are hard work. That is, of course, if you are doing them properly. Many people obtain their TEFL certifications thinking that it will be a fun and easy thing. You’ll just get to travel around the world forever without any cares in the world.. I will admit that, though, half of that sentence is true. You can travel the world forever with your TEFL career. However, the latter half of the sentence is very false.
Take it from me: You tend to have a lot of cares when you teach TEFL. “Did I teach a successful lesson today?” “Did my students grasp the concept of what idioms are or will I have to think of a new lesson for that?” “Will Suzie and Mary ever stop talking and pay attention in class? I am worried about their grades?” Will Tom ever make it to every class in a week? I’m really worried about him, too.” These are some of my thoughts on any given school day. Plus, there are more tangible cares, such as “Did I make enough copies?” “Do I have an extra activity planned in case we run have extra time?” “I need to think of a new, exciting warm-up.”
So, let me reiterate this: Teaching TEFL is hard work. A TEFL career requires a ton of planning and preparation for each class. It also requires you to constantly be there for your students, making your schedule flexible in order to focus on their needs.
2. “I have to know the native language of the country I’m going to pursue my TEFL career in”
False. As a TEFL teacher, you do not need to know the native language of the country you are moving to. I was actually taught in my TEFL course, that in most TEFL classrooms, it is actually frowned upon to be speaking anything other than English. We don’t want to use our students’ native language as a crutch. That’s not the most effective way of teaching. However, I will admit that it is really easy to do just that when you’re familiar with your students’ language. I speak French and I recently had a few students from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where French is a common language to speak. I found myself, on a few occasions, saying the vocabulary words in French to help them. It’s not the end of the world when you do this, but keep a few things in mind. 1.) It may be unfair to other students 2.) you’re not utilizing your TEFL teaching skills
Of course, it may help you to know a few keywords in order to communicate with locals a bit more easily, but it is definitely not a requirement when getting a TEFL teaching job.
There are also some countries who have government funded TEFL teaching programs. If you are accepted into one of these, sometimes they provide you with language classes in the native language. But, to wrap this point up, it is not necessary for you to comprehend the language of your host country.
3. “I will be required to teach young children”….
This only has to be true if you want it to be true! There are so many TEFL teaching job opportunities that don’t require you to work with children. For example, I have been teaching English for almost 5 years now and 4 out of the 5 years, I have taught adults.
However, if you want to work with children, there are plenty of jobs available. If you are interested in this, you should read up about our new Teaching English to Young Learners course. It’s a brand new course designed to help TEFL teachers better understand the process of teaching young children.
4. “It’s best to get my TEFL certificate in my home country”
This is definitely not true! I’m from the USA and received my TEFL certification in Costa Rica and it was one of the best experiences of my life! Read up on my experiences and why I chose Costa Rica here!
I had a great experience going abroad for my TEFL course, however, I don’t think it is for everyone. Some people thrive in online classes, and if you are one of those people, I would suggest doing just that.
Go get your TEFL degree outside of your home country in order to gain some awesome worldly experience. OR save some money, be flexible and take an online TEFL course, which gives you much more freedom and is a little bit less expensive than a full course.
5. “TEFL jobs are almost always all expenses paid”
Last, but surely not least. This is NOT true. As a matter of fact, if you see any job posting with this, I would steer far away from them. Many institutions portraying this offer could be scams just trying to lure you in.
You’ll probably run into a few of these while perusing through your TEFL related research. I found some too and they got my hopes up. But they are generally fake. Stick to reputable sites and you should be good to go.