You’ve just finished your TEFL training and earned your certificate. Now what?
You may be unsure of what your next steps should be. Maybe you are nervous to start teaching full time, unsure where it is that you want to teach English, uneasy about being in a foreign country or any number of other possible concerns. The time right after receiving your TEFL certificate can be overwhelming for some new teachers and that is perfectly normal. You know that tons of teachers have succeeded, but you don’t know how they made that leap. Don’t worry. It will work for you too. Read on to see how.
But first, just breathe.
You have made it this far and the hardest part is over.
So, pat yourself on the back. Be proud of what you’ve already accomplished. Then it’s time to get serious and start making your game plan. One that works for you and reflects what you want out of your new career, not what you’re “supposed to” do. Answer the questions below and you’ll get a clearer picture of what you want.
Where Do I Want to Teach English?
Most people who start a TEFL career do it to live abroad. You can literally go anywhere in the world now and teach English. Figuring out where you want to go will help to make your job search faster and easier. There are many variables that come into play when deciding on a location.
Do you speak another language, or want to learn one? You don’t need to speak the local language to teach English, but it does help in your daily life.
What country are you from? Some countries will only grant visas to teachers from certain countries. Some countries simply prefer one accent or dialect over the others. Your nationality may make it more difficult to teach in some locations.
Do you want to leave your country? English teachers are needed everywhere, even in your home country. You don’t have to move abroad to teach if you don’t want to.
What do you like doing? If you love mountain climbing, you probably don’t want to move to a coastal city in a flat country. If you need the hustle and bustle of your big city, you probably won’t enjoy a job in a rural area.
Is the climate important to you? Someone from an area that experiences four distinct seasons probably has a good idea of what weather they like and what weather they’ll accept. If you come from a place with consistently warm and sunny weather, you’ll want to think hard about what it will really like living in a place with long and snowy winters.
How Do I Want to Teach English?
You must also think about how you want to teach English. There are many options to choose from. Your answer to this question may also inform your answer to where you want to teach. Some types of jobs are unavailable or uncommon in some parts of the world.
Do you like group classes or individual classes? A combination? There are pros and cons to both types of classes but it’s good to know your preference. You don’t want to work for an institute that specializes in individual classes if you prefer groups.
Do you want to teach at an institute or a school? An institute gives you time in the teacher’s room with other TEFL teachers. You can share ideas, ask questions about life in your new city and find friends. A state school gives you a closer look at the culture
What schedule do you prefer: working days, working evenings, or working weekends? Some institutes are only open evenings and weekends so that students can study after school or work. Some institutes send you to offices or schools during the day. And, of course, if you’re working in a state school, you’ll be working days.
Who Do I Want to Teach English?
Your students are another important factor to consider. There’s a huge difference between teaching adults and children or beginners and advanced students. Think about the different types of students and who you want to spend your working hours with.
Do you want to teach adults or children? The classroom culture, challenges and activity types you use with young learners are very different from what you would use with adults. Which are you most comfortable doing?
What levels do you want to teach? You may not be given a choice. But if you are, do you want to work with low- or high-level students? They’re both rewarding and challenging in their own ways.
What kind of classes do you want to teach? Business English? Test preparation? General English? English for specific purposes? Do you have experience in that area? Is it possible to learn on the job?
These questions were designed to get you thinking to help you make the best and most-informed decision. There are no objectively right or wrong answers, there are only answers that are right for you. It’s up to you which ones you give the most weight to. Knowing yourself and your answers to these questions (and any unmentioned factors) will ensure that you don’t sign a contract you’ll regret. Is there anything we missed? Leave a comment!
Preparing to Teach English
By now you should have a better idea of what your next step should be. Maybe you’ve selected or eliminated some options, or maybe you’ve solidified your goals. The next step is applying for jobs and putting your plan into action.
Now that you have a plan, or at least a better idea of what you want, there are many online resources to help you find job. Apply to a few schools. School administrators will likely want to set up an interview on Skype, unless you’re already in-country.
Now get yourself prepared for your interviews. You know you’re the best person for these jobs, these are your chances to show your skills and prove it. Prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer, as this shows how interested you are. Note that if you’re doing a Skype video call, you must look presentable. Even though you may be 5,000 miles apart, you will be on camera, so you can’t wear your pajamas. Finally, don’t forget to send a follow up thank you email to your interviewer. Politeness is internationally-appreciated.
Check out this blog post full of interviewing tips for more ideas on how to get the job of your dreams!