Saturday, August 9, 2014

5 steps to quitting your job to become an ESL teacher - By Michelle D'Almeida

It is with sadness and pride that we bid farewell to Michellé D’Almeida, who is leaving TKW to embark on her first overseas teaching post. Read her tips on becoming an EFL/ESL teacher…

5 Steps to Quitting your Job to become an EFL teacher
So after weeks – maybe months – of consideration, you’ve finally decided to escape the office to take advantage of EFL opportunities around the world. Because the first step can be daunting, here are 5 essential tips to quitting your job to become an EFL teacher.

· Do thorough research into teaching opportunities

Quitting your job with only a vague idea of all the countries you're going to travel to and places you're going to teach isn't recommended. It is paramount that you consider the options available to you based on your passport and qualification constraints.

Telling your boss to do his own pencil pushing because you're going to be earning top-dollar in South Korea, only to realize later that Korea requires a degree or Saudi Arabia requires teaching experience can quickly turn the best decision you've ever made into the worst. Do your homework and plan accordingly to ensure that you're not caught out.

· Get TEFL certified by a reputable, accredited TEFL organisation

On that note, a TEFL certificate, with some practical training is fast becoming a minimum requirement in language schools the world over. While there are many TEFL courses avaliable both online and in person, recuiters for the most coveted positions will give preference to people who have done the course in-class.

It’s important to keep this in mind when choosing your course. Unfortunately, the character of the EFL/ESL industry is such that it can easily be exploited. Hundreds of online companies and 'schools' will offer you TEFL courses and certifications claiming to be accredited, when in fact their accreditation is not worth anything.

The Knowledge Workshop offers tried and tested online and in-class TEFL courses, as well as a real-life practical training course that is a great supplement to any prior training. 

· Get some teaching experience

Once you’ve got your TEFL certificate, you might still have some time to kill before hopping on a plane. Use this time to try your hand at teaching in real life. You could do this in a number of ways. You could look into volunteer programmes in your general area; speak to TKW about their volunteer teaching programmes where teachers develop their skills whilst benefiting local students; you could approach language schools to look for part time work; or do some private tutoring. For more information about these opportunities, contact The Knowledge Workshop.

· Treat teaching like a job

In other words, take what you do seriously. Like any job and/or industry, stay abreast of the latest news, tools and developments. Read up on teaching philosophies, lesson ideas and classroom management strategies.

While being an EFL teacher will afford you many great opportunities to travel, socialise and (in most cases) make a good amount of money; EFL is not a Contiki Tour. It’s a job and should be appraoched as such. Being a good teacher that can really impact on students will be one of the most worthwhile reasons to embark on this new path – whether it be for a year, or longer.