This weekend, I took part in a TEFL course in Bristol. The course gives me a qualification to teach English in most non-English speaking countries around the world.
Here’s what a TEFL course taught me:
- Learning a language can be really fun
Sure, we were pretending to be 10 year olds half the time but there’s so many fresh and exciting ways to make teaching English fun – whether these be reading a story about animals and making an animal noise every time the respective animal is mentioned, or singing along to U2’s “Haven’t found what i’m looking for” and trying to find examples of the present perfect – it’s reasonably easy to engage students.
- Teaching English can be reasonably well paid
With wages in South Korea and China ranging from $1500-$1700 combined with rent included in your contract and a relatively cheap cost of living, it’s not all that hard to save $1000+ a month. Multiply that by 10, and you’re saving 10 grand in an academic year. Basically, it’s the perfect job to do midway through travelling to afford more travelling. And then maybe to do after travelling to afford all the scary stuff like house deposits (i’ve already accepted the decision that I may never be able to/ want to get one of those, but I guess it’s important to plan ahead).
- Grammar is hard
Who knew ‘I am going’ is called the present continuous? That ‘After I had eaten my dinner’ is the past perfect? This stuff is brain twisting and it takes a lot of work to feel comfortable teaching it. But it’s all part of understanding this crazy language we all speak.
- But it’s even harder on the students
We had a short Korean lesson with no English being spoke. Despite this, I managed to pick up how to say ‘hello’, ‘how are you’ ‘happy’ ‘sad’ ‘what do you like’ ‘rice’ ‘bread’ and ‘goodbye’. Learning a language from scratch in the language that you’re supposed to be learning is tricky, but not impossible.
- Actions speak louder than words
Really really. Hand gestures, waving your arms about wildly and failing that acting are so important when teaching English. There’s loads of creative ways to express yourself not just through speaking, and teaching English is about tapping into them!
- Teaching opens you up to a world of opportunitiesWhether it’s eating authentic Korean food on the streets of Seoul, or engaging with local families in Medellin, Colombia, teaching English literally gives you the world. The course i’m taking is the first step to being able to teach in most non-English speaking (and a few English speaking) countries in the world. I’m already hatching plans about teaching in North-East Asia, South America and possibly the Middle East, and even if I eventually decide to return back to Blighty, there’s opportunities here to teach migrants, refugees and asylum seekers – so not only could I be using my new found skills to earn a living in the UK, but I could be really helping those in need, too.
After my TEFL course last weekend, i’m sure that this is something I want to pursue and I urge anyone out there thinking about teaching English to take the plunge and do the course as well.