“Teaching abroad” has been on your vision board for the last—IDK, decade??—and you’re now finally ready to get serious about it. A quick Google search elicits more results than you thought possible. How could there not be one, not two, but DOZENS of companies out there, eager to help you get your TEFL certificate, live your dream, and become a superstar teacher abroad?
How do you make sense of it all?
Here’s our best advice to cut through the noise and zero-in on a teaching abroad company that won’t simply connect you to a job abroad—they’ll treat you right.
8 things that make a TEFL organization great
1. A rad, comprehensive website
TEFL organizations work with individuals from all around the world, but they often don’t have brick-and-mortar shops that span continents, too. Their main point of contact and connection to future teachers is through their website, and this is your first clue into a GREAT TEFL company versus an average one.
Here’s what to look for in a great TEFL website:
- Trustworthy team members. An about page can say so much about an organization. Do these folks seem legit?
- Easy access to all of the meaty information. It sucks when you have to chase companies for program details, or subscribe via email just to get a quote on cost. YUCK.
- Customer testimonials. A company can spout praise all it wants—you need to hear feedback from actual participants.
- Vetted programming on third-party sites. Has this company been featured in major news publications? Do they have profiles on resources like GoAbroad.com and GoOverseas?
- Inspiring photos. Stock images are so old school. We want to see real images from their programs—and they better make me want to sign up ASAP.
2. Experienced TEFLers on staff
You can’t walk the walk and talk the talk if you haven’t taught abroad yourself. Rather than getting generic, surface-level advice and services, seek to get your TEFL certificate with a program that prides itself on hiring past TEFL teachers.
Our company director, Nikki, has loads of stories to tell and advice to share thanks to her stint teaching in Spain.
That’s what makes a TEFL organization GREAT: They believe so much in their training courses that participants keep coming back to the organization to connect even more.
3. Their course options fit the current market
Newsflash: Teaching English online is exploding. Big time. And if your TEFL company is so old school that they don’t even offer an online teaching TEFL course, you probably want to swipe left. How else can you feel prepared for the curveballs of being an online English teacher?
Select a TEFL organization that is on-trend with what the TEFL market worldwide is demanding. Your ideal organization is both responsive and proactive to the demands of English schools worldwide and offers training options that rise above the bare minimum qualifications.
4. Their Academic tutors actually know what they’re doing
Re-learning English in order to effectively TEACH English is no easy task. Things that you’ve come to think of as “totally normal” are actually the results of deep learning and linguistic conditioning that you’ve been exposed to since you started learning English.
For example, do you know why we say “big red ball” rather than “red big ball?” In short, it’s because: “When you use more than one adjective in a noun phrase, the usual order for the adjectives is: qualitative adjectives, followed by color adjectives, followed by classifying adjectives.”
Say that five times fast.
A GREAT TEFL organization will hire top-notch talent to guide YOU in your training to be an English teacher.
5. Great reviews don’t lie
When products are almost identical company-to-company, i.e. you can get a 168 hour Ofqual regulated level 5 TEFL course from multiple organizations, what makes you want to choose one company over another? Customer service.
It’s not just about getting that TEFL certificate and moving on with your life. It’s about feeling cared for like all of your questions are fully answered like you’re connecting to an effort bigger than simply teaching “piece” vs. “peace” to a kid in China. You want to feel a part of something, and different organizations will give you different levels of that feeling.
Scour the internet and third-party resources, such as Google reviews, to vet the organizations you’re considering. Pay attention, specifically, to negative feedback—you’ll want to chew on it, dissect it, and maybe even bring it to the attention of the company that you’re considering. Give them a chance to explain, offer their perspective, or to share how a specific incident went down from their point of view.
Premier TEFL puts customers first and our street cred around the internet reflects that. We’re ranked* 9.7/10 on GoOverseas, 9.13/10 on GoAbroad.com, and 4.6/5 on Reviews.co.uk. That’s because we have the hands-down BEST students in the world. Period.
*These stats were accurate as of the winter of 2019. Check external resources for most up-to-date data!
6. The company doesn’t abandon you
Here’s one scenario: You sign up, they give you instructions, you graduate, you leave. Buh-bye.
Here’s another: You sign up, you work closely with the company to find the exact program for your goals/budget/needs, you move abroad, they come and visit you and offer on-site, in-person support, you fall in love, happily ever after. The end.
Clearly, scenario #2 is the ideal scene (maybe without the romantic stuff, but you get the idea). Moving abroad by yourself is pretty darn scary, and if you can find a company that will come out and visit you during your program to offer additional support, well… that choice is a no-brainer.
Check out this awesome video from our last visit to Thailand to hang with Premier TEFL teachers:
7. Extensive resources are included
How does the sound of an entire ebook dedicated to lesson planning tips sound? Or a ready-made grammar guide that highlights pointers for teaching complex rules and nuances?
Having access to these resources, rather than building them for yourself from scratch, is a game-changer. Why reinvent the wheel when there are already amazing resources and tools out there?
Pick a TEFL company that is eager to share #TEFLhacks and support with you, maybe they’ll even throw in a personal tutor to sweeten the deal. Your brain will thank you.
8. Alumni support services
Right off the bat you’ll want to join networks for TEFL job hunting including Facebook groups like Online English Teaching Jobs. Here you’ll connect with other teachers for friendship, advice and hear their personal recommendations for who are the great employers. Resources like the Premier TEFL job hunter’s guide as well as job comparison guides will help you to be best prepared to get hired.
Find a Great TEFL organization—You deserve it
With these markers of excellence, you’ll quickly be able to sort through your TEFL organization options to find the one that not only meets your goals, needs, and budget, but also provides incredible value. Choose a people-first organization that walks beside you every step of the way, from “Hey, I have this crazy idea…” to “Hands-down, that was the best adventure of my life.”
One last pitch (because we work really hard and love what we do!). Premier TEFL refuses to settle for a low bar or bare-minimum. We aim to Wow—whether with our comprehensive service and extensive resources, not to mention our quick wit and impressive GIF collection. Let’s work together to get you teaching abroad ASAP!