Teachers are the unsung heroes of our communities. They grade the work of classrooms of 30 students and prepare lesson plans and resources outside of their working hours. They manage the classroom and ensure that children are learning optimally in a safe environment. Sometimes, the challenging work of qualified teachers goes unappreciated.
You may have the summer holidays to see the world, much like your students, but what if I told you there was a way to see the world while simultaneously progressing your career? Whether you’ve completed your teaching Degree or Postgraduate teacher training, there’s no reason that you have to confine the use of these skills within the borders of your own country.
Teaching English as a Foreign Language offers you the same benefits of teaching at home while you’re traversing the globe. You’re also a qualified teacher for life. There are essentially no risks in pursuing TEFL opportunities for qualified teachers. More than one school can foster your teaching development, as can more than one country. As a qualified teacher teaching English abroad, you are in a prime position to experience the intricacies of foreign cultures while exceling at what you do best.
Do I Still Need a TEFL Certificate If I’m Already Qualified?
Typically, to be an English teacher abroad, you will need these things;
- Native or near native fluency
- A TEFL certificate
- A Bachelor’s degree
Of course, there are many exceptions. Teachers who aren’t native speakers, TEFL certified, nor have a Bachelor’s Degree, for example, can still become thriving TEFL teachers. You might also be thinking I already have a teaching qualification, why would I need a TEFL? However, it’s still a good idea to become TEFL qualified before you depart for your adventure. Much like the teaching qualification, a TEFL certificate is valid for life.
Logistics of Having a TEFL Certificate
First of all, most jobs require it. This is especially the case for vacancies which offer a high salary (which your teaching qualification can secure for you). In fact, some employers in countries such as Vietnam, for example, may even require that you have a legalized TEFL certificate regardless of other teaching qualifications.
Practical Benefits of Having a TEFL Certificate
However, the reasons that you should become TEFL certified aren’t only logistical. Teaching at home and teaching abroad are two very different things. By becoming TEFL certified, you will learn the intricacies of the foreign language classroom and become qualified to teach where English isn’t the official language.
TEFL courses help you understand some of the challenges that you may face as a foreign language teacher, and how to overcome them. Some of your classes will be of mixed ability. What will you do when you can cater to one student but not another? Becoming TEFL certified allows you to learn how to adapt to some of these challenging scenarios in order to make learning a possibility for all kinds of students in your classroom.
If an employer sees two qualified teachers applying for their job opening, and one has a TEFL certificate and the other doesn’t, who do you think they would choose?
On our website, we’ve an abundance of TEFL courses that you can undergo. Typically, employers require that TEFL teachers have a minimum of 120 hours. Many decide to opt for more in order to maximize their chances in the market. With a teaching qualification as well as a TEFL certificate, you will be unrivaled in the TEFL market.
So now you know why you should become TEFL certified, let’s take a look at the benefits of Teaching English as a Foreign Language for qualified teachers.
5 Benefits or Advantages of TEFL for Qualified Teachers
- Travel the World on a Great Salary
- Career Progression & Traveling
- Venture Outside of Your Comfort zone
- Understand and Learn From Foreign Classroom Etiquettes
- Learn a New Language
1) Travel the World on a Great Salary
TEFL is one of the most exciting things someone can do. You get to travel the world, immerse yourself in different cultures, try new cuisines and visit stunning landscapes, and essentially get paid to do it. It sounds too good to be true.
However, most TEFL teachers have the bare minimum requirements and lack any formal teaching qualifications aside from their TEFL certificate. This means that when a new, qualified teacher emerges in the market (like yourself), they immediately make themselves present as a valuable candidate in the industry.
As a qualified teacher, you will have opportunities to work at the best schools and your salary potential will be far higher than the regular TEFL graduate. International schools and universities are also a possibility for a teacher who has a teaching qualification, and teachers can earn a high salary and a range of benefits here. These benefits may include rent-free accommodation, paid airfare, tax-free salary, and much more.
2) Career Progression & Traveling
TEFL is a fantastic opportunity for qualified teachers to see the world without their careers being put momentarily on hold. Not only will you be earning money while you travel, you’ll be gaining valuable professional experience.
Many TEFLers are people who decided to leave their jobs in pursuit of something more fulfilling. Teaching English as a Foreign Language is a fantastic way to gain insight into the intricacies of foreign cultures, meet new and interesting people, and continually expose yourself to uniqueness each day.
However, many of these TEFLers also worry that they may be harming their career progression if TEFL is a short term option. Despite the fact that they are adding proof of international work experience, cross-cultural communication and adaptability to their resume, they worry that this time spent teaching abroad comes at the cost of their career at home
Sidenote – It doesn’t. In fact, some employers like seeing applicants with international experience and the unique skills required to work abroad.
As a fully qualified teacher, however, you will be gathering experience directly related to teaching while traveling the world. Whether you’re teaching in Thailand, Taiwan, Spain or Argentina, you’re accumulating experience directly related to your profession while reaping the benefits of living abroad.
3) Venture Outside of Your Comfort zone
Teaching at schools in your home country can be an exhausting profession, and maybe you’re looking for a change of scenery. Maybe you feel enslaved by your current schedule and you want to inject some excitement into your life. Shaking up your routine and breaking the norm by traveling to a foreign country to work can be exactly what is needed to create a spark in your life.
TEFL is a great option for the teacher who has just left school looking for a gap year as well as the teacher who already has years of experience. Regardless of your circumstance, TEFL offers something new.
A friend of mine who is a qualified teacher had an epiphany thanks to one of her students. Having spent a few years teaching at a school in the local area, a student joked; “you’re going to be here forever, Miss!” It was at that point that she realized that her current routine may have made her far too comfortable and potentially superseded her hopes of traveling the world. She then completed her TEFL course and jetted halfway across the world.
By leaving your comfort zone, you’re going to face many obstacles as well as things that make you fall in love with traveling. You’ll become much more independent and culturally adaptable. Not only that, you’ll have engaged in so much of the uniqueness that the world has to offer.
You may even discover that you’d rather teach English abroad instead of your home country. Many people (like myself) intended on teaching abroad for the short term but ended up staying for longer than anticipated.
If not, you’ll return home as a more confident and capable teacher. It’s important to remember that TEFL has its ups and downs, much like any other profession. But, however your TEFL experience goes, you’ll return home with far greater capabilities than you had before you left.
4) Understand and Learn From Foreign Classroom Etiquettes
Although you’re the teacher and not the student, maybe there’s something you can learn from the foreign classroom. Of course, each country or foreign classroom will reveal its own unique traits. You may may gain plenty of insight into something which highlights what your home country’s learning environment lacks. Or, you may gain more appreciation for an aspect where the learning environment at home excels.
If you decide to work in Thailand, for example, you might be refreshed by its laid back atmosphere. In the classroom, students are very relaxed, as are the teachers. You may become more relaxed and not so rigid in the classroom as a result of working there. Otherwise, you may appreciate the punctuality and structure of your classrooms back home.
On the other hand, you may decide to work in a culture where education is much more competitive, such as South Korea or China. If you’re working at private schools or universities with a rigorous schedule, it may even improve your organizational skills. You’ll also realize just how hard students can work if they push themselves! Wherever you decide to go and whatever the outcome, you’ll learn something new about the foreign classroom environment.
5) Learn a New Language
Make no mistake, you do not need to speak another language to teach English abroad. Schools and employers actually prefer that you only speak English in the classroom to facilitate language development. However, teaching English abroad is also a fantastic way for you to improve on or learn a new language.
What better way to learn Spanish than to live amongst a Spanish community? Would you learn Mandarin more optimally at home, or at a language school in Beijing? By immersing yourself within a foreign community, you are far more likely to have success in learning a new language.
Teach English Abroad as a Qualified Teacher
Qualified teachers are in a unique position because they can teach English as a foreign language without changing career direction. TEFL graduates often teach abroad as a break from their other and what they deem to be more sustainable careers. Qualified Teachers, on the other hand, can continue to gain direct teaching experience while gallivanting the earth.
It’s also an opportunity for qualified teachers to mix things up if they feel as if they have plateaued under their current routine. Qualified teachers will have no shortage of options for work when they look abroad. Opportunities in the best schools with the highest salaries are rife for those who have teaching qualifications. English is in high demand, and qualified teachers can be hard to come by in the market. Not only can they reap a high salary and employment perks, they can immerse themselves entirely into a new culture.