You’re currently working 40+ hours a week and the 9-5 grind is finally getting to you. You’re wrapping up your last year of university, juggling your capstone project, thesis work, quality time with your besties, and those last few tasks in your role in that student club on campus. You’re a stay at home mom feeling called to pack up your kids’ and your things to World School your family and live abroad.
Whatever your circumstances, it’s understandable that you’re looking to your next chapter—and that the temptation to live an exotic life abroad is getting stronger and stronger. You want to prepare for the possibility of TEFL in a foreign country, but don’t have the ability to drop all of your responsibilities to focus solely on getting your TEFL certificate. So, you’re wondering: Can I do a TEFL course part-time? Is it terrible or awesome? Just how feasible is it?
Read on to learn about part-time TEFL courses and how you can not only pass your certificate course but pass with flying colors.
Who usually signs up for part-time TEFL courses?
Anyone! Including, but not limited to…
- The college graduate, taking a TEFL course in final year to allow them to travel and get paid work abroad right after graduation.
- The full-time teacher planning to make the most of their summer by getting certified and spending July & August at a summer camp in Europe or Asia.
- The career breaker, in a great role and doing well, but saving and planning to take that mid-career gap year, flashpacking their way around South America.
- And you! There’s a part-time TEFL course for anyone at most ages (18+!)
The realities of part-time TEFL courses
Truth be told, most TEFL students opt to do their TEFL courses part-time rather than enrolling in an intensive, month-long course at home or abroad. You just can’t beat the convenience of balancing your many hats while also giving yourself an accreditation that can add a serious dose of fun to your future career path.
So if you can do them part-time, where can you do them? You can find part-time online TEFL courses as well as part-time in-person TEFL courses. Students of the online courses love the ultra-convenience of self-pacing the completion of their course. With interactive tools and lessons, you never feel like you’re missing out too much on the in-classroom experience—and some online courses will even require an in-class practicum (perfect if you want feedback on your teaching style in real life). Part-time in-person courses are generally administered on weekends or evenings to allow space for other responsibilities. Expect to commit the same number of hours to your course whether you complete it online or in-person.
TEFL courses are designed to be completed in modules, perfect for completing part-time and usually at your own pace. This means that more often than not, students who are committed to learning TEFL best practices, skills, pedagogies, and strategies will be successful in completing the course. Since the time and task management is 100% on you, it ultimately depends on your level of commitment to determine your success as a part-time TEFL course participant.
However, most students succeed whether doing a full or part-time TEFL course—especially if they follow our next pieces of advice. Woot!
Tips & advice to succeed at your part-time TEFL course
1. Set a goal to be certified 3 months / 6 months.
Your end goal can be a variety of time frames—what’s more important is that you set your goal and you stick to it. No coasting, no extensions, no “maybe next month’s.”
You have to be your own parent here. Don’t go easy on yourself, otherwise, your dreams of teaching abroad are going to have to wait… and wait… and wait. Thumbs down.
2. Take your syllabus & add all due dates to your calendar. Block your study time in advance, too!
I’m a Google calendar loving lady myself but everyone is entitled to their own version of keeping tabs on due dates, assignment expectations, group projects, etc. It is helpful to consolidate all of this data into one place that you frequently look at—not the email or piece of paper itself—to make sure that you’re eye-balling those reminders regularly (not only when you decide to pull up that email or pull out that piece of paper).
Sit down at the beginning of your course and translate all of its details to your notebook, planner, online calendar. It’ll take a few minutes to an hour, but getting it all squared away in advance will improve your chances of being a deadline ninja. And that’s just where you want to be.
Set yourself a regular study rhythm and stick to it! If Tuesdays and Sundays at 7 pm for 2.5 hours is your slot, lock it in (maybe in that calendar we talked about in point #1???). Work to your strengths—if you’re a morning person, plan your study hour early in the day. Night owl? We’ll see you cruising through your modules in the after hours.
3. Make sure you’ve confirmed your technical requirements early on.
If the course requires you to download certain software or be able to easily upload videos of yourself giving sample lessons, make sure that your computer, laptop, iPad, etc. is outfitted for the job as early on as possible. You don’t want to go to click “Submit” only to realize that your file type isn’t accepted—or something worse!
Make sure you understand from the get-go that you know how to navigate all of the online tools so you don’t waste time later on in the course trying to figure out the technology.
4. Email your instructors to connect.
As someone who has lead online courses in the past, I can definitely vouch for the appreciation that instructors feel when students make an effort to get to know them. More effort in = more long-term reward. When a cool opportunity or teaching job comes across my desk, I’m much more likely to think of “that one student who sent me a nice email” for the gig before any other individual.
So, be proactive and connect with your instructors! Ask questions, thank them for their time and expertise, share a little more details about yourself. We love to know the person behind the avatar!
5. Have a consistent workspace + make it quiet.
It can be tempting to work on some modules in bed, some modules on the couch, some at your favorite coffee shop, others at your kitchen table. This can be a fine strategy, but we also think having a regular, consistent workspace can really help you mentally get in the zone and power through your lessons. Small things like pouring yourself a glass of water in advance or using the restroom before you buckle down on the next module can help increase your focus (and efficiency).
Try to keep the kids at bay, ask your roomies to give you some space, and put your phone somewhere far, far away to really ace your TEFL course. Study in your quiet zone—free of distractions from music, Netflix, your cat (that one *can* be tough), et al.
6. Stay organized.
As with point number one, and with all of your videos, assignments, sample lessons, and so on, the key to success is to stay on top of it and stay organized. The scheduling tips, the consistency of your workspace, the understanding of the technology—these are all contributing to your need to be as organized as possible when doing part-time TEFL courses. One more time for the people in the back: STAY. ORGANIZED.
Pro tip: Add lifetime course access so you never have to watch the clock ever again
If you’re worried you won’t be able to retain all of the great training and information you’ve been given during your course timeline, unlock lifetime access in advance. No more stress! (O-K, slightly less stress!).
You’re ready to rock part-time TEFL courses
With so many distractions, extra responsibilities, and a simple desire to have fun and enjoy life, it can be easy to let even part-time TEFL courses go to the backburner and get forgotten. Don’t be this TEFL student. Keep focused on your future career goals—you know, the ones that will let you move abroad and travel semi-permanently while connecting you to amazing new friends and students (and yummy foods)—and you’ll be bound to pass your part-time TEFL course in no time.