Teaching English as a Foreign Language, otherwise known as TEFL can open your eyes to a world of new opportunities. You don't have to be straight out of college to participate in a program like this either. TEFL jobs without a degree is still a great possibility in many cases.
There are people who are 19, teaching five year olds the basics and there are people who are in their sixties who have been teaching for years and have now grabbed the opportunity and have landed up in Thailand, for example.
For a lot of people, this is a dream come true. The culture is completely different, and while this may take some time to get used to, a lot of people apprieciate the friendly vibes of the locals that they come across. For many TEFL teachers, it is like being on vacation 24/7 with rather enjoyable climates. Places like Bali, Thailand and Japan are surrounded by much beauty.
How Do You Qualify as a TEFL Teacher?
This will depend on the school you go to, and even the country. For example there are certain countries in Asia that are not keen on taking on older teachers. Most countries will only accept TEFL teachers with degrees, but don't let that put you off, because there are many schools that you can go to where a degree is not necessary.
Most of the time, this acts as a way in which you have access to a visa. Usually the school will just need any type of qualification, which is not necessarily related to education. This just shows you how much people are crying out for teachers all over the world.
One thing I do recommend is a TEFL course. This you can do through a school or college. However, you can also do this in your own time. There are many people who are advertising this now, so make sure you choose someone with a good name. A lot of the time, this is all that is needed, because this is more specific than anything else.
The Difference Between TEFL and TESOL
There is always a lot of confusion between these acronyms, but basically they mean the same thing. TESOL refers to Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. The difference comes in where you find the learner, because the term, TESOL is mostly used in Australia and America, while TEFL is used everywhere else.
Another difference here is between ESL (English as a Second Language) and EFL (English as a Foreign Language). This will also depend on the country of the learner. For example, if the student needs to speak English to get by, they will have to be taught with the ESL method.
However, EFL refers to the study of the language as a hobby or something which is not as important.
This is something to bear in mind, because activities will vary slightly depending on the type of method you have been employed to teach by.
You will find that EFL learners will benefit from cultural studies, hobbies and their likes and dislikes. However, with ESL learners, teachers should focus more on their communicative skills as often as they can.
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Is There an Age Limit for TEFL Jobs?
As mentioned before, there are teachers all over the world of different ages teaching kids to speak English. However, sometimes it is easier to get a job as a teacher when you are 21, than when you are 60.
There are many reasons why a school will want to employ the younger teacher, but there are always two sides to every story. For one thing, someone who is more mature is not going to be as energetic, and kindergarten aged kids can definitely take a lot out of you, when you have to be enthusiastic all day, jumping around and singing songs. On the other hand, someone who is no longer twenty will have a lot more wisdom, especially when it comes to teaching.
Some schools are against this because they are afraid of health issues. One way to combat this is by having your own private health insurance. Another tip is to be in the country of your choice and not to apply for the job from your home country. This will probably not go in your favor because you really have to proove yourself.
Here is where you have to select your country carefully because there are some schools which are not keen of even taking on someone in their 40's, while other schools, in Europe for example don't have a problem with this.
What is the Best Place to Teach English Abroad?
This is a very personal question because there is really no one "best" place, but it will depend on the teacher and a number of reasons that are important to them. Before one starts applying for jobs, it is necessary to ask yourself what your needs are. Is this something you are doing temporarily just to make money? Are you looking for a career change? Do you just want to do something different or are you looking for some experience?
Teaching in Thailand
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/cosasia/6948151725
You may have to look for the highest paying TEFL countries with job openings if you are looking to make some fast cash. Otherwise, if it is just an experience you want, such as a gap year with a difference, then being stuck in a little village in the mountains won't be such a good idea.
You may want to opt for the tranquil surroundings of Bali or even France. Doing your research beforehand is vital, because this will give you what you are looking for as a teacher, and it will help you get the best kind of TEFL employment that you can find.