Teaching English abroad is a confusing business – all those different courses and opportunities, and that’s before we even get started on the grammar! So it’s only natural that we get asked lots and lots of questions. To help clear things up, we’ve put together a list of the most common misconceptions about teaching English overseas you know just how easy it really is!
1/ Do I need to speak another language?
The most popular question asked, but surprisingly the answer is no. You don’t need to speak anything but English to teach abroad – this way you create a complete English speaking atmosphere in your class to maximizing how much your students learn as they try to understand you. And don’t worry – your TEFL course will show you exactly how to teach English to students with only the most basic language skills.
2/ Do I need any previous experience?
Many people think you need to have some kind of previous work experience or even a teaching degree to find jobs abroad. All you really need is an i-to-i TEFL qualification and your plane tickets! Teaching experience will help your chances of landing the best jobs but certainly isn’t necessary to get your TEFL adventure started.
3/ Do I need a degree?
Some countries such as Japan and Thailand do require you have a degree for visa reasons. However, there are also the ones that don’t – like China and Ecuador!
4/ Do I need to do a CELTA course?
Ahh… the much wondered question of many keen TEFL teachers – “which course is right for me?” Well the CELTA (Cambridge Certificate in English language Teaching to Adults) course is an internationally-recognized 4-week residential course, which is designed for people who want to make a full career out of TEFL. It costs upwards of £1,000/$1,597, so is certainly a commitment. However, it is more prestigious than an i-to-i TEFL course due to the depth of training it offers.
i-to-i TEFL courses aim to have the same outcomes as CELTA courses, which means they give you the same skills, but squeeze it all into a shorter length of time. If you only plan to spend a year or two teaching abroad then the i-to-i TEFL course will save you a lot of time and money, while giving you the skills you need to get paid teaching work anywhere in the world. Our TEFL courses are also internationally recognized and accredited by the ODLQC.
Both are winners… it really depends on your plans.
5/ Will I only teach children?
When you think of teaching you instantly think of school and working with children. But learning a new language is really open to anyone. You could end up teaching retirees, business people, children, teenagers or young adults. What it all comes down to is the school you’re working in and the contract you agree to!
... you might even turn into a kid yourself! (Image: uvolunteer)
6/ Can I teach English even if it isn’t my first language?
We recommend non-native English speakers have a Cambridge CAE, IELTS level 6.5 or equivalent when it comes to teaching abroad. But if you can speak English well, you don’t have to prove it to us!
Many schools overseas prefer teachers who speak English as their native language. However, as demand for TEFL teachers is so massive, there are 1000s of schools that will happily take on any fluent English speaker with a TEFL certificate. So don't let being a non-native speaker put you off.
Have questions about teaching abroad? Post them below!