5 tips for a successful TEFL experience

TEFLPlus’ 5 simple tips to achieving your dream of teaching English overseas

  1. Enrol with an accredited course provider, approved by the Ministry of Education in the country of your choice and preferably with a measurable quality standard. The training course should cover lesson planning, classroom management, teaching methodology and a review of English grammar – as a minimum. The more teaching practice classes you can get, the better – you’ll need these to build your English teaching skills and confidence. To this end, it is better to take a class abroad where foreign students for practice classes will be readily available.
  2. Don’t choose a course just because a ‘job’ is promised at the end of the training. Wherever you will work, you need to check out the location, school, staff and environment before you commit. It’s better to take a TEFL course in or near the country of your choice and then look for work after you have arrived. You are virtually guaranteed a job upon completion of any decent TEFL course.
  3. Don’t book a course with free accommodation or free flights involved. There are many examples of teachers being placed in dirty hell-holes on arrival, or having to reimburse the cost of the flight when they choose not to work in the terrible places already arranged for them. If something sounds too good to be true, it certainly will be! There’s a good reason why some training centres and schools offer flights and accommodation: they are desperate to get teachers, but the teachers never stay too long.
  4. If you can, talk to people who have already done one of the TEFL courses you are interested in or ask for email addresses of past course participants. Of course, the training centre will give you email addresses for people they know will give a good report, but all the same it is worth investigating. If they can’t put you in touch with a few ex-trainees, just walk away. Better still, if you have the time, sit in on a course for a day or two before committing. Any quality course provider will be happy to allow this.
  5. Consider carefully your reasons for wanting to teach English overseas. You should be interested more in the adventure than the possibility of making money. The salaries in Korea or Japan are pretty good, but the cost of living is high so you won’t have much left over. And the people in Korea aren’t the friendliest in the world! Thailand can provide a great lifestyle and it’s cheap, safe and friendly. Your income from teaching English will be ample to live on and maybe save a little, depending on your lifestyle. If you choose to live somewhere like Phuket, at least you’ll be able to spend your weekends exploring the hidden beaches!

Teaching English overseas can be a life-changing experience for the right and wrong reasons. Make sure you plan as much as possible and don’t be scared to ask for advice. Email the knowledgeable staff at TEFLPlus if you have any queries about TEFL courses, living and working in Thailand, or anything else you’re unsure of. Follow our simple tips and you’ll probably have the time of your life. Good luck!