TEFL is the easiest way to live the dream. To live and work abroad, possibly in a different country every year drinking in everything it has to offer before moving on to the next adventure. You don't need any qualifications other than the TEFL course, and you don't need to speak another language as the class is expected to converse with you in English. Alternatively you can use the qualification to make a living working from home teaching English online. There's plenty of parents who want their child to get a head start in the English speaking world and are more than happy to pay for your services to help. We'll start with what for me is the real draw of TEFL though...
Travel for free teaching English abroad
As the I-to-I website says 'A TEFL course opens doors. Not only will you experience new cultures in a way no tourist ever could, but you’ll also meet friends for life whilst sharpening your teaching skills. What’s more, there’s a huge demand for English teachers worldwide, both online and in the classroom – and all you need is our internationally-recognised i-to-i qualification to start your adventure. Exciting times!'
Here's the thing, we're living in uncertain times, at the point of writing this we're in the midst of a global pandemic, jobs are been lost left right and centre, and for many people it's time to make a change. I know plenty of people working in offices, bars and retail in particular who have just kind of ended up there, it wasn't planned, it was just a way to make ends meet. Maybe it's time to invest in yourself, learn some new skills, and do something you really enjoy.
I'm going to assume as you're sat here reading a travel websites blog you're probably quite keen to get abroad, so why not get paid to do it? And in some cases get paid really well to do it. The United Arab Emirates, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea in particular pay a small fortune to TEFL teachers, while also throwing in perks like subsidised housing and travel costs. And that's just the teaching you do in classrooms. You'll also find plenty of parents happy to pay you to provide extra tutoring for their kids out of school time as they try to help them further their prospects.
Pretty much every country needs TEFL tutors, and even most colleges in the UK offer English as a second language classes with TEFL teachers providing the learning. A quick glance at https://www.tefl.com/job-seeker/ or https://www.tefl.org/tefl-jobs-centre/ will give you an idea of the sheer scope of travel potential a TEFL qualification gives you. I'd always suggest looking beyond the salary to the perks of the job and ensuring you're working somewhere you'd feel comfortable spending a long period of time.
By teaching TEFL abroad you aren't just travelling for free, you're also helping people, and gaining a much greater understanding of the people, and the culture of the country you choose to teach in. No matter what anyone tells you no holiday will ever get you the kind of insight into a city that living there and spending time with the residents will. You'll get to know the locations far beyond the tourist traps and main attractions, and you'll feel what it's like to be part of the community. Teaching TEFL abroad is a genuine chance to grow and experience something unique each school term.
A quick look on the i-to-i website will show you glowing endorsements from both pupils and language school employers. But you don't have to take their word for it as reviews.co.uk have over 4000 reviews of their courses with an average score of 4.6 out of 5. But just to give you a feel of some of the stories here's a couple I particular enjoyed reading...
'Thanks to i to i, One year and a half ago I came to Granada in Spain, I have a partner, I work as not only an English teacher in a fantastic academy but also as a Theatre teacher in a private school! I have a lovely house and fantastic life!! I love teaching and my students are great!! This is all true!! I am the happiest I have ever been, thank you!!'
'It all happened so quickly, I applied for a job in Taiwan on the Wednesday, got the job on the Saturday and was out here by Thursday. To everyone still doing their TEFL or thinking of doing it, the doors it can open for you are just amazing. You don’t realise it until you actually finish the course and start sending your diploma off, but English speakers are so well respected and sought after, you can literally go wherever you like and start a new life. So scary (I felt sick on the flight over) but so exciting.'
'Doing TEFL didn’t change my life, it SAVED my life. I was going nowhere in the UK and I was frankly, depressed and not much fun to be around. I had no self-worth or confidence. I felt like I couldn’t do anything – that I was existing rather than living. Now I have value, confidence, esteem, a job that matters and new people in my life that love me.'
So go on take the plunge, have an adventure, earn some money and live the dream.
Work from home with TEFL
Obviously travelling across the world, spending months at a time out of the UK doesn't fit everyone's life style. Fortunately you don't always have to leave the comfort of your own home to make money from TEFL. If you go on most job search sites and put in working from home you'll find the one job that comes up time and time again is teaching English as a second language. The jobs start around £10 an hour, but you can certainly earn substantially more than that as you gain experience. Perhaps one of the biggest bonuses of working from home is that you're very much pandemic immune so while the rest of the world locks down you can carry on earning. You also get to pick and choose your hours. Think about it, it's always day time somewhere in the world so if you want to do your teaching at two AM that's fine as it'll be ten AM in Beijing.
By teaching English as a second language from home you can still get a taste of a different lifestyle and culture through your communications with your pupils so you don't miss out on the whole travel experience, just the warm weather. Because you don't need any qualifications other than the TEFL one to teach it really is a career path which is open to everyone. Whether you want a whole new career, a little bit of extra income on the side, or just a new adventure there's no doubt that getting a TEFL qualification can open doors for you. Then it's just down to you to decide where the door leads...