I’ve had a variety of jobs (journalist, proof-reader, marketing assistant, filing clerk, administrator, coffee shop barrista, window cleaner, and even a delicatessen meat cutter person), but TEFL is probably the best profession I have worked in. TEFL is the reason why I went to university.
I wanted to work abroad as an English teacher so I took a 4-year BA degree, which has enabled me to come and work in Japan – fulfilling a life-long goal. And TEFL hasn’t disappointed. Here’s why:
1. Being able to work anywhere
TEFL is a unique profession. No matter what your educational background is, a one-month TEFL qualification can allow you to work in many places around the world. If you combine that with a degree (often the discipline doesn’t matter, although languages is preferable in most cases) then the world is open. From Venezuela to Vietnam, teachers of English are required around the world and TEFL is your passport.
2. The variety of students
Many English teachers find that their day to day working life has much variety. My students range between the ages of 18 and 50, and ability ranges from minimal to erm… maximal (Is that a word?! It should be). Particularly if you take part in conversation classes, teaching can be a joy. Sometimes the people you teach are fascinating individuals, other times their enthusiasm for learning and for the English language can be infectious. It makes teaching English endlessly diverse.
3. The variety of colleagues
Your work mates are often fellow English teachers (depending on where you teach), or fellow teachers at a school. TEFL is quite united internationally, too, thanks to various Internet forums and organisations. The spirit of camaraderie among teachers can be very encouraging.
4. Seeing your students progress
Your goal is always to help your students improve their English ability. It can take time to see a marked difference, but progression is a brilliant thing to witness. TEFL is quite a worthy sort of profession; improving people’s mind and expanding their – and your own – cultural boundaries. Whether your teaching children or adults, it can be a fulfilling job.
5. The lack of paperwork
Having spent years working in an office, and having heard tales of how much paperwork there is for teachers in England’s public and state schools, the relative lack of paperwork involved in TEFL is refreshing. You prepare lessons, you teach. Every now and then certain administrative things pop up that need to be taken care of, but generally it’s a fairly hassle free job.
That’s 5 things I love about TEFL. There are other things, so maybe I’ll do another blog on this sometime. In the meantime, get in touch and let me know what you love (or hate) about TEFL.