As Christmas passes and the New Year arrives, resolutions are ardently made over a glass of something tasty at midnight on the 31st December, perhaps your plans for 2020 include a change in your working life or a career break? If you are looking for something unusual and interesting with the ultimate in flexibility plus endless foreign travel then why not consider Teaching English as a Foreign Language? You can have a total and permanent career change or you can just dip out and take a sabbatical, either way, TEFL is totally flexible and can be just what you want it to be. You can also teach English online when you are at home in the UK or in a language school of which there are many dotted about the country.
Many people don’t even consider TEFL as they think they need to be a linguist and have a proficiency in a foreign language. Wrong! You don’t even need to be a graduate. What you will need is a love of people, an open mind and a desire to try new things – how good will that look on your CV.
The modern way to teach TEFL is via ‘total English immersion’ which is that you only speak English in the classroom to your pupils and so you will not need any fluency in the language of the host country. Clearly, though, TEFL does appeal to linguists as you can travel and enjoy amazing cultural opportunities if you are also fluent in the home language.
There are lots of training course to qualify you for TEFL and you will be well prepared to grapple with the challenges of ‘total English immersion’ in the classroom setting. But if you don’t feel confident to travel to a country where you have no language skills then you can start your TEFL journey in an English speaking nation which will make the whole process less daunting. There is plenty of time to work onto more remote destinations where English is not spoken once you have mastered the art of living and working abroad and honed your classroom skills.
The job application process is always conducted in English and this is a great opportunity for you to show off your communication skills. Equally, a CV written and presented in English will be expected by potential employers. It is a nice touch to meet and greet someone with a few words in their native tongue, a pleasant welcome or a cheery sign-off and there are loads of online language programmes like Duolingo which can get your going. This is also a useful app to have on your phone when you are abroad in case you need a hasty translation.
English is spoken in so many countries around the world that a lack of fluency in another language really should not be a barrier to embarking on a worldwide TEFL adventure. Mandarin Chinese has more speakers than English and that is probably only because of the size of China and the number of its inhabitants not necessarily because Mandarin Chinese is a more prominent international language.