This is a TEFL course review that explores the TEFL course content, process and practicalities of completing a course and getting your certificate. We also look at the why, the which and the how of passing your TEFL course and offer a couple of top tips for fast completion.
Why get a TEFL Course Certificate?
People say "you just need to get a TEFL course" and then you can start teaching English. It sounds simple but then you google search "TEFL course" and find a myriad of different courses at vastly varying prices and durations. TEFL courses include residential stays in far-flung climes, quick online 40 hour courses you can knock out in a weekend and the ever expensive and intensive CELTA.
Which TEFL course do you choose?
TEFL course confusion reigns for several more hours until you reach the same conclusion that the vast majority of people come to. The cheap short courses are unlikely to fulfil your needs and may not be recognised by schools. The CELTA is too much too soon and is a big investment of time and money. So you end up reading that most schools will let you work if you have a little experience and a minimum of 100 hours of training.
That training can be online or classroom-based. The most cost-effective way is to study online. You have also read that having some classroom experience is a valuable addition to your resume. So you end up looking selecting the 100-hour online course with an extra 20 hours classroom training at a venue near you.
How long did it take to complete the TEFL course?
I decided to take the bull by the horns and try to complete the online part of the course in a week. One hundred hours study in a week? It actually only took me around 60.
After previously completing a BSc and MSc I recognised that I did not need to get the highest score possible in each unit. The certificate that most people would see would not include separate module grades. In fact, most employers are happy with a photocopy or a scan of the original. They only really glance at it as part of the box-ticking exercise involved in the recruitment stage. You spend all this time and money getting a TEFL course certificate and no-one ever really looks at it. All you need to do then is pass each module as quickly as possible. I handed in each assignment as soon as I felt I had roughly completed it and done enough to pass. I only had one module assignment thrown back at me with a "must try harder - C minus" type grade. The rest I scraped a pass in, laughed and moved onto the next module.
Part of the course was online assessment with multiple-choice tests. These were easy and I suggest screenshotting the test page before submitting. This way you can see your previous answers should you need to resubmit it. The multiple-choice part was really quite easy.
Each module included a final assessment that needed to be marked by your course supervisor/tutor. This was a bit like the "Big Boss" at the end each level in old computer games. The assessments usually required you to write part of or a complete PPP lesson plan. It was to demonstrate that you had understood the module and that you could produce a decent plan for an actual lesson.
I complete the course after around 60 hours of working late into the night and early on weekend mornings. I was sent the certificate and a letter of recommendation shortly afterwards.
The benefits of doing the online course were that I could study from my home office and did not need to leave the hours. The TEFL course structure was specifically designed for online study. The interface and system were really simple to use. The course content was of good quality and well written. Students were supported by a personal tutor who helped us through the course when needed.
Once you pass the course, there are other resources open to you to help you on your way to a career as a TEFL teacher. These include a jobs page, flights and insurance pages and a chat room to share your experiences.
In conclusion, the course is a good quality course by a recognised supplier. It is long enough to enable you to get any teaching job that only requires a TEFL course certificate. It will not be enough to get a job requiring a CELTA or PGCE etc. You can complete the course in a much faster time if you do not try to get your best mark possible. Employers rarely look at the module marks (if at all).
The 20-hour classroom part of the course was equally as good but is a story for a different day.
Check out the original Video!
TEFL and Teaching Resources
Below are valuable resources that we have developed to help you on your journey.
You are going to need a TEFL course but you do not need a CELTA straight away. CELTA costs a lot of money and is a big capital investment. You may decide after day three in the classroom that teaching isn't for you. Or you may find after a year of teaching that you really enjoy it and want to apply for better-paid jobs that require a CELTA. That is the right time to do one.
Buy a TEFL course from a reputable course provider. I found www.TEFL.org to be excellent. Tanya then went and completed one by i-to-i and I think it is better value for money. You also get better support and bigger discounts on things and better leads to jobs.
Getting to your destination
You will need a flight to your destination. We have always found Skyscanner give us the best deals on flights. Once in the county, travel between places is best done by internal flight or by bus. You can also travel by private car/taxi. For shorter journeys around town, you can hail a passing taxi or tuk-tuk.
Where to Stay and long term accommodation
We thoroughly recommend you take our travel insurance whenever you travel. We recently had to put in a claim for over $5000 when we had to cancel our flights and other bookings and quickly fly back to the UK due to a family emergency. The claim went through very quickly and we managed to recover most of our expenses. Without travel insurance, we would have lost the lot!
You can find out more about teaching English on Tanya's travel blog at Can Travel Will Travel.
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