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So, you’re ready to teach English as a foreign language, great!
Finding the perfect TEFL course can be difficult though — of course, any course provider claims that his training is the best.
But if you clearly understand what YOU expect from your TEFL course and how you are going to use it, your search will become a whole lot easier.
We want to help you out with 7 questions to ask yourself when you are hunting for the TEFL course that is the best fit for you and what you need.
Table of Contents
1. How Do I Learn?
Are you a visual learner? (learn by seeing) Auditory learner? (learn by listening) Kinesthetic learner? (learn by doing)
Can you study solo or do you prefer working with a group/on a team?
Considering your own personal learning style will help you figure out if a course will help you learn the material needed to gain your TEFL certification in a way that you can properly absorb.
Everyone prefers different formats and everyone learns differently so there is no “one size fits all” answer.
Once you know what your learning style is, you will be able to make a better decision for yourself.
2. Which Is Better for Me: An Online Course or an In-Person Course?
This is one of the most commonly asked TEFL questions.
Can you take the necessary time to do an in-person training? These courses are typically a month, 9:00-5:00 with homework.
One month off work isn’t doable for everyone. Plus, you will need to factor in the cost of the course which is substantially higher than an online course.
Additionally, if you don’t have a local provider, travel, food, and accommodations during that one-month period need to be tacked on too.
Pretty soon, it’s becoming a time consuming, pricy option.
On the other hand, can you handle working on your own and managing your own time during an online course experience? Or are you someone that needs more support? Both options have their pros and cons.
Good online TEFL courses offer a great deal more flexibility, but you have to do the research to find one that will give you proper support and a dynamic learning experience.
In-person courses have the element of discussion and human interaction that online courses can not offer.
3. How Do I Plan to Use My Certification?
If you’re a TEFL newbie, the answer to this question may be unclear right now and that’s ok. But, if you have some idea of how you want to use your TEFL certification, it will help you better select a course.
Some people teach English for their whole career. Others do it as a volunteer opportunity over one summer. And others choose to take a 2-year hiatus and teach abroad while they explore the world.
Online teaching is becoming increasingly popular too.
Which one is you?
Some options here could be:
“I am going to be a volunteer teacher for a few months over summer break.”
“I want to take a gap year and live and work abroad as an English teacher.”
“My goal is to live as an expat for an extended period of time and teaching is my gateway to financing that dream.”
“I want to teach online because I’m a stay at home mom and I’d like to make some extra income.”
Whether your plans involve a short-term stay or a long-term commitment, you will need to find a course option that gives you basic skills for the classroom.
Some courses are just a sheet of paper that doesn’t teach you much of anything. Others are very robust and prepare you for a wide variety of teaching situations.
Do you want to be a good teacher and prepare or do you just want the paper? The answer to this question will help you weed out many courses.
4. Am I Going to Need Help in Finding a Job?
If the answer to this question is “Yes”, then you will want to look at TEFL providers with good reviews that can connect you with the right institutions.
Watch out for the “guaranteed job” offer from many (but not all) companies. This can be a warning sign because it points to an agreement between the TEFL provider and most likely a poor-quality school whose standards are very low for new teachers.
The TEFL company takes a $100-$500 kick-back for providing the school with your service and they fulfill their commitment to you by guaranteeing you a job.
This could mean that you will be living in an undesirable location, earning lower wages, or placed in a school that doesn’t have the proper resources or programming to support you.
With that being said, a good provider who guarantees a job will be very upfront with you about what they require for them to place you.
They will be ok for you to speak with the school or with alumni and you should ask to do this regardless of whether the job is guaranteed or not.
The bottom line here, don’t take a provider’s word for it, ask some more questions and you’ll easily figure out who is legit and who isn’t.
Find a TEFL provider that can help guide you in your job search and offer support in interviewing, resume building, country selection, and connections with high-quality institutions.
A good course should have someone who you can email to ask questions to. A real person, not just a chatbot.
5. Where Do I Want to Teach?
TEFL certification brings a world of opportunities. You can take your certification to almost any country in the world!
If travel is something you love, the choice of where to go to teach can be difficult to make. However, we suggest deciding this early on. After all, you can always change your mind or teach in several different countries.
But you will want to get a certification that will be accepted in the country you have your eye on, it likely will be. You can do this by just getting in touch with the company.
Also, keep in mind that while TEFL is accepted almost everywhere, a new teacher’s citizenship will ultimately be the limiting factor for many people.
Check with the TEFL company about visa information. While TEFL companies aren’t immigration specialists, they can usually point you in the right direction.
6. How Much Do I Want to Push Myself?
Life as an English teacher abroad is awesome and amazing in so many ways, but there is definitely a spectrum as to how far you want to push the boundaries of your comfort zone.
Some people set their sights on living in a developed nation, probably in a nice urban environment, where they can have their creature comforts and still enjoy learning a new culture and language.
Others dive head first into the unknown and want to live in a small village in a developing country and teach in a one-room school that has dirt floors. One thing that’s great about TEFL is the wide range of opportunities.
Keep this in mind when you are considering your course options. Some courses will emphasize lesson planning that implies you will have access to any supplies you need, while others are focused on teaching you the skill of lesson planning which can be independent of a textbook, worksheets, and other basic school supplies.
7. How Can this Training Help Me Long into the Future?
What do we mean by “long into the future”? Well, in our opinion, TEFL certifications can be useful far beyond your teaching career.
Because teaching is a career that involves improving your communication skills and your people skills – both of which are vital to most jobs.
So, before you latch onto the cheapest TEFL course you can find, think about what you are building for yourself now and in the future. A good foundation will set you up for success not only in teaching but in other areas of your life as well.
After asking yourself these questions and thinking about what you want for yourself, you should have a bit clearer picture of what TEFL course is best for you.
Remember, a good course will always have someone who you can email to answer questions and guide you through the process.
Best of luck to everyone looking for the best TEFL course!