The trials and tribulations of a TEFL student

Blog - globe lock upBy Cecily Rooney, Theology & Religious studies graduate 2016 & Careers Intern 2016-17.

I’ve known I’ve wanted to do a TEFL for quite some time now. I was lucky enough to go and spend some time working in Rwanda during my second year of University which really inspired me to take the plunge and move abroad to teach.

How to decide which course?

It’s important to note that TEFL is just an acronym for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. There are a few companies on the web which have TEFL in their name, but there are also lots of other qualifications you can do such as CELTA or TESOL. When deciding which to do, it’s crucial you do your research.

  • What sort of qualification do you need for the country you want to work in?
  • What is your price range?
  • How long have you got to do your qualification?
  • Do you see yourself doing this long-term or short-term?

I spent a good few weeks mulling over these questions. I then started shopping around, asking friends and reading people’s blogs so that I made an informed decision about which qualification to do. I ended up going for as it seemed like a well-reviewed course, one which was accredited in Spain and it was in my price range. I opted for an online only course as I have some teaching experience under my belt.

The course

The course that I decided to do is no walk in the park. It takes a lot of time and effort and should not be thought of as an easy option to getting work abroad. I have learnt A LOT about grammar – who knew there was such a thing as gerund?! Fortunately, you have access to an online chat forum where other students discuss the tasks and modules. I have found this to be particularly useful and have spent many an hour reading over peoples’ tips and advice.

Finding a TEFL job

Finding a job was actually incredibly easy for me thanks to good old CareersLink. I had been advised that going for a summer job/camp would be a really good way to get some experience and also to see if I am any good at this teaching English malarkey! So with that in mind, I searched for a summer job and found an ideal one in Spain. I applied, made an incredibly cringy video, and got the job! They then offered me work in September for the academic year which was a total win-win situation.

There was also a job board on the website which had a lot of good vacancies on there. You can also use other job searching platforms in order to keep your search nice and wide. See: The TEFL guide here.

Ask everyone you’ve ever met, ever.

Networking can also be a huge help for getting you settled in a new country. If a friend of a friend of your mate Tom once lived in the country you want to go to then ask them about it. I have found people love reminiscing about their time in another country so are almost always happy to help! Besides, it’s only ever the locals who know where to find the best food and drink in a city.

And there you have it, my honest account of my TEFL search experience. Lots of contemplating, lots of research and lots of excitement to get out there and teach!

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