April 3, 2018

Why TEFL is a career and people should stop bashing it

Sophie with her TEFL students

The other day I was browsing on a Facebook travel group (you know the ones where people seem to think travel is a competition) and I saw someone bashing the idea of teaching English abroad (TEFL).

I mean she probably didn’t mean it but her opinions bothered me a little because this isn’t the first time i’ve heard people classing teaching English as ‘not a real job.’

But it is a real job. I worked in Xi’an, China for a year and a half teaching English at a range of places, from a training school to a university. And I can definitely tell you it’s a real job.

It’s also a confidence booster

Not only did my experience working in TEFL help my career, it also gave me confidence in doing things. I gave lectures to a room of over 100 people yet when I was at university, I couldn’t even handle the stress of public speaking. But thanks to TEFL I can now share my opinions without feeling nervous about it and stand in front of a group of people and talk for ages!

It’s a rewarding experience

I’m not going all saviour girl on you but one thing that stands out from my experience teaching is one of my students Tom.

He was severely autistic and wouldn’t look at me, let alone play any of the games I had organised for the class.

His parents had brought him to the school in the hope that learning English in a small classroom environment would help.

Read more: Working abroad: Finding a TEFL job

It took a while but by the end of the term Tom joined in with the class games, he spoke to me in English. And we were all so pleased.

It felt good just to know that being in class had boosted his confidence – during the second term he wouldn’t stop talking!

There are ways to move up the ladder

From teaching at international schools to working for educational companies around the world, TEFL is a way of working up a ladder and also giving you a career that you can use anywhere in the world. You could end up training new teachers or creating the textbooks companies use. How amazing is that?!

The students get to find different ways of learning

I taught in China and their schools are very strict on the students. There is a lot of memorising involved in the classroom – don’t get me wrong, it works, but it must be an incredibly stressful environment.

Because of this, the TEFL teachers at my school tried to think of other ways of making learning fun from activities and games to creative writing.

You also get to learn other skills

Languages! Within two weeks I had learnt the Chinese for dragon, robot and princess. I mean not exactly useful in day to day life but so much fun! You can then apply these skills to other areas of life or to help you move up the ladder.

You can work anywhere!

If you want to stay working in your home country, that’s possible! If perhaps you want to try living abroad somewhere then that’s also possible too! The possibilities are endless!

Fancy working abroad? Here’s my guide on how to find TEFL jobs

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