Teaching EFL can be a rewarding and enjoyable vocation. It allows many people to fulfil a dream, be it working with children, imparting language knowledge, travelling, experiencing different cultures, or the challenge of the classroom environment. However, it is also important to be realistic about your expectations of the job.What TEFL offers:
Working in another country - English teachers are in high demand in many countries and with the right qualification, you should have little difficulty in finding a job overseas.
Self improvement - not only will you be gaining pleasure from imparting knowledge, but you will also improve your own language skills.
Experiencing a different culture - there is no better way of getting underneath the skin of a culture than by working in that particular environment.
Travelling - one of the best ways to earn money and travel at the same time. A recognised TEFL qualification is your passport to this.
Gaining experience of working with children - most young people want to learn English and motivation levels can be high. Many people say that this is a very rewarding experience.
Making a difference - this is especially true if you work for a non-government organisation that is working to improve the opportunities available to the world's poorest. Even in a relatively affluent society, English teachers can help promote understanding through the exchange of information and culture.
Conversing with someone in their second, third or fourth language and realising that you have helped them to get there is nothing short of inspirational.
Points to consider:
Pay can be lower than many people expect. It is important to remember that there is no union or governing body that organises and regulates the TEFL industry. Schools are often private, and free to set their own wages and employment packages. You may find that the pay is not quite as high as you had hoped, but don't let that detract from what can be a great experience.
Working hours can be irregular Of course this depends on the kind of institution that you work in, but never forget that a teacher's life is an unpredictable one at best. You could be working a shift pattern based around morning and afternoon sessions, there may be extra curricular "activities" that were not mentioned, there may be cultural events, or parents' evenings to deal with, and you may not be working full time. This can prove stressful sometimes, especially with the amount of planning and material preparation that you may have to deal with as a teacher.
Contracts are not always what they seem Read it very carefully. When is your start date? When is your finishing date? Is it renewable? How much work is guaranteed? What are the clauses in it? All paperwork should always be read very carefully before being signed.
There is more work than there first appears As most newly-qualified EFL teachers will know from time spent on their courses, teaching is a job that requires a lot of extra input outside of the classroom, be it in extra tuition, lesson planning, preparing materials, marking tests, writing reports, or various other activities. This can often lead to long nights, and periods of stress and pressure when there is a lot to be done. Don't let this deter you! Most of us go through the same thing at some point in our careers.
Finding Full Time Employment in the UK is not always easy. It is usually very convenient to work within the UK, and it is a lot of people's first choice. However, obtaining permanent employment in EFL can be quite difficult. Your chances are increased if you possess a DELTA, but there are a lot of people fighting for the same few jobs. Summer school work, and short term contracts are more usual.
Whatever the reason you chose to get into TEFL, there is so much to be gained from it. The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, and there is nothing more satisfying than when a student expresses a thought that was previously beyond their language capability.