Should I do a TEFL?

By Warren Lilley

TEFL Coordinator

This is a question we get asked all the time and it can be quite a complex one to answer. So if you find yourself wondering, perhaps we can offer you a bit of guidance.

If you are someone who is thinking about Teaching English as a Foreign Language certificate (TEFL), you probably fall into one or two of the following three categories:

  1. You want a career change. A career where working, helping and teaching others is the main focus.
  2. You feel a need to travel and would like to make some money while you do it.
  3. You want a flexible career that allows you to direct where you want to go and how much and what you want to do.

If any or all of these describe you, then yes, completing any TEFL certification will allow you to pursue these dreams. TEFL can offer all of these opportunities quite freely to those who wish to pursue it.

However, what many people do not always take into account is if TEFL is the right career option for them. TEFL is an industry that is built upon a foundation of hardworking, diligent teachers who understand the role and responsibilities that come along with being an EFL teacher. Ultimately, as an EFL teacher, the students you teach are those wishing to improve their English skills in order to pursue their own dreams that come with English being placed as  ‘world language’.

What this means is that as an EFL teacher you carry a great responsibility to ensure the learning which occurs in your classroom is leading towards students achieving their English language goals. This entails extensive lesson preparation, dedication and most importantly the ability critically reflect upon your own lessons in meeting students’ language learning expectations. Moreover, learning any language is a difficult process. A lot of your time will be spent on managing learners expectations as well as their emotional and learning needs, especially when they are experiencing difficulties.

Keeping all of this in mind then you need to ask yourself some crucial questions:

  1. How well do I handle responsibility? Am I able to be responsible for others in helping them achieve their goals?
  2. Do I work well with others? Am I able to empathise in order to help students who are struggling?
  3. Am I prepared to plan and work after hours to ensure I have great learning coming into my classroom?
  4. Do I take criticism well? Am I able to reflect and critically examine my own work to find alternative and constructive solutions to issues I am experiencing?

If your answer to any of these is yes, then TEFL can be a great and rewarding career path for you. The EFL industry itself is a robust one, offering the flexibility to either enter and further develop in TEFL or stay temporarily before moving onto other career paths. The world can truly become your oyster!

With that in mind, if you would like to pursue a TEFL qualification, the UCT TEFL courses strive to cultivate creative and critical teachers who can work anywhere in the world. Why not check out our course info page for further information.


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