My name is Anny, I have been working in Bogota Colombia as an English Language teacher for the last year, while also writing and travelling around the incredible country that is Colombia. I receive many questions on how I travel continuously… Here is a Q&A about how I got into teaching and some tips for individuals wanting to teach English abroad.
1. Why did you choose to work with TEFL?
TEFL chose me, I spent 6 weeks travelling around Colombia during the winter of 2015 and fell in love with the countries landscapes, people and a Colombian. After I left I knew I wanted to return and the simplest way, with the most opportunities was teaching English. So I searched the internet for jobs and what qualifications were required and I came across a TEFL course and started the online course the next day.
2. Has the TEFL programme provided you with enough opportunities for work?
While obtaining a TEFL will give you employment opportunities around the world, you are limited with some schools or institutions requiring CELTA or Masters degrees in Education. Saying this, it is possible to gain a job with a TEFL qualification in a large amount of countries, you just have to search and check job advertisement requirements.
3. I know you are now in Bogota, do you think your current location would have been different if you hadn’t gone down the route of TEFL?
I don’t think so, I chose TEFL so I could work in the city. Had I have chosen a different path I think it would have been with water skiing and not teaching.
4. How easy is the TEFL programme?
TEFL is a formal qualification, you can do the programme online, within teaching institutions or at Universities. No qualification is easy, in the TEFL you learn about different aspects of teaching, managing classroom behaviour and review the entire English language.
5. How does the TEFL programme work?
TEFL is a course covering a variety of subjects with practical teaching practice and assignments. A TEFL tends to have 30 hours of practical and up to 120 hours of theory and classroom studying.
6. Is it expensive?
TEFL qualifications vary in price, I have seen some for £50 and up to £2,000. There are a lot of problems with TEFL qualifications being awarded by non recognised bodies. You have to study the organisation and the certifying education boards while researching institutions. I would say any qualification being offered under £250 is a fraud.
7. What advice can you give someone looking to work abroad and thinking about signing up to TEFL?
The advice I would give to someone looking to work abroad teaching English is to decide what kind of institution you want to work within, if you want to work in a school or University or make a career of teaching think about a CELTA or masters degree instead of a TEFL. If you decide to go down the TEFL route research schools and institutions in the country you want to work in and look at their teacher requirements.
8. What does TEFL stand for?
Teach English as a Foreign Language certificate.
10. What are the benefits of using TEFL?
TEFL is a cheap way to gain a teaching qualification to then be able to work abroad, their courses can range from 100 hours to 150 hours in length. The course gives you the basic knowledge to be able to teach English to non native English speakers in a variety of countries around the world.
11. Do I need to learn a foreign language as well as TEFL if I am moving abroad?
While it is not necessary to learn the language of the country you are looking to move to, it is something you should think about. In order to get around and live in a foreign speaking country you need to learn at least the basics of the language, especially if English isn’t common in the country. I would advise studying the language of your new country before you leave home.
12. Do I need qualifications to be able to do a TEFL course?
You do not need any previous qualifications to undertake a TEFL qualification, you just have to be over 18 years old, be able to cope with the demands of a formal qualification and have the skills and qualities to be a teacher.
13. Can I do a TEFL course if English isn’t my native language?
Yes, you can do an TEFL course if English isn’t your native language although you will be required to have at least a C2 level of English or be fluent.
14. Can I make a long-term career out of a TEFL course?
While people have been known to have long term careers with TEFL, it isn’t common. If you want to have a long term career teaching English it is advised to study a CELTA or Master degree in teaching in order to work within an institution that offers promotions.
15. Do you have to be a certain age to do a TEFL course?
You are required to be at least 18 years old to complete the TEFL qualification.
16. Is a TEFL qualification the equivalent of an A-Level?
Nope the TEFL isn’t equivalent of an A-Level, it is a completely separate qualification with an alternative governing body.
17. Do many people you work with in Bogota have a TEFL qualification?
In Bogota individuals who work within English institutions teaching in office environments often have TEFL qualification but teachers who work in schools or Universities are required to obtain University degree (plus over 3 years experience in some cases) or a CELTA qualification.
18. Do certain job requirements include for you to have a TEFL qualification when you are looking to work abroad?
To obtain a job teaching English abroad in any country legally you are required to have a TEFL, CELTA or teaching degree. No institution in any country will hire you without one of these qualifications.