Teaching English as a Foreign Language?

Ben sets out his plan to teach English as a foreign language and explains what he has been doing to make this dream a reality

Ever since I have been a young child I have had a strong desire to teach and over the years have probably taken on this role in around a dozen or so different classes, most recently when volunteering in a couple of local schools in Coventry whilst at University. But as much as I enjoyed the experience, it never really felt like it was going to be a long term career and so I guess my interest just fizzled out...

...Three years later and I'm reading through the "Working Abroad" chapter of one of the books I got for my Birthday and glaring out of the page are the words "Teaching English as a Foreign Language" (TEFL).

With a few nights spent on the Internet doing some research I was really surprised to find out that not only do you not have to be a fully qualified teacher in your home country, you don't even need to be able to speak the language of the country you would be teaching in - in fact, they prefer it if you can't!

Not only this, but if I did teach English abroad I'd be:
  • able to take a break from travelling and have the opportunity to settle in a fixed location for up to 12 months, giving me the chance to really get to know somewhere;
  • able to teach professionally without feeling like I'm signing up to a lifelong career;
  • able to get paid work on a decent salary (at least relative to the country I am teaching in) in a role that will be mentally stimulating and good for my C.V in the future; and
  • able to get the opportunity to learn another language beside English;
Having found this out, I thought I'd be a bit of a fool if it wasn't something I pursued so I signed up to an accredited TEFL Course in Birmingham comprising of a 20 hour weekend course with a further 100 hours worth of online E-Learning to be completed at home.

So come the August Bank Holiday I found myself in a windowless basement introducing myself to a group of strangers with the remnants of a rather nasty head cold (and before you think that, I had checked with my GP and he confirmed I wasn't going to be a risk to Public Health).

20 hours later, one person had quit, another had fallen head over heels in love and the tutor had a new all-time favourite student. Unsurprisingly, I was responsible for all three.

Drama aside, the course (for me at least) was really good. The tutor was great, the lessons thorough, the material concise and the pace well timed. Highly recommended.

All that was then left was to go through the online learning, but like hell was it going to take me 100 hours... Oh no, I crossed the finishing line in less than a quarter of that time still somehow managing to pull a 90% score out of the bag.

So here we are. TEFL for some will mean a crushed dream, where for others it will mean a crushed heart. But for me? Well it's another success, a glowing reference and ultimately, it's the accreditation that will allow me to teach and help fund this upcoming adventure.