You were born to do this. Teaching English as a foreign language is a thrill. You’ve got the TEFL bug. Your passion for teaching, working with students of all ages, and equipping others with a skill set that will propel them in their personal and professional lives means you’re halfway to knowing how to become TEFL certified. Well, maybe a quarter of the way there, at least.
Remember, not all TEFL certification courses are created equal, so you’ll need to find a stellar TEFL course— online, in-class, or in-country! Once you’ve decided on the course to take, we’ve got a few secrets to share so you know exactly how to become TEFL certified successfully, whether you choose online or abroad.
The Secret to Acing Your TEFL Course Online
Let’s be honest, sifting through online TEFL course websites to find one that’s perfect for you doesn’t sound like the best way to spend a weekend (here are things to look for in an online TEFL course to help speed up the process). Once you identify the online TEFL course that works best for your end goal you can breathe easy; you’re over the biggest hurdle! However, taking TEFL courses online does not mean you can put your yoga-pant clad legs on the table and totally relax— you have some serious work ahead of you! Here’s how to become TEFL certified online successfully:
1. Be consistent.
Online means easy, right? Wrong. Online courses, especially ones that are accredited, will require the same, if not more, effort as their in-person equivalents. One way to battle the lure of thinking online means easy, or that self-paced means cram everything to the end, is to keep a consistent study and class ‘attendance’ schedule. Set aside a time each day (or each week) that you dedicate to completing your coursework or listening to online lectures. Break down your online TEFL course into manageable pieces of time, while maintaining a consistent schedule, will help keep on the right path to becoming TEFL certified.
2. Connect to a community of other online learners.
Did you choose an online TEFL course because of its convenience? Of course you did! Did you choose an online TEFL course because you don’t like other people? It’s unlikely considering where the professional path a TEFL course will lead you. While online courses are fantastic for accommodating your current lifestyle, they can be isolating. Battle the online course blues by finding someone else who is taking the same course as you, or who already took the course and is now living the dream as an ESL teacher! Having someone else to bounce ideas off of or dream about your life after your TEFL course will keep you on track and motivated to complete, and ace, your coursework.
The Secret to Acing Your TEFL Course Abroad
TEFL courses abroad take an extra arsenal of skills and strategies, but there are some serious benefits of doing the whole TEFL thing abroad. Here’s how to become TEFL certified abroad:
1. Do your research.
Are your bags already (mentally) packed because you’re ready to go anywhere to take a TEFL course abroad just so you can get away? Whether you want to hightail it to South Africa, Japan, or the United States, take the time to consider the pros and cons of wherever you choose to take your course. From the cost of living to the number of other expats to climate, there are a lot of factors that will impact your quality of life – thus impacting the quality of the work you put into your TEFL course. Deciding where to take your TEFL course abroad is a big decision that will shape the course of your life for years to come...not to put any pressure on you! Read TEFL program reviews and give some thought to where you would like to live as you earn your certificate, which brings us to our next secret…
2 . Enroll in a country you can see yourself staying for awhile.
Do you see yourself teaching ESL in Thailand or taking a TEFL course in Prague? Spend time visualizing what your teaching career looks like. You could have a better chance getting a job as an ESL instructor in a country where you took a TEFL course, simply because you’re already there. Give serious thought to what kind of life you would like to lead as a TEFL instructor, because if you’re happy in your surroundings, that will extend to your happiness as a TEFL instructor—and your ability to become TEFL certified!
The SUPER Secret to Acing ANY TEFL Course
While online and in-person TEFL courses will require different approaches in order to excel, there are some universal truths when it comes to acing any TEFL course…
1. Keep an open mind.
There are a lot of misconceptions about TEFL certifications; from the kind of people you’ll meet in the TEFL world to the best approaches for teaching English as a Second Language, everyone has an opinion. Becoming TEFL certified will require you to keep an open, and inquisitive, mind about not only your coursework, but the world around you.
Why is being a TEFL instructor important to you? What drives the mission of the organization offering your certification? What is life like for the people living in the city where you’re taking your TEFL course (whether it’s online or in person!)?
2. Be flexible.
Class was supposed to be on Wednesday morning at the agreed upon location (either virtually or IRL), but at the last minute was moved to Thursday afternoon across town (or on another online platform). The teacher who agreed to support you in getting your practical teaching hours no longer has the time to mentor you. You get the idea, plans change and life happens. You’re going to have to be flexible in order to adapt. Keep a flexible mindset and know that plans are going to change—and that you can adapt to them!
3. Get excited.
OK, maybe this isn’t a secret. But, if you’re not already excited about acing your TEFL course and setting off (either domestically or abroad) to teach English as a Second Language, then we strongly encourage you to do so! While it’s easy to get bogged down in the decisions you have to make (Which course? Which country? What to pack? When to go?) about how to become TEFL certified, make sure to take some time to celebrate the fact that you’re taking an incredible next step in your TEFL journey - and we know you’re going to ace it!
But wait…Can you fail a TEFL Course?
Short answer: Yep, you sure can.
Long answer: If you commit yourself to the course, put in the elbow grease, communicate with instructors, and stay on top of your assignments it’s very unlikely you will fail your TEFL course. Acing your TEFL course is entirely up to you.
Most certification courses are the equivalent of a five to six credit hour course at the university level, so be ready to work hard— especially if you are taking your TEFL course abroad. It’s not going to be a beach vacay! When you put into practice the secrets revealed above and take the time to read reviews, reach out to providers, course advisors, and program alumni there will be no doubt about how to become TEFL certified.