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Teaching English abroad could prove to be a wonderful experience. Some people take advantage of speaking English and pursue a new life in a different country. Many people dream of being able to travel often but are dubious as to how to take a leap and start. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) could be the first step into a new life.
There is a before and after in the life of an English as a foreign language teacher. I used to work as an IT Administrator prior venturing into the world of teaching. Tired of living behind a desk, I wanted a change in my life. After thorough research and a leap of faith, I chose Japan as my destination. My unhappiness was my fuel to complete my certification and this big move. Becoming an English teacher provided me the independence and freedom I have always been seeking. I was eager to see and experience the world.
How to Teach Abroad
If you are willing to jump into this extraordinary adventure, there are a few tips I can share with you to get you started.
1. Get Certified
If you choose to be certified, there are many different options to choose from. You should make sure that whichever you want is TEFL certified by an accredited institution. Most courses take at least 120 hours, and they will give you a head start to begin looking for jobs right away. While you brush up your skills, you can check out the several TEFL teaching forums online that will give you hints on where to get started. While most places hire candidates with a Visa, becoming a TEFL certified teacher could pave the way to a Visa sponsorship. I am not implying this is an easy task, but it might help you land your first job at your desired destination.
The certification I used was through Premier TEFL. They have online certifications that are nationally and internationally accredited. The company offers courses from 120 hours to 290 hours of classroom time. It is a well rounded company and they have something for everyone that is interested in TEFL. I love online classes, but I thought it would be beneficial for me to get some classroom time as well. I took the blended course, which allows you to take some of the course online but also gave you some classroom time. If you are unsure which certification is best for you, they have an all you need to know to pick the right certification page as well.
2. Finding Your First Job
After getting your TEFL certification, it is now time to find your first TEFL assignment. Premier TEFL offers job placement after the completion of one of their certification courses. TEFL jobs are in high demand and job placement by a credible resource will put you at the top of the hiring list.
Life As An TEFL Teacher
Being an English teacher has given me the much-sought independence anyone craves from any job. I schedule my classes any way I want. Therefore, my day starts at about 8 a.m. each day. I hit the gym, grab a cup of coffee with friends, and then head to the classroom. This way I start my day energized and with good vibes.
When I was looking for a place to begin my new life, I made sure to find a place nearby a train station. This ensured that my commute time would not to exceed 20 minutes. It also ensured that I was close to the social scene. As there are plenty of schools in Japan, this was not much of an issue. I usually hop on the metro and in a few minutes, I’m at the school ready to begin class.
Working an average of 5 hours a week is more than enough for me. This way I can live a sociable life and ride my bike all over Tokyo, an activity I love to do. Meanwhile at home, I spend about an hour and a half planning my lessons and correcting papers.
In conclusion, teaching English as a foreign language not only opened up new doors for me, it provided me with more freedom than I have ever sought. It has given me enough stability to pursue my dream of traveling. Teaching will not only let you influence other people’s lives with each encounter, but you will also find yourself gaining more expertise and enriching yourself. I was given the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone, which shaped me as a more independent individual.