As the whole world grinds to a halt, a lot of people are out of work and normal career paths (including my own!) are uprooted, I’m left thinking if now is actually the perfect time to become a TEFL-certified teacher?
My experience teaching English
Besides blogging, teaching has always been one of my biggest passions. When I was just 18, I spent a year teaching English and Economics in a rural school in South Africa. It was by far one of the most life-changing experiences of my life thus far, and living abroad shaped the person I would become and the career paths I would later take.
Throughout my University years in Dublin, I spent each summer either teaching English to French and Italian kids in English summer camps or returning overseas, such as to Northern Kenya, to teach English in remote schools.
I’ve always loved the idea of being a teacher. Sharing your knowledge and learning techniques, and hopefully making a small difference to the minds and lives of others.
Once I graduated from University I decided to spend a year teaching English in South Korea. At the time, the only requirements were to be a native English speaker, have earned a degree in any subject and to have a 120 hour TEFL certificate – and thankfully I ticked all the boxes.
Moving to South Korea, a country I knew little about, was of course pretty daunting. I didn’t know how to speak or read Korean, I didn’t know a single soul in the entire country and I was really thrown in the deep end given my first classes to teach within days of arriving.
But I quickly re-discovered my love for teaching, and the kids I had were endless fun – the perfect mix of cheeky and charming. I quickly fell in love with my life in South Korea, made friends, had a boyfriend, would socialize in Seoul at the weekends or travel around the country seeing as many Korean cities, beaches, islands and festivals as possible.
And more importantly, my expat life in Korea was what spurred me on to start this travel blog.
Can moving abroad change your life?
You see you never really know what each small and seemingly insignificant decision you make will lead to years down the line. Some decisions you make, knowing they will greatly impact your life.
For me, applying for a Gap year with Project Trust, and eventually getting selected to move to South Africa for a year was life-changing. Choosing DCU as my university of choice was life-changing. Moving to South Korea for a year to teach English was life changing. And simple being there, and deciding to start a blog, would change my life more than I ever thought possible.
Why get TEFL-qualified in 2020?
So back to my original question, about teaching English right now, in the middle of a pandemic. Or getting qualified to teach English now so you’re ready and qualified once the world returns to normality. Is NOW a good time, and WHY?
Demand for online teachers
First off, the demand for online English teachers has sky rocketed since the beginning of this year. As countries around the world closed schools and parents have been expected to home school while teachers conduct some level of lessons by phone or zoom, the demand for online teachers is ever increasing. Children (and adults) are as keen as ever to learn and being stuck at home all day with nothing to do seems the perfect time to up their english skills.
Future recruitment surge
Secondly, while we can’t travel right now, once our governments decide it’s safe to travel again, I expect there will be a huge demand for TEFL teachers around the world as any recruiting that would have happened over the past few months has to be put on hold.
Once schools and classes resume, the demand for English teachers in places like Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan and even Italy and Spain will again increase. If you’re from a English-speaking nation, have a degree and are TEFL-certified, plus maybe have a little bit of online teaching under your belt, you are much more likely to get chosen for one of these amazing overseas jobs.
TEFL certificate discounts
With the increase in demand for teachers, and the whole world in lockdown, companies offering TEFL certification are offering massive discounts to new students. You will see online course advertised all over social media and YouTube, as people finally have the time to sit down and spend a few weeks completing an online course and up-skilling.
Tefl.org, for example, who are the UK’s most experienced and accredited TEFL course provider, are offering 50% off their 120-hour Premier Online TEFL Course right now – the course recommend for people planning to teach online or overseas. The course is 100% online and students can complete it at their own pace, with a 6 month cut off period to complete all modules. On average, most students complete courses like this within 10-12 weeks, so it’s a perfect course to take on right now.
This course is usually £319 but right now they’re offering 50% off, making it £159.50. On successful completion of their TEFL training, students will receive a digital PDF and hardcopy of their TEFL Org certificate. If you are interested in taking this course, you can find more information here, and use a special code they’ve given me “Janet20” to activate the 50% discount, valid for my followers and readers only.
What’s next for me?
I don’t really know where life is going to take me over the next few months, or whether this hobby I shaped into a career will last the tests of time. I do know, however, that deep down I’ve always love teaching and for now am passing on. my knowledge through my new YouTube channel and hoping for the best.
If blogging needs to take a step back, I will happily go back to teaching. Be it online, for now, or even better if teaching English will yet again allow me to live overseas and get to know a new language and new culture.
I guess only time will tell!