For those keen to make TEFL their career there is plenty more challenge, tuition and education available after the initial TEFL certificate and for those who want to specialize in a certain age group of students or an expert subject, there are more courses out there to help you hone your skills and make your CV really stand out from the crowd.
Even if you don’t plan to do anything particularly major with your TEFL qualification – perhaps you are a gap year student or have taken early retirement – the key to being a successful and effective TEFL teacher is to keep an open mind, carry on acquiring skills and never stop learning.
All teachers regardless of their subject should carry on learning and developing throughout their professional careers, there will always be something you haven’t encountered before or a new teaching technique to learn and this will keep your enthusiasm for the job as fresh as the day you passed your TEFL certification.
Stay in touch
Once you leave the sheltered protection of your TEFL course, it can be easy to feel disconnected from the industry if you are teaching your way around the world or setting up an online business from the comfort of your own home. There are some websites and publications which can help you feel part of the valued TEFL family and will offer industry news and updates as well as further training and development.
Keep a link to the British Council website and another great find is BusyTeacher.org where you can share lesson plans and resources with other teachers. The Digital Teacher will keep you up to date with what’s trending in software and apps, a great way to connect with younger students.
Workshops and conferences
Staying in touch via a couple of up to the minute websites or TEFL blogs will keep you in the know when it comes to workshops and conferences. These can be a cool way to meet other TEFL teachers in what can be, let’s face it, a fairly isolated profession and you can also choose to add on or develop further skills and specialisms.
Join a professional body
This is a great way to access online and real-time support as well as open up all sorts of training and development opportunities for TEFL teachers. You will find lots of help and advice available and sometimes even discounts against courses and teaching materials.
Take a look at IATEFL which stands for the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language. Social media is littered with TEFL teaching groups particularly Facebook and LinkedIn so there is plenty of informal networking opportunities if you don’t fancy subscribing to something more formal.
Advanced TEFL courses
There are a variety of different courses available for those who already have TEFL certification but who want to specialize and land themselves the best jobs, the type of tefl courses on offer include:-
- Online teaching courses – available on platforms like Skype and Teachable and hugely popular after lockdown for Covid-19
- Teaching Young Learner – for those teachers keen to ace their skills with the little people; early years’ teaching really is its own specialism
- Teaching business English – there is a big market for this in the Asian countries and most adult learners over the age of about 21 are looking to develop their English language skills for this purpose
Career development doesn’t have to begin and end with your TEFL certificate, there are lots of great online platforms for career development and one of the best is FutureLearn. FutureLearn offers short courses that typically run over a period of between four and eight weeks and will take up around two hours of your time every week depending on the subject matter and its complexity. Some of the really interesting options offered by FutureLearn include:-
- Dyslexia and foreign language teaching
- Volunteering with refugees
- Professional Practices for English Language Teaching
Coursera offers a mixture of paid and free courses and is a portal for tuition and education provided by well-known Universities and organizations.
For what seems a random and sometimes disparate industry, it is in fact perfectly possible to stitch together a really good career path with structured progressions involving work placements and targeted educational development. The thing about TEFL is that you really do have to work this out for yourself, there is no defined route to follow as everyone’s TEFL journey is different. What is great about TEFL though is that you can write your own template and piece together your own career and work literally anywhere in the world.
What are the most important things to remember after TEFL qualification?
- Stay connected – join a group or organization, follow some good blogs and keep in touch with other TEFL teachers – there is a worldwide community out there full of friendly people with helpful advice which is especially supportive for newly qualified teachers
- Keep learning – refine and develop your skills either through more courses or tuition or just by being interested and staying involved. Teaching is all about learning and you will have a more successful and rewarding career if you look at your TEFL certificate as just the start of your journey rather than the end of it
- Design your own career path – there is nothing better for a prospective employer than to read a CV which shows good experience gained in a variety of different places and locations underpinned by further study or some other industry engagement. TEFL can be a patchwork of different job opportunities and study modules but pieced together it can create an impressive resume and a really worthwhile career
If you are searching for further TEFL training then do be discerning as there seem to be more and more courses coming on stream some of which do look rather spurious. Make sure before you part with hard-earned money that any course will add real value to your experience and resume.