If you're considering teaching English as a foreign language, congratulations. You've chosen a career that many people don't attempt. Although it's one of the most rewarding jobs imaginable, the truth is that it can be a massive commitment. Of course, if you have a passion for it, then the work involved will be a true pleasure.
There are two basic ways to teach English as a foreign language. One way is to do so in your home country. All over America and other English-speaking countries, there are English classes offered by the government and by various learning institutions. These classes are designed to help non-native English speakers learn English in a fast-paced, student-centered environment. Programs like this are great for EFL teachers who can't make the commitment to travel abroad.
The other option is to teach English as a foreign language in another country. This is where the majority of teachers end up, since there is a much greater demand for teachers in the students' native countries. Teaching abroad is also considered more of a challenge because of the travel required- most teachers are expected to spend at least a year at a time in the country where they are employed.
With the spread of English worldwide as an essential tool in business communication, many foreign students are ready to learn- and they're not always children. Corporations and businesses also hold English classes for their employees who must communicate overseas. If you're not afraid of travel, the field of job possibilities is nearly endless.
The first thing you'll need to obtain to teach English as a foreign language is TEFL certification. This gives you the qualification to teach in a classroom and covers the basic structure of English grammar. There are several ways to become TEFL certified. Many language schools offer one-month certification courses. Colleges and universities can also provide TEFL certification.
Although it is possible to get a job teaching English as a foreign language without certification, your chances of employment are not nearly as good. As more and more people become certified, competition for the good positions is increasing. We recommend TEFL certification for anyone who is seriously interested in this career.
Finding a teaching job
Even if your eventual goal is to teach English in your home country, you may want to seriously consider teaching abroad at first. Most teachers start out with at least a year in a foreign country, and the experience gained in doing so is nearly invaluable.
While we don't necessarily recommend heading to a foreign country to find a job, you can certainly do so if you're feeling adventurous. However, there are plenty of resources online that can help you line up a position before you go. Many TEFL certification courses offer job placements for teachers who are interested in going abroad, and these can be a wonderful resource.
Whether you're in a foreign country or on home soil, teaching English as a foreign language can be a challenging field. Be prepared to work hard and devote a lot of time to your career, especially at first. In exchange for your efforts, you'll be experiencing firsthand one of the most rewarding and interesting jobs there is.
By Michelle Simmons