Newbie, looking for advice re: certificates, degrees etc.

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Newbie, looking for advice re: certificates, degrees etc.

Unread postby Padmeister » 24 Feb 2012, 16:33

Hello, this is my first post here.

First, allow me to explain my situation. I am from the UK and have just completed teflexpress.co.uk's '120 hour Advanced TEFL Online Course'. I have no teaching experience and do not have a degree.

From browsing these forums I have been able to gauge that this is practically worthless in enabling me to get a job somewhere. It has however sparked my enthusiasm for pursuing teaching English.

Can anyone give me advice as to what to do next or if there are any possibilities with the limited background I have?

The online course says it prepared me for the TKT exam. Should this be what I do next? I've also thought about doing a weekend course to get some interactive practice with actual people (something that obviously isn't possible with an online course. Is this worthwhile?

I have also noticed that some sites, including teflexpress.co.uk, offer internships aimed at those with little to no experience. Usually, the first month or so is training followed by a teaching position. Is this more suitable to someone with my background?

Sorry for all the questions it's just that this is all rather new to me!
Padmeister
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Re: Newbie, looking for advice re: certificates, degrees etc

Unread postby Briona » 25 Feb 2012, 21:13

Hi Padmeister,

As you have gathered, online certificates are not really worth the paper they are written on. They do, however, offer a reasonably cheap insight into what TEFL involves. I did one as a sort of 'taster' course and the knowledge I gained from it gave me an edge over my fellow trainees when it came to doing the CELTA.

In terms of further training I'd strongly recommend that you look into doing a CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL. Taken intensively over four or five weeks, both are 120hr in-person courses which include the all-important 6hrs of observed teaching practice (teaching real students). At £1,000+ they don't come cheap but will open more doors from day one than an online TEFL certificate and a "weekend" course ever will.

Talking of which, steer clear of "weekend" TEFL courses. An increasing number of employers refuse to accept them as the "teaching practice" involves teaching fellow trainees rather than real students.

That said, before you look into further training, you need to consider where you want to work. You may not be aware that the options for those without a degree are seriously limited and that the list of countries where you can legally work is rapidly decreasing. Currently your best (confirmed) bets in Asia are China, although a degree is fast becoming a requirement to get a Z Visa, Cambodia and Laos. Note that by 2015 with ASEAN integration (the Asian EU) neither Cambodia nor Laos will be an option.

In South America, Costa Rica and Ecuador still accept those without degrees. It may be possible to work elsewhere in South America but I don't know for sure. Rule no. 1 of TEFL: do your research! :)

As you hold a passport from an EU member state, the whole of Europe is open to you. However, countries such as Spain, Italy and France are very popular with TEFLers so I'd recommend getting a CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL to give yourself the best chance of finding work. Note that no matter where you teach, some schools will insist on your having a degree.

Finally, you mentioned internships. Personally I think these are great for gap-year types who may not have travelled abroad and who want some guaranteed (paid for!) in-country support. However, I wouldn't recommend them for would-be career teachers. I've come across a few organisations who offer internships. Closer inspection shows that they place teachers in Callan schools (a fairly laughable method of "teaching" where teachers are basically script readers) or schools where you are merely a native English-speaking novelty - local teachers plan the lessons and teach the students grammar and vocabulary. You meanwhile get to talk to the students under the watchful eye of the local teacher. Doesn't sound like teaching to me!

Ooops! I seem to have written an essay! I hope it answers some of your questions. Feel free to ask any more.

Briona
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Re: Newbie, looking for advice re: certificates, degrees etc

Unread postby Padmeister » 27 Feb 2012, 17:01

Briona,

Thanks very much for taking the time to answer my questions. You have been very helpful and I now have a bit more to go on for my future plans.

One other thing, would volunteering as an English teacher be worthwhile for someone in my situation, by helping to boost relevant experience and showing enthusiasm for the role?
Are there any other ways volunteering could help?

Thanks again.
Padmeister
Registered Member
 
Posts: 2
Joined: 24 Feb 2012, 16:09
Status: Prospective Teacher

Re: Newbie, looking for advice re: certificates, degrees etc

Unread postby Briona » 27 Feb 2012, 21:47

Hi again,

Teaching experience, either paid or voluntary, will give you an insight into the world of TEFL, something that no course can really teach. It will also help when it comes to finding work as (a) employers generally prefer people with experience, and (b) you will have a relevant referee. What it won't do is open doors that are currently closed, e.g., enable you to work in countries where a degree is required for visa purposes.

Hope that helps.

Briona
Briona
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Posts: 90
Joined: 29 Jul 2009, 21:33
Location: Spain
Status: Teacher


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