For the purpose of this article I assume that there is absolutely no difference between TEFL and TESOL, they are both a means of teaching English to people who do not have it as their first language.
So why do people think to themselves sitting at home, maybe I will train to be a teacher, but not a regular teacher that we all grew up with at school. But someone who teaches the English language to non English speakers in foreign countries. Well the reasons are varied but almost everyone can identify themselves with at least one. Some realize that the jobs they work in are not quite what they thought they would do growing up. So in search of excitement and something more worthwhile they sign up to TEFL. Others like myself are really gypsies and have a great urge to travel the world, we want to see everywhere, meet everyone and have a great time doing it. One problem though, that it costs a lot more money than the average Joe can afford. So lets think, do I plunge myself into some more ridiculous debt while still having university debts unpaid, or do I work my way round the world. Bit of a problem though, who likes working especially if the job is something like illegal laboring or picking grapes for peanuts.
So one day I became aware of the solution to my problem, I met a TEFL teacher back home in Ireland, who after a conversation and a few Guinness we talked about travel, this led her to tell me about her travels and how much fun it was to teach in different cultures, and meet so many friends from around the world. My immediate response was where and how do I apply, and what are you drinking? I finally found a way to tell my boss there?s the keys, you manage the restaurant you f***ing rich c***. So next thing was research, after ten minutes on the web I knew more and more, I thought that?s it I?m off to Buenos Aires. Although writing this in Phuket, Thailand I did it, most of the reason why is written above but also because after a few clicks and correspondence on the internet the dreams become reality. The only limiting factor in the decision is when will I have enough money saved, everything else could not be easier.
Being from Ireland I along with most of the people that train to become TEFL teachers come from very privileged backgrounds. Most of us have grown up never having to worry about health care, food and water, paying for education etc etc the list goes on. So when we come to these countries and teach we open our eyes a little more and become to understand. It is in our nature to try and help in some way. And we can, by opening up opportunities for the students by their ability to speak English. I firmly believe with the right attitude in most countries that seek teachers (bar Japan, Korea etc) we can make a little difference to peoples lives who are less fortunate than ourselves. And we get to travel the world and fulfill our own ambitions as well, now if that is not a reason to do TEFL, then don?t.
Who was it that said something like; I want to live and not just to exist. Dam right, break the monotonous roles many people fill, who wants to be another statistic or social security number.
Travel the world and meet new cultures, best way is to jump right in. Lets not go to as many places as possible collecting passport stamps and doing the backpacker thing just to tell people back home how many places I?ve been. Live there absorb the culture.
Author: Kieran Harkin
Date of post: 2007-02-06