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Teaching abroad Most people who want to teach English
Most people who want to teach English overseas will eventually come to a point when they consider taking a TEFL training course. However, many teaching establishments throughout the world will hire teachers with no experience or training ' a four year college degree will do! If it is not necessary for all TEFL jobs, why spend the time and money taking a TEFL course' While it may be the case that it is not a prerequisite for every job, completing a TEFL course gives a prospective teacher many advantages over an uncertified teacher.
In Teaching English Abroad, Susan Griffith is careful to point out that a TEFL certificate does not necessary offer a straight shot to the job of one's choice: personality and experience can also factor in heavily. Griffith also maintains, however, that completing a TEFL course will never stand in the way of getting a job, and will only help the applicant, especially when personality and experience are in his or her favor. Indeed, she claims that completing a TEFL course makes the task of getting a job 'easier by an order of magnitude' (19). Thus, teachers with a TEFL certificate in hand will generally have an advantage in the job market.
Completing the TEFL course also gives new teachers an added boost of confidence. For example, when starting this course, I thought of lesson planning as intimidating and unapproachable. After learning the various ESA schemes and planning lessons of my own, however, I have much less anxiety about it! Along with confidence, new teachers are given many ideas for future lessons ' whether it range from the various ESA activities created for worksheets, to techniques for adding interest and pizzazz in the classroom.
Another reason that it is important to take a TEFL course is that it offers a review, or even an introduction, to English grammar. Griffith points out that many native English speakers are ignorant of the grammar of their own language (20). Of course this is problematic when teaching English: it would be embarrassing to students and teachers alike to know that a student is better versed in grammar than a native English speaker! A TEFL course offers prospective teachers a solid overview of important grammatical structures that they will most likely encounter in the classroom. While a teacher may not necessarily remember every usage of the future perfect continuous tense, at least she will be familiar with tense itself and she will not be facing totally foreign material. For all of these reasons, taking a TEFL course gives a clear advantage to the new teacher. However, certification is not everything. While at the end of this course I will possess a certificate, I also lack any real teaching experience ' a particular pitfall of online courses. Despite this, taking a TEFL course has the advantages of building a prospective teacher's confidence, boosting her marketability, and providing her with knowledge to help meet the challenges to come.
Griffith, Susan. Teaching English Abroad. Oxford: Vacation Work Publications, 2005.