2. Equip Yourself!

Teaching English is Serious Business

You may have heard of the fantastic salaries paid by some foreign countries to anyone whose native language was English. Well, forget about it for your own sake. With the proliferation of English speakers and language academies worldwide this is simply a pleasant memory. If you are looking for such fools this book is not for you.

People around the world learn English for the simple reason: they want to improve their lives and have more opportunity. This is not about having fun in the classroom. This is serious stuff and anyone who does not understand it should not go overseas. 

If you have some experience teaching ESL in North America -- you will soon find out that your overseas students are DIFFERENT. They are more demanding, more motivated and have higher expectations of their teachers.

Always remember that the average TEFL student has to pay a small fortune to take his English class. Teachers who don't take their jobs seriously will soon smell trouble. Your students expect quality and professionalism in return for their hard earned money. 

MYTH. English is my native language. I don't need any special training to teach it. Right?

Wrong! Here's why. 

Speaking a language and teaching it are two very different activities. There are indeed people gifted by nature who can teach without any special training. However, your potential employer will not be easily convinced that you are one of them. Most reputable schools will not even give you a chance. 

If you want to prove us wrong -- go ahead, we have no problem with that. If your goal, however, is to find a good job and have a great time abroad -- you need some special training. Trust us.

The question is not whether you need a certificate. The question is WHAT certificate you need.

RULE #1

Prior to going overseas, obtain the best TEFL certificate you can afford.

The market is saturated with ESL/EFL courses so the first real problem you will have to solve is selecting the right certificate program. A lot of people make bad choices that result in many regrets later on.

Before we give you the list of the best programs, make sure you understand 

What is important in a certificate course:

1. Your prospective employer must recognize your credential to begin with. This seems obvious but a lot of people never even ask the simple question of whether their certificate will have any value in the eyes of the overseas recruiters! 

What good is a certificate that rings no bells to the schools? It is the same as printing one yourself at a Kinko's -- at a much cheaper price. Don't kid yourself: an inadequate certificate is as "valuable" as the paper it's printed on.

2. Your certificate must have no restrictions. You must be able to apply to any school in the world. Why? Because the market is fluid and you will need to be able to look for work globally. What good is a certificate program that is proprietary and not recognized everywhere?
3. Your certificate must provide you with adequate skills. Don't take this subject lightly. Overseas students have a high level of expectation. If your professional level is inadequate you won't have to wait long until you run into trouble. The students will either complain to the school or confront you or both. There is nothing more embarrassing.
4. Your credential must have enough weight to make your job search easy. The programs that offer rigorous training and testing are well known to recruiters. 

It is important because you may be hired solely on the merits of your TEFL credential! It saves you a lot of money: oftentimes you will have no personal interview; the reputation of your TEFL certificate will speak for itself! 

Otherwise you will need to travel for a personal interview or/and give a demonstration lesson. Of course, there are also desperate schools that will hire almost anyone -- as long as you are ready to work for little or no money.

5. Your certificate must place you on top of the pay scale -- with the most reputable schools. TEFL jobs are not the highest paying positions so it is essential to earn the top dollar (franc) if you want to enjoy yourself and have fun. 

Secondly, your job security will be much higher. Those who "save" by opting for a quick and easy program will find themselves at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to signing contracts. Do you really want the lowest paying job with the least reputable school? And then be the first one to go if there is a budget cut?

6. Perceived value. Those who have no teaching experience are at a disadvantage. Experience means a lot to schools. If a TEFL credential is all you have up your sleeve make sure it is a good one!
7. Graduate credits. Finally, if you are serious about teaching overseas your TEFL training program must offer you credits should you decide to pursue an advanced degree. 

So... what are the best TEFL Training Courses? Great question!

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