As some of you may be aware I am fast approaching my final year of university and with my slightly abnormal need for a plan in life I already have a pretty good idea of what I’d like to do upon my graduation. Although my ultimate career path is in public relations, more specifically music, I have always had a love and respect for teaching, especially those teaching a second language to students. As a result, I have made a few plans to briefly teach for a couple of years in foreign countries, probably Germany. I think of this as a wonderful opportunity to build on my own knowledge of English, to an extent where I feel comfortable teaching it, but also it will provide me with the chance to learn a foreign language myself as I immerse myself in that country’s culture.
Some of you may have heard of a course called TEFL or Teaching English as a Foreign Language. I am currently taking a course through one of the organisations that provide a teaching qualification under this, TEFL.org, and I have to admit this course has bee one of the most eye opening and inspiring courses I have taken. After a weekend of classroom type learning where we were taught how to plan lessons differently for grammar, vocabulary and general speech we were thrown in the deep end. Our tutor really wanted us to understand how our students would feel, entering a class where it’s possible that they don’t understand one word of the language and are quite possibly confused and intimidated. To ensure we understood how our students would feel, she made us experience the same thing: we were the students and she was our teacher teaching us Catalan in the TEFL way of teaching. In complete honesty through the encouraging, fun and kinaesthetic and visual learning employed by TEFL teachers, I learnt and can still remember more Catalan now than I can of French which I studied for over five years in school. (I really don’t understand why we don’t use these methods to teach languages in our schools, but that’s a different matter!)
The opportunities that would open up to me upon completion of this course are truly amazing and hearing what the other colleagues in the class wanted to do with their qualification is awe-inspiring; from teaching in Thailand to travelling around South America fro a year, teaching as they go, to providing opportunities to the less privileged children from where they grew up in Asia. It is definitely a qualification that any adventurous traveller should consider. It will provide you with not only an opportunity to live for longer in a place and really learn what it’s like to live there and know about it’s culture, but it also gives you the opportunity to learn a new language and give back to that society through teaching them the business language of the world. Who knows. They may grow up to be the next Bill Gates with the language that you have taught them!
It is definitely a qualification to consider and is always something you can fall back on, as well as the friendships you make from within your course. After just a day with our class it felt like we’d known each other for years. After two days we were exchanging numbers, friend requests on Facebook and creating a group for us all. The help and support you receive from within that network of people is enough to encourage you and help you through. When someone is stuck on the online grammar tests or looking for a placement in a specific country, everyone is more than willing to help. So not only will you provide yourself with a hugely rewarding opportunity through this course, but you will also open yourself up to a huge network of people with the same interests as you. Now what’s wrong with that?!