Published 12th October 2015
This seems to be the ultimate question and a difficult one to answer, actually. You may have heard stories of somebody’s cousin’s friend who was offered a job in Thailand while there on holiday, who is now living in a tiny Thai village near the beach, or your neighbour’s sister-in-law who doesn’t have a degree or any kind of a teaching qualification but managed to find a job in Kuwait and now has decided to never come home. These things happen, but then again, people also win the lottery. It doesn’t mean it will happen to you.
What also needs to be considered in these situations is what the job entails. Employers that will hire teachers without qualifications are probably not the most established schools, or the most reputable. The jobs may be in rural areas, in smaller schools or in schools with fewer resources. It is out of necessity that they hire teachers without qualifications usually, not choice. Think about it: what other reason would you have for hiring an unqualified person, other than the fact that you can offer them a lower salary or they will accept worse working conditions?
Because there are so many TEFLers running around the world, employers have a lot of talent to choose from. Granted there are endless jobs out there, but there is also huge competition from other teachers. The way to make sure your resume gets put on the top of the pile rather than in the bin, is to have a good quality TEFL certificate behind your name. The days of backpacker teaching are over, as more and more employers are doing their research and having a look at the institute that gave you your certificate. The bigger and more well-known that institute is, the better it looks on your resume and the more likely you are to be given interviews and, hopefully, jobs.
On a more practical note, being a TEFL teacher is not easy and a TEFL course will provide you with some sort of guidance and knowledge which will help you cope in the classroom. Teaching can actually be quite a nightmare if your class is completely out of control, bored out of their minds or not comprehending what you are trying to do; knowing what to do in different situations is a necessary skill no matter what the teaching situation.
So, the bottom line? Even if you don’t think about doing the TEFL from an employment perspective, consider doing the TEFL just for your own peace of mind and future sanity.