Published 17th November 2015
Becoming a TEFL teacher is a dream for many people – living in amazing places, experiencing new cultures, broadening the horizons of students – what’s not to love? And yet, there are still relatively few people who actually decide to take the plunge, do a TEFL course and become a TEFL teacher. Why, you may wonder. Well, it seems there are a few ideas and perceptions that are preventing people from embarking on the adventure of their lives. Here we debunk the five most common apprehensions about teaching TEFL.
I’ve never taught before
There will always be a first time at a job, and it’s no different for TEFL teaching. You are not expected to have any extra teaching experience besides your TEFL qualification. TEFL teaching is very different to other teaching situations. Not having any teaching experience means that you will learn to teach using the methodology commonly used in TEFL classrooms, and you won’t have to unlearn any bad habits.
I’m too shy or I’m not good at public speaking
Not many people are naturally good at public speaking and standing in front of a class of strangers and teaching can be a daunting prospect. It can be less intimidating when you remember that you are the teacher, so your students, whoever they may be, are looking to you to lead the lesson. They will follow your instructions and do what you ask because they assume that you know what you are doing. Fake it til you make it, and soon you’ll find that you are very comfortable with public speaking.
I’m too old
Age is definitely not an issue in the TEFL world. Many employers would actually prefer more mature teachers because they realise that you have more life experience and so can bring a wider world knowledge to the TEFL classroom. This is especially true when teaching EFL to Young Learners. Further, being older means that you are more likely to be able to cope better with living in a completely different environment.
I’m not very good at English grammar
The funny thing about English grammar is that students who learn English as a Second or Foreign Language actually learn more about English than native English-speakers. This is because we are taught differently, so the majority of TEFL teachers are not very comfortable with English grammar when they start out. This is the reason your TEFL course will recommend TEFL grammar reference books for you to buy and keep for the duration of your TEFL career. As you teach different structures so you learn the best way to explain them by looking them up in your grammar book, and soon you will be comfortable teaching anything!
If you are having doubts about embarking on your TEFL adventure, remember that you will never know if TEFL is the right career for you until you try, so don’t hold yourself back!