Published 21st December 2016

With the field of Teaching English as a Foreign Language becoming more and more popular, there is a lot of competition for TEFL jobs, so companies want to persuade TEFL teachers that their school is the best place for employment. They come up with a range of scenarios which they use to entice you to join their ranks, and all these situations sound so dreamy and perfect. But just how truthful are they?

Let’s get to the bottom of a few of the most popular untruths about being a TEFL teacher.

If you speak English you can be a TEFL teacher

This seems quite logical. Not having to get a qualification but still being able to get a job teaching English as a Foreign Language means that you won’t have to invest time or money before embarking on the job of a lifetime. Surely if you can speak the language you can teach other people to speak it to?

Well, there’s a bit more to it than that.

Being a TEFL teacher requires more than being able to speak the language, which is why the TEFL certificate is a necessary requirement for the majority of jobs. The training and practice you receive on the TEFL course is an essential part of your preparations to be a teacher and any reputable TEFL employer will insist that you have one.

All TEFL teachers live on a tropical island

If you’re going to travel somewhere for a job, why wouldn’t you want it to be a beautiful island with clear blue seas and white sand beaches, where you can have afternoon naps in your hammock and enjoy cocktails every evening after work?

Almost, but not quite.

Of course there are these idyllic lifestyles attached to TEFL jobs in certain places, but the vast majority of TEFL teachers do not teach there. The thing is, the amazing thing about TEFL is the fact that you get to explore parts of the world you may never visit otherwise and sometimes that may not include a beach. Instead, you could find yourself in a traditional village in Botswana, the thriving metropolis of Bangkok or a mountain retreat in Italy. Plus, you can choose where you want to go – so if you’re really set on a beach, you’re sure to find one!

You will earn a fortune and be able to retire at 40

If we’re honest, salary is often a big consideration when it comes to accepting a job, so when we are promised an astronomical salary with the possibility of saving 90% of it every month, it would be hard to say no.

But if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Not all TEFL jobs can offer amazing salaries and most of the time your salary will depend on the region. You will probably be getting a good salary by local standards, but your local money may go further towards local holidays and adventures than paying off your student loan. What’s more, sometimes really high salaries don’t get you very far if you are living in a city with a very high cost of living anyway, whereas a lower salary can be more than enough in a place with a low cost of living and often a higher salary can mean you are working more hours.

Basically, don’t be dazzled by dollar signs because salary shouldn’t be your only consideration. Instead, make sure you are accepting a job where you will be happy. There are many places where you can earn a lot of money teaching TEFL – in particular, look out for jobs which provide accommodation or a living allowance as well – but don’t let money be the only reason you accept a job.

As far as we’re concerned, TEFL is one of the best jobs you can have. TEFL jobs don’t need to make outrageous claims to be attractive – TEFL is always going to be a great adventure. Whether you are looking for a job on an island or in a big city earning good money, as long as you have your TEFL certificate you’re good to go!