Published 26th November 2019
2020: The Year of the TEFL Teacher is almost upon us. A new year, a new decade, a new you? With the British Council predicting that by next year there will be 2 billion people speaking and learning English, and with over 300 million English language learners in China alone, there is no better time to be a TEFL teacher.
Gone are the days when TEFL was considered a stopgap for backpackers when they run out of money, or a temporary stint for confused people. These days there’s no reason you can’t TEFL as a career, and nobody will think it odd if you want to hand in your resignation letter and hop on a plane to TEFL in some faraway destination. In fact, more and more people are discovering a lifestyle which can only be made possible with TEFL.
Why should you be a TEFL teacher?
Besides the myriad of personal reasons that being a TEFL teacher is a good idea, there are a host of external reasons you should seriously consider it.
- More and more people are learning English out of economic necessity. English is undoubtedly the language of business and trade, so a working knowledge of English is necessary to succeed on the international stage.
- Developing countries have realised the need for skilled English-speaking graduates to improve their economies. In fact, there is a proven correlation between producing large numbers of graduates skilled in English and an increase in economic performance, largely due to increased foreign investment and a rise in gross national income and GDP.
- Similarly, parents now understand the need for English language education for their children.
- Countries are now increasing investments in education in order to increase English proficiency.
- There are roughly 40 000 language schools around the world, with 100 000 EFL positions opening up every year.
The future of TEFL
So what can you look forward to as a TEFL teacher in 2020?
Jobs, jobs, jobs! Look on any TEFL jobs site today and you’ll find loads of jobs just waiting for you. No matter where you would like to live and work, there will be a school or language institute with a job for you.
Technology will be incorporated into your EFL classes like never before. If you are not yet comfortable with technology, rest assured you soon will be! This includes not only interactive whiteboards and PowerPoint but blended learning, mobile learning and gamification.
Authentic language has been a big part of EFL teaching in the past few years and that’s not going to change. Technology enables us to bring real-world language into the classroom even more easily than before. Websites, audio books, apps and video channels can all be utilised in the classroom at the click of a button.
English for Specific Purposes takes on a whole new dimension with a focus not only on specific topics but on specific learners. So while there is renewed focus on legal English or English for IT, for example, there are also courses being developed for learners with dyslexia, or learners from low-income families from a particular country, just to name a few.
Finally, we are seeing a move towards more legitimacy in EFL. Governments are cracking down on illegal teachers and dodgy schools, while teachers are not afraid to publicise any scammy business opportunities. As a result, the EFL field will soon be more widely recognised and have a better reputation than ever before.
In a nutshell, the circumstances could not be better for TEFL teachers than right now. If you have a TEFL certificate from a recognised TEFL provider, a degree (for some countries) and a valid passport, you’re basically all set to not only change your life, but change the lives of all your future students too. This new year, why not make it your resolution to make a change that will affect the rest of your life?