Published 11th September 2020
I think it’s safe to say that when we were asked, back in 2015, where we saw ourselves in 5 years, none of us got the answer right. 2020 Has certainly been a year. Besides the effects wearing masks and social distancing have had on our lives, businesses have taken a knock too – and the TEFL industry was not spared. But what happens now? Where do we go from here? What will TEFL after Covid-19 look like?
TEFL before Covid-19
Back in the good ol’ days – you know, 2019 – embarking on a TEFL career was pretty straightforward. You did a TEFL course, got your certificate, found a job, packed your bags and off you went. With a TEFL certificate in your pocket, the world was your oyster. You could decide if you wanted to teach kindergarten in China or adults in Argentina or businesspeople in Germany. It might have taken a few weeks to look for jobs, apply for jobs and go through the job interview process, but it was a logical, step-by-step process.
TEFL during Covid-19
Then Covid-19 struck. Countries closed their borders and schools all over the world closed indefinitely. People started to work from home, while others sadly lost their jobs. Working online became the norm, and more and more people tried to find ways to earn a living working in the digital space.
In terms of TEFL, TEFL courses were postponed while online courses saw a massive boom. Everyone realized there was going to be a huge need for online English lessons so many chose to become TEFL-certified even if they realized they might not be able to travel for the foreseeable future. TEFL teachers who were already teaching in a different country either returned home until further notice, or chose to stay in the city they were living in but continued working from home instead of at the school.
TEFL after Covid-19
Now that life is slowly returning to normal in the majority of the world (or the new normal, should we say) what are things going to be like for TEFL teachers? Schools are opening up and positions are becoming available, but what will it actually mean being a TEFL teacher post-Covid 19?
Teaching English online
Make no mistake, the demand for online English lessons is not going to die down anytime soon. Even though English language learners might have been forced into taking online lessons due to circumstances, they now seem to have realized the convenience of online learning. So while there may be students taking online English lessons now because their school or language school isn’t open yet, there will always be students looking for online teachers.
Even though you might have realized that many of the online teaching companies are currently being swamped by teacher applications, there are numerous other companies starting up. And, if you can’t find students through a company, you can always market yourself through LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram. Whichever way you go about it, teaching English online is a viable way to earn an income or a great way to supplement your income or earn a few pennies until you can go back to work properly. Besides, if you’re spending more time at home now why not use that time to earn money?
Teaching English abroad
At the moment each country is in a different stage of lockdown. Some cities are still in total lockdown and many countries are still not allowing international travel into or out of the country. Others might not accept travellers from certain countries. This means that if you are not in a foreign country now, you won’t be able to teach abroad at the moment. If you are, then the schools in your area should be starting to open up if they haven’t already. Returning teachers can soon return to their usual schedules while newly-qualified teachers should start applying for jobs in their areas.
Some countries are readying themselves to accept foreign travellers and teachers. If you are interested in teaching English in a specific country, keep an eye on local news outlets and they should be able to give you more information. South Korea, for example, is opening up government schools and programmes like the EPIK programme are opening up again and hiring teachers. China and a few other Asian countries are slowly starting to open too. Some countries in Europe and the Middle East are opening up again as well. Even if a country is not open yet, they may be undergoing the hiring process now with flexible start dates, so that everything will be in place for when schools finally open. Countries in Latin and South America are taking a bit longer to open because they are still dealing with the coronavirus which hit certain countries there particularly hard.
TEFL After Covid-19 – Where to next?
Of course, whether or not you’ll be able to accept a position will depend on the travel restrictions in your own country and you might have to undergo a quarantine period when you arrive in a country.
When you do find a job teaching English abroad and manage to make your way to your new home, remember that teaching may not be the same as you initially imagined. There will be social distancing measures in place and you will need to abide by these practices. On the flip side, it should mean that your class sizes are restricted!
In a nutshell, when you will be able to teach abroad depends on the country you are in right now and the country you are planning to go to. Keep up to date with international news related to international travel in those countries and when schools will be opening up again. Having said all this, please bear in mind that we are not psychics and we cannot predict the future. If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that we can’t be certain of anything anymore, so things may change at any time.
If, for some reason, you actually haven’t signed up for a TEFL course, now is most certainly a good time to do it. Since we are all staying home as much as possible, you should have the time to complete the course at your leisure and, as our practical courses start up again you’ll be able to do the practical side of the course very soon.
So while we cannot make any promises for your TEFL future post-Covid 19, we are optimistic that the TEFL industry will be up and running as per usual in the not-too-distant future. If you are considering TEFL, now is a good time to sign up for one our TEFL courses!