Hi, I am a college student here in northwest Washington state. I was wondering if anyone on this site had ever received TEFL or TESOL certification abroad. I googled it and I found many organizations that offer 4 week training courses in various regions around the world for example here, http://www.teflcourse.net/
I’ve heard many shady comments about these programs, and I’ve never heard any positive experiences from someone who’s actually taken part in receiving the certification. If anyone has recommendations that would be great, or horror stories would also be appreciated. Just wondering how to go about doing this without getting scammed. Thanks!
If by abroad you include the UK, there are a few very reputable colleges, like International House or St Giles, for example, who offer amazingly tightly-structured courses, hellishly expensive, physically tiring (at St Giles we seemed to be working around the clock) and with quite a heavy stress on grammar (even for the students). The student teachers were encouraged to speak as little as possible. (The tight structure of the course was actually my downfall - I was much too old to blindly follow the task and to stay up for seemingly 20 hours a day for a month). On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to miss the experience, I learnt a lot and the people were delightful.
Try the CELTA. (Cambridge English Language Training ?Association?) Solid 4 week course internationally recognised and vetted.
I did the CELTA (Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults) in San Diego four years ago and it’s undoubtedly the best (and most expensive) course out there, and also the most highly recognized.
After that I worked at International House in Valladolid and Santander in Spain for two years, and I still get job offers all the time.
I’d be glad to answer any questions you have if you wanna talk some time on Skype frazzo.
I’ve been thinking of doing a course like the CELTA. I notice the website doesn’t mention course fees, which is usually not a good sign. I’m also not sure how one goes about getting a job once one is certified?
It has occurred to me to reverse engineer the problem, by going round local EFL schools and asking what kind of qualifications they ask their teachers for.
That’s a good strategy Helen. You’d be surprised at the variety of responses you’d get if you actually asked the teachers (not the school admin).
When I took the CELTA about 7 years ago it cost 2000$ CDN (at the time about 1400 U$) in Vancouver. However it is cheaper if you take it in a slightly less developed part of the world. In Egypt CELTA was cheap enough that I heard of people who flew to Egypt and stayed for a month, paying the same total cost as staying in Vancouver.
These certifications are mostly calling cards. They show employers you are serious. CELTA is well known due to its branding with the “Cambridge” logo, hence they can charge more. As far as I have seen, everyone who does their assignments on time and according to specifications passes.
International House and St Giles (the only ones I can talk about) have a support network for graduates and there are agencies keen to get graduates from the best colleges. (I remember they showed up towards the end of the course.) People generally take the qualification in order to work abroad - do you have plans to leave your family and, if so, do they know about it?
I would be in so much trouble if I tried to go abroad without my family! I suppose they might come with me…but I wouldn’t gamble £1000 on the possibility.
I have so much fun being a LingQ tutor that I’m amazed it’s legal. It would be great to think that, when the kids are bigger, I could do a job that I enjoyed. On the other hand, my experiences are that classroom teachers get treated pretty badly compared to office workers. Also, with three kids and a LingQ habit, I can’t imagine ever having the time to go out to work
Thanks for all the responses everyone! I think I am looking into something cheaper, more informal teaching, exotic location …and probably less reputable. I like the cheap 4 week programs. I think I’m going to try one this summer.
About the family thing. Ha. I’m a single male of 24 years. Hadn’t even thought of it
“classroom teachers get treated pretty badly compared to office workers”
In the TESL world that is very true. Why? A)The threshold for entry is not very high. B)75% of students don’t really know a good teacher from an indifferent teacher with “charisma”. Therefore there is no external incentive, ie, market pressures, to get better as a teacher. As long as you are getting good reactions from the students in general you are ok. It also means that you are eminently replaceable.
Here is a link to a nice article that really sums up the ESL teaching profession well.