For students of LEL, with your understanding of how the English language is put together, TEFL teaching is one of your more obvious options on graduation, as a career in its own right, a good way to earn money as you travel the world, valuable experience for a teaching career etc etc. However, a brief browse through the information about where PPLS grads go on graduation throws up the fact that grads from across the whole of PPLS go into TEFL teaching on leaving their course – it’s not an area restricted by your degree subject (after all, Richard, who writes below, studied Chemistry!).
Your transferable skills – good communicator, well organised and good time management, ability to think on your feet, build rapport etc – and your experience (LEAPS, summer camps, CHV etc) will be more important than what you studied. So, whatever your degree discipline, you may be interested in Richard’s experience of a career in TEFL.
Richard Davie, Edinburgh University graduate and Director of Studies of TEFL Iberia, a Barcelona based TEFL course, explains why TEFL is an attractive option for university graduates.
Students of Philosophy, Psychology, Linguistics and English are ideally suited for teaching English abroad. Being able to understand people, understand language and express yourself clearly make you all great candidates for teaching English as a foreign language.
Personally, my TEFL experience was completely unplanned. I graduated from university in 2008, decided to spend the summer in Barcelona to let off some steam, fell in love with the place and looked for a more permanent way of living abroad. For others, they may have studied international education, educational psychology or linguistics and have always dreamed of living and working abroad. Whatever your circumstances, there are a number of reasons for pursuing a career in TEFL.
- Improve your CV – International experience is invaluable on your CV – it shows you are confident, outgoing, open-minded and not afraid of challenges.
- Learn a new language – It’s not essential to be able to speak a foreign language when you teach English but inevitably after spending some time in that country you’re going to pick up some phrases and want to develop your language skills. Learning another language is an incredibly satisfying experience and adds to your overall employability.
- Gain transferable skills – Public speaking, organisation, good communication, creativity and time management are all skills you’ll develop as an English teacher.
- Develop yourself and have a great time! – Ultimately the main reason for going abroad is to have a good time – warm climate, good food, exotic location and a new culture are all going to add to your TEFL experience. You’ll make friends, gain confidence and new opportunities will pop up simply from being in the centre of it.
Richard is very happy to hear from anyone interested in finding out more about training to be a TEFL teacher or finding a job abroad – all his contact details are below. And you’ll find vast quantities of information and useful links via the Careers Service’s online TEFL information.