SO- you want to travel? I’m going to take a wild guess and say you have been googling “how to travel for a living” like crazy and you’re finally at the point where you are going to try to find an article that tells you a little something about teaching English as a second/foreign language. OR maybe you just truly want to teach. Either way, welcome to Inevitably Wild.
A year ago, I was sitting in your seat my friend. I was googling how to travel because I couldn’t understand how people actually move abroad. Finally, I decided I was going to do it. Here is what you want to know: Teaching English is one of the best ways to see the world. This certificate is completely worth every single second and dime you put into it. I promise.
ALSO- this is for a 120 hour on-ground course with hands on experience and 8-10 hours of teaching. THIS WAS THE BEST DECISION. You cannot get the same lessons, experience and knowledge unless you are physically doing it. So buy a flight and get to an on-ground course… yesterday.
So what can I say to promise your survival? I got your back, sweet thang. THIS is how you’re going to survive an intensive, on-ground, hands-on TEFL course.
- Come with buckets and buckets of motivation. Then dig deep down, find some more and USE it. If you are not the proactive type, look into other options. In TEFL world, you are constantly thinking on your feet. You have to create, create, create and put that brain of yours to use. It is hard to push through so much lesson planning but you DO get used to it.
- PAY ATTENTION. They are cramming the information into your head for a reason so don’t zone out a single piece of it out. Take notes on everything. These instructors have been in the business most likely for years. They know what they are talking about.
- Know that all of the other students are in the same boat you are. This sounds obvious but they are there to help you and hear all of your complaints. Utilize that. Find someone who can help you create new activities and brainstorm together. Grab a beer after class. Escape for the weekend. Create relationships that will help you blow off steam. It will do you wonders.
- Don’t go crazy on the weekends. I can hear the collective moan and “come on moooom” jokes through the computer. From a former girl who loves to go out, listen to this advice. You need this time to get your homework done and prepare your lessons for your teaching practice. If you’re out drinking until 5 am you are not going to be able to focus nearly as well the next day. I learned the hard way. You will have plenty of opportunity to explore whatever city you’re in.
- Embrace the pace of the class. It is fast for a reason. The sooner you’re done, the quicker you can get into the world and start teaching/traveling. So HOLD ON for just a little longer. You will want to cry. Hell, you probably will cry but keep going. This is a temporary schedule to get you to your end goal: TRAVEL. Don’t forget why you started this class.
- Organize EVERYTHING. Keep your notes, lessons and examples. USE them. If you don’t keep everything in order it will make it that much harder to utilize the helpful information. AKA- Buy a freaking planner. Just do it. I found one that is specifically for teachers and lesson planning (smartest idea ever) that I cannot WAIT to arrive on my doors step. Separate your grammar from your example lessons and try to have a system how you’ll organize your computer folders. You can reuse lessons so don’t lose them!
- COPY YOUR TEACHERS. Our teachers literally told us that they wanted us to copy exactly what they were doing because they’ve been in the industry for 15+ years. So what did I do? I literally copied their lesson plans, their gestures, their speech and so much more. I got really great feedback after teaching my first lesson because I regurgitated everything they showed me how to do. Follow the leader, my friend.
- Cry it out. Run it out. Find a way to take stress out of the equation. Well, okay, you will be stressed. However, you need to find a small chunk in your day that can take for yourself. Even if you only have 30 minutes. Do something pro-active for yourself.
- Have FUN. Do you remember the teachers who passed out a worksheet and muttered “do it” or do you remember the teachers who made you dress up as animals and put on a show for the class? Interact with your students and don’t be afraid to be silly. This is supposed to be fun and it’s your job to make it that way.
- Have a love for new people and new culture. You are not in Kansas anymore honey. You are in a new culture so be open to how different that will feel. It’s intimidating to go to the grocery store and have no idea how much you just paid for groceries in a foreign currency. Have a love for new people. You will meet them as your students every single day and if you’re not willing to get to know them, you probably shouldn’t be teaching.
You CAN survive a TEFL course. It takes hard work, a strong attitude and a whole lot of bravery. If you need a cheerleader, I’m her. So ask any questions you have and send any concerns my way. I am all for TEFL.
Now just SIGN UP already!
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