Hi there beautiful friend, so you’re thinking about teaching English as a second language?
SCARY, isn’t it? I bet you never thought of yourself becoming a teacher. Hell, you probably still don’t want to be a teacher but you’re starting to weigh the pro’s and it’s seeming like a pretty good idea. (Psssst… it is.)
That’s what I’m here for.
If you have thought about TEFL on and off, I’m here to give you information so you can decide if it’s for you or not.
FIRST OFF: You NEED to take an on ground course. Need. I took a 120 hour on-ground training with 8-10 hours of actual hands on teaching experience and without the face to face contact, I don’t know how people learn. I was taught methodolgy, grammar, systems and individual tutoring. I went through TEFL Worldwide Prague and LOVED their program. You can send me a message if you want to know more about that specific program.
Okay, so now that THAT’s covered, ask yourself these questions.
1. Are you motivated AF?
TEFL training is a lot of work. A LOT of work. For a good reason. You are learning how to lesson plan and just for an idea- it took me 5 hours to do my first lesson plan. After an 8 hour day in the classroom. During the four week course, I am required to teach seven full classes and successfully pass five of them in order to gain my certificate. I also have to give two grammar presentations and work with a student one on one in order to graduate. There are other miscellaneous assignments but these are the biggies.
So, how busy was I?
I worked full time on lesson plans. I literally kept my sanity through a detailed, hour by hour planner and that was how I knew what I should be doing on a daily basis. There is also an actual Teacher Lesson Planner that I will be ordering ASAP to keep all of my teaching hours straight. The good news about working so hard is that by week four you are speeding up your planning time (I’m at 2 or 3 hours/lesson) and becoming way more comfortable in front of the students.
This motivation will ALSO come into play when you graduate. YOU are required to reach out to employers and find your own job. They will have you prepare a demo lesson and you will present to them so they can see how well you teach.
So if you are someone who lacks work ethic, this probably isn’t the best path for you.
2. Are you willing to fly by the seat of your pants?
I am moving out of my student housing in four days and I still haven’t signed an apartment. So, if you are terrified of uncertainty, be prepared to become accustomed to it.
Every day you are flying through materials and all of a sudden your interviewing for jobs and applying for visas and apartment hunting. It’s insane. You don’t really know what you’re doing half the time and all of a sudden they’re telling you that champagne will be poppin’ because you’re about done with the program.
My philosophy is two live by the next two hours of my life (if you would have met me 3 years ago you would have laughed in my face and choked on your mac and cheese). But I’m serious, I don’t even know what I’m doing tonight but it will probably be awesome. Don’t plan out everything perfectly- go with the flow.
So if you don’t like spontaneous life events and complete uncertainty in a lot of aspects of your life, get ready for one hell of a ride.
3. Are you horrible with money?
You NEED a savings to come out here. That may seem obvious but a credit card won’t do you any good when a lot of countries are filled with cash only places. I doubled my savings from what they suggested and I’m still freaked out by how quickly it is diminishing. You have to have so much to start a life here.
Which means… you also have to know what you can spend when you start working. You can’t travel to insanely extravagant places when you’re only bringing in $1000 a month and your rent is $700. You have to have to put food on the table (I’ll be living off of pasta and oatmeal like it’s my damn job).
P.S. If you plan on saving any money when you’re out here, take that idea and smash it to smithereens with a rusty hammer. Ain’t gonna happen, honey. Not in Europe.
SO, if you aren’t prepared to budget your income and live cheap, start practicing my friend.
4. Are you scared of being alone?
If you are not one to adventure into the city by yourself or are too scared to walk the streets you live in, that is going to have to change. It is one thing to surround yourself with friends and come home at the end of the day ready to spend some time alone but it is another to surround yourself with people for the fear of being alone. Maybe that is something you want to work on and it intrigues you- in that case get your booty out here.
But just know, unless you are super friendly and not afraid to join groups like “Americans in ________” to make friends, you won’t be meeting a WHOLE lot of people out here.
I mean, you’re surrounded by thousands of humans. You just won’t have the comfort of running to your friends house at 11 p.m. because you’re having an off night. BUT that’s why FaceTime is so freaking outstanding. You can have home in your pocket.
So if being in the presence of yourself is absolutely appalling, learn to love yourself. Then come over.
5. Are you married to routines?
Bad news, mamacita. If you are married to waking up, drinking coffee, watching cartoons, working 9-5, going to yoga, cooking dinner and watching Game of Thrones before you fall into a peaceful slumber of snoozy bliss, that is not going to happen out here.
I’ve lesson planned until 1 a.m., had apartment showings at 3 p.m. between teaching, done laundry at 6 a.m. and spent 5 hours binge watching Netflix while I tried to soothe my brain from the mental stress that is learning.
A set schedule is a pretty unique thing. Each day is going to be filled with different students and schools, hobbies that I might have time for and pasta for the 8th night in a row.
You HAVE to be ready to roll with the punches. It gets tough (I cried more than once. More than twice even.) However, I know I will be just fine. I have met friends that will help me and I have a stubborn ass personality.
So if being thrown into a place of zero routine freaks you the f out, start warming up to the idea of complete chaos.
This experience has been life changing for me. Not only will it sparkle on my resume but it has taught me so much about my own language that I never even knew (and how wrong I use it all the time). So if you’re ready to be mind blown, grow intrinsically and eat the best schnitzel of your life- move to Europe to teach English. It is an experience you will NEVER forget.
P.S. If you’re thinking of a million reasons why you can’t- read this. I promise it’s not that out of reach.
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