Five TEFL myths dispelled

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It’s a holiday, not a job

Yes, it might be sunny every day, and you might spend your weekends swimming in the sea and drinking sangria, but Monday to Friday you’re working, same as everyone else. It’s true that a TEFL certificate will take you all over the world to lots of dream destinations, but once you get there? You’re there to do a job, and you’ll find that you settle into a routine fairly quickly. But don’t worry – every weekend will still feel like a mini-holiday!

You’re not a proper teacher

There’s a common misconception that TEFL teachers rock up to class having done no preparation and just sit around chatting with their students for an hour. But you need to prepare your classes with just as much detail as a traditional teacher, and teaching adults can present just as many challenges as teaching children or teenagers. You’ll still have homework to mark and your students will still have exams. But the good news is that it’s just as rewarding as traditional teaching too!

It will be all-expenses-paid

There are TEFL positions available where your school pays your plane fare, your visa costs and your accommodation, but these jobs are usually in China, Thailand or South Korea, and even then they are usually dependent on you completing an 11-month term contract. Certainly within Europe you’ll be getting to your destination under your own steam and you’ll need to save up a bit of money to cover rent deposits and moving costs. However, this independence means that you are the master of your own destiny – you’ll have more control over your teaching-English-abroad experience.

Only native speakers can do it

It’s true that a lot of language schools prefer native speakers, but if you have a high level of fluency in English you actually have an advantage over native speakers as you have experience of the difficulties that English learners can face. You’ll be better equipped to explain grammar, having learned it in a structured, logical way, and your high level of English will be an example to which your students will aspire!

Teachers are born, not made

This one is more of a general cliché, but it’s a pervasive one. Yes, some people are naturally more outgoing and confident than others, but we’ve had so many trainee teachers who’ve started off with very low confidence and have finished the course as excellent teachers. And of course, the best teachers continue to learn and improve over the course of their careers – you never stop learning!

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