Becoming a TEFL teacher is a fantastic career choice for lots of different reasons. It sets you free from the corporate world, helps you to achieve a healthier work-life balance and allows you to work and live in far-flung locations all over the world without having to speak the local language fluently – ideal for anyone who dreams of adventures abroad but doesn’t speak the language of their dream destination. However, even though you don’t need to learn a second language, we think you should – and here are four reasons why!
You might not need to speak the local language, but if you start learning it, you’ll quickly see a big difference in the way that local people interact with you. Even if you only know a few words at first, speaking the language will endear you to people, whether you’re in the market, in a bar, with your flatmates or out to eat. No matter how low your level, it shows that you are making an effort and trying to integrate.
You’ll have a whole new perspective on your students’ frustration with language learning if you’ve been in their shoes! Whether the issue is a lack of confidence, a problem with listening or struggles with pronounciation, you’ll be able to relate to your students’ difficulties with patience and empathy – after all, you’ve been there yourself.
Learning a language yourself can really enhance your teaching skills. As a student, you’ll come up with all sorts of strategies for working on pronounciation, memorising vocabulary, remembering grammatical rules – you might even pick up some tips from your own teacher. You’ll be able to figure out what works and what doesn’t, and pass the most effective techniques on to your own students.
Learning a language is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your brain. Hundreds of studies have been done over the years which show that people who speak more than one language have better memories, are more intellectually flexible and are better problem solvers – all useful attributes in the classroom! You’ll also stay cognitively healthier for longer, so your future self will thank you too!