Why to get a TEFL certification when you already have a master’s degree in English language

So you worked your butt off perfecting your grammar, expanding your vocabulary and reading the greatest works of literature the present day has to offer. You are a Master of the English language. Surely a Master of English can teach it without a problem!

Not entirely true! Not everyone who is a Master is capable of teaching their subject. Teaching is it’s own mastery and this is true for every subject. This is especially crucial when you wish to be the kind of teacher that can teach students specific aspects within your mastered subject so that they can pass standardised tests.

While some language schools require TEFL certifications, others do not, and it is likely because these schools are teaching the English language for more casual and social reasons.

Language schools that have an assortment of English language classes for different levels, ages and reasons, such as the preparation for the IELTS, require teachers who understand more specific requirements and thus need TEFL certifications from a reputed institution like TEFL Express.

It is true that you don’t need a TEFL certificate to get a job as an English teacher, but without one you do narrow down your job prospects quite significantly. Without a TEFL certificate, you’re also likely to lower your pay bracket and reduce the number of perks you get with the job, like free accommodation, paid flights or a transport allowance.

So besides the perks and the pay, what does your TEFL certificate give you that a master’s degree in English doesn’t? Major parts of the TEFL course provide you with tools and skills integral to a teacher’s arsenal. Topics like classroom control, cultural sensitivity, lesson planning and much more that has plenty to do with teaching and not just English.

I have a Master in Journalism, and if anyone else has done similar, you’ll know that majority of the learning and testing involves perfecting the written form of the English language. I thought that I was overqualified for a TEFL career and jumped head first into a volunteer teaching position; my first class was an absolute disaster. I copied someone else’s lesson plan and didn’t know how to deliver the material. Students who struggled to speak English were asking me questions, to which I answered in complex English which led to little or no understanding and no progress.

Within 15 minutes, I had lost the respect of my students and my classroom was no longer mine. No one listened to what I tried to teach them, and who could blame them, they couldn’t understand me! I eventually swallowed my master’s degree pride and asked an experienced teacher for advice. They took me through one lesson plan, it took them 3 hours to do this, and I managed to deliver one class that less than half the students progressed in, after that I started a TEFL course.

It is without a doubt that a Masters in English will give you an edge against the rest of the competition, but don’t underestimate the complexities of teaching, it is one of the most rewarding professions in the world, and rarely does a rewarding profession come without difficulties and challenges.