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Teaching English as a Second Language

Work From Home Teaching

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What Is TEFL?

The term TEFL is actually an acronym for “Teaching English as a Foreign Language.” To simplify it, TEFL is a profession where a person, usually a native English speaker, teaches groups of people from other countries, how to speak English. Classes are taught either in a classroom setting located in a country outside of the United States, a classroom setting located within the United States, or entirely in an online environment such as Zoom or other video chat software. In fact, after the events of 2020, it is becoming more and more common for these classes to be held via online resources rather than TEFL teachers traveling and living in other countries to teach. Online classes are much safer and often can be scheduled more conveniently.

You may have also heard this profession referred to as, TESOL. Again, this is just another acronym. TESOL stands for, “Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.” There is technically, or originally, a slight difference. However, nowadays these two terms are interchangeable and hold the same meaning. More importantly; they both refer to performing the same tasks… teaching non-native English speakers how to speak and write in English.

Do I Have to Know Another Language to Be a TEFL Teacher?

This is one of the most common questions and concerns that people think of when considering becoming a TEFL teacher. The short answer is, no, you don’t have to know another language in order to teach TEFL classes. Of course, if you are conversational or fluent in another language and want to teach students who natively speak that language, that would help a great deal. However, you certainly do not need to know a second language in order to teach English to foreign people.

The training you receive to become a TEFL teacher will provide you with the knowledge you need to teach the language and communicate with students, even though your students and you do not yet speak a common language. Want to communicate better with them and them with you? Good. Teach them and help them to understand your words and how to use them in return. That’s the whole idea. It is important to also remember that most countries who seek TEFL teachers are countries that teach English in their own schools. A lot of people from other countries have a small broken grasp of the English language. You are there to correct the mistakes and to teach them how to properly speak and write in English. After all, they learn English in their schools… but only slightly better than we take other languages in the United States. Better? Yes. A whole lot better? No. Many have a general concept of the basics but they come to you because 90% or more of what they need or want to know is missing from their vocabulary.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

TEFL Teaching Training and Education

As mentioned, in order to teach TEFL classes and get paid for it, you do have to go through training and get certified. Many people believe that you are required to have a four-year degree in order to teach TEFL, but that simply isn’t true. There are some agencies and companies that either prefer or require that you have a bachelor’s degree first, but more and more do not require it in recent years. The reason is actually very simple. The recent events and the growing need for this type of education has driven the demand up; thus, driving up the need for supply. It became obvious that since English is the teacher’s first language, they don’t need a degree for that… only training on how to teach it to others.

The minimum required training is at least 120 hours. With a certification of 120 hours, you can easily be placed with an agency or company as a TEFL teacher. Of course, you can always attend a course with more hours or get further training to specialize in a particular skill. More education never hurts, but rest assured that a 120-hour training certificate is enough to get started and begin making great pay.

How Much Do TEFL Teachers Get Paid?

Now we come to another common and logical question. It is practical to wonder how much TEFL teachers are paid. Like a lot of fields, the pay will vary based on experience and educational factors. Having said that, however, a new graduate of a 120-hour training course can easily expect to make no less than $16 per hour. The pay ranges from $14 an hour up to around $45 per hour. Just starting off, it is reasonable and wise to aim for the $18 per hour range. If your training is from the right place, you will likely have job placement through the training company as well, so they can help you to get the pay and position you want.

If you already have a degree or other applicable credentials then you may seek higher pay, but remember that you are, in fact, entering into a new career field. After a while of teaching in your TEFL class setting, you can always pursue a raise or begin negotiating with other companies that may pay you more. The demand remains high for TEFL teachers and will continue to remain high… or grow even more over the next several years.

Where Do I Go to Get the Training Course?

Because the demand is growing and growing, the opportunity to gain training is also growing. The most convenient way is to attend a self-paced training course online that is accredited as a TEFL academy. Trust that the research into hundreds has been done and the result was the best is Premier TEFL. They offer the 120-hour course online while also making instructors available to you via Zoom sessions. I attended another course and ended up going through Premier’s course afterward; that should tell you something.

In addition to the standard 120-hour course, they also offer several specializing courses, hybrid courses, and training that is still standard but goes beyond the minimum 120 hours. Full transparency, I am an affiliate for Premier TEFL, but I can honestly say that I became an affiliate for them because they are the best and my own experiences made me want to help others start with the right one instead of going for the wrong one and having to correct it by eventually finding them.

Of course, I always encourage people to do their research on the TEFL field before deciding to become a TEFL teacher. It is best to know what you are getting yourself into. Yes, you can read all the information that Premier offers and even get the free guide they have available for download on their site. However; also, be sure to look around the web and seek answers to any questions you may have. If you are looking for a new career or just new income… TEFL is a great way to do it. Go for it!



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Timothy A Rowland

I’m an every day human Xennial living in the Southeastern United States. I have many interest. I just want to improve your life and maybe entertain you.