If you’re thinking of signing up for a TEFL course, you might be feeling a bit nervous. Maybe you haven’t been in a classroom for a few years. Maybe you’ve never really been the academic type. Or it could be that you’ve just graduated and you’ve got study fatigue. Either way, having nerves before starting your TEFL course is normal. What’s more, Teaching English as a Foreign Language is probably a bit of an unknown territory for you so you might not even know what you’re getting yourself into! We get it. We’ve been there. So we thought we’d share with you some of our fave tips and tricks on how to ace your TEFL course!
But before we get into that, let’s make sure you know exactly what it is you’ve signed up for.
What does a TEFL course involve?
Not all TEFL courses are the same, but there are a number of basic requirements your TEFL course should satisfy. If your TEFL course doesn’t cover these points, then you might want to consider changing TEFL course providers, but that’s a discussion for another day.
The TEFL Academy TEFL course, for example, covers ten units in our online course:
- Lesson Planning
- Teaching English Vocabulary
- Teaching Pronunciation
- Understanding English Grammar
- Teaching Receptive Skills: Listening and Reading
- Teaching Productive Skills: Speaking and Writing
- Learning English Grammar
- Principles of Teaching English as a Foreign Language
- Materials and Aids for Teaching English/ Classroom Management Skills
- Using Resources Effectively When Teaching English as a Foreign Language
Then, after all that, we look at CVs, cover letters, job sites, and resources – basically everything you need to start applying for jobs teaching English online or abroad.
While this is the theoretical aspect of teaching English as a Foreign Language, the majority of TEFL courses offer the opportunity to do a practical teaching component too. With The TEFL Academy, you can choose to do a 20-hour practical course in a classroom or a 10-hour Teaching Practice Course online.
All in all, a TEFL course should consist of at least 120 hours of instruction – any less and you won’t be considered in a good light by prospective TEFL employers. This can be done online or face-to-face; there are pros and cons to both and it entirely depends on your circumstances and preferences.
Read more: The Pros and Cons of Online TEFL Courses
Now that all might seem like a lot, and to be quite honest, it is! As it should be. After all, this one course is going to prepare you for teaching a language even if you have no teaching experience or linguistic knowledge at all, so it needs to be comprehensive, to say the least.
This is why we thought it was necessary to give you a few pointers to help you through your TEFL course. Doing a TEFL course is an investment of both time and money so it would be a shame not to get the most out of your course. So here are our top tips on how to ace your TEFL course.
1. Be prepared
Boring, yes. Necessary, also yes. The TEFL course is intensive and covers a lot of theory. If you have the time, do some reading before the course starts to make sure you are able to keep up from the very beginning.
If you’re not sure what exactly you should be reading, check out our blog post on Top TEFL Books for TEFL Teachers for a few ideas.
2. Cancel your plans
Be smart and clear your schedule for a while. Whether you are doing your TEFL course online or face-to-face, it makes sense to dedicate as much time as possible to the course so that you can get it done. Bear in mind that the course involves reading, doing assignments, and lesson prep – all of which will probably take you longer than you think.
3. Stay on the ball
Throughout the course make sure you keep up with the coursework. This means doing the readings timeously and working on your assignments regularly so that you aren’t cramming for a last-minute deadline. Basically, you need to make sure your time management skills are on point for the duration of the course to make sure you don’t forget any deadlines or fall behind in your workload.
4. Don’t be shy
If you are doing a face-to-face course, make the effort to get to know your peers. If you are doing an online course, try to find other students who are doing the same course as you. Chatting with other students is essential for the success of your TEFL course. It is so much harder if you feel like you are doing it alone.
5. Ask for help
Similarly, if you find you are needing some help, ask for it. Ask your peers, ask your tutors, ask online. Someone is bound to have had the same problem you’re experiencing and will be able to help you out. The TEFL community is a very giving community (which is possibly why we’re teachers!) – we’re all ready and willing to give help to other teachers when it’s needed.
6. Practice self care
We’re not joking when we say the course is hard work. Which just means you need to make sure you look after yourself. Especially if you are working at the same time as studying, be sure to take proper breaks, get decent sleep, eat well, and exercise. You won’t be doing yourself any favours if you get sick – and you’ll still have to complete the course!
7. Have fun!
And last but not least, enjoy the process! The TEFL course will equip you with all the knowledge and skills you need for your new career, so don’t be afraid to immerse yourself in the theories of teaching English as a Foreign Language for the duration of your course. In a nutshell, doing a TEFL course is an investment but it’s worth every cent and every minute you spend on it. If you’re serious about teaching English as a Foreign Language, whether it’s face-to-face or online, whether it’s teaching adults or Young Learners, whether it’s group classes or 1-to-1 lessons, whether it’s General English or English for Specific Purposes, a TEFL course will make sure you know exactly what you’re doing. Which is a good thing, if you’re the teacher!