I've been looking into completing a TESOL course lately as I would like to possibly teach English abroad in 2014. I'm wanting to know has anybody completed this course at all and/or is it necessary? I have a Bachelors degree already which I know is important in many places. I'm also looking into going particularly to an Asian country - money earning isn't too much of an issue, I'm more interested in an experience than anything.
I would love to hear of any information, experiences etc that anyone has!
Welcome to Travelblog.
Teaching English abroad is a topic that has been discussed a lot on these forums and there are a large number of Travelbloggers teaching abroad.
Some bloggers have written specific blogs about their teaching experiences if you use the search function, for example:
Teaching in South Korea
Teaching in China
In answer to your question, where or not you NEED to do a TESOL certificate depends on where you want to work. You can get employment in Japan and Korea and some places in China without. It's much harder in Vietnam and Thailand.
What countries were you thinking of? They are all different.
I see you did post your question here, but will answer the question again in more detail. Many TBers have taken the TESOL course offered around the world, and then have taught English everywhere.
My son took the course in Bangkok and then taught there for 16 months. He enjoyed teaching older students who pay to learn the language...more motivated...high school kids expect an A without showing up for classes. He required a bachelor degree to get a visa in Thailand, but you probably knew that. In Thailand you don't earn as much as Korea, Japan, or China, but you will probably enjoy living there more...warm weather year around and food being plusses.
Anyway, search for "TESOL" on this site and you will be able to read blogs by TBers who have taken the course and then traveled the world teaching.
Thanks for the reply guys. I've been to Thailand a number of times and each time I tend to fall more and more in love with it so going there I think I'm strongly leaning more towards. I've read many stories about Japan being an excellent place to go to and in particular for money but thats where the TESOL issue comes into play. I've read that you need a 'degree' to teach there but many sites aren't specifying what 'degree' exactly. Is it my Bachelors that I already have, is it my Bachelors with TESOL or even just TESOL?
You just need a bachelor's degree. It doesn't matter what subject it's in.
Personally I would recommend that you do a TESOL course as well. It only takes a month and you can do it abroad - look at the CELTA in ECC in Thailand, for example. Doing a course will teach you how to teach language to students who don't speak the same language as you. It's not enough just to know how to speak English, you need to know what students need to know, in terms of grammar, pronunciation and listening and reading skills, for example. As well as this, you will learn techniques for running effective language classes. It will make you a more effecient teacher, so you will feel you are doing your job well, and also make your job easier. Too many unqualified TESOL teachers are reinventing the wheel all the time as they prepare lessons, unaware that their ideas and methods have already been developed.
Thailand is a fun place to teach, but the money is not great. Most jobs are in government and private schools, teaching English and sometimes other subjects in English, so you are working with children and usually only teaching during the week. The two semesters start in May and October. Take a look at Ajarn.com
for more information about teaching in Thailand.
You can see on our blog that we did it for six months before moving to different countries. Let us know if you need any further advice.
Thanks for how informative you're being, it is much appreciated. Have been looking more into the course and as you said it is not a long one. Again I have another annoying question though - TESOL or TEFL? I know what the acronyms stand for but is one more renowned than the other?
In response to: Msg #176915
Excellent advice, many people think teaching is just a matter of standing in front of a bunch of students and it happens. Either of the courses would provide you with knowledge and classroom management strategies and give a good overview of the curriculum that you might be involved in delivering.
As course names for these change on a regular basis it makes little difference as to which one to undertake although the popular one at the moment is TESOL.
It really depends on what you mean by 'teaching English'. If you want the experience of working abroad and only intend to do it for a year then as other people have said you can often get jobs in South Korea or Japan without a teaching qualification. If you are unsure about lesson planning and being the one completely in control you can go to other countries (I have friends who did this in Spain) as a language assistant (usually unpaid, just with a living allowance, and working alongside a teacher offering correct pronunciation, drilling, group work, and individual support to students). I-to-I offers TEFL internships where you'd get some training on the job and they'd expect you to be a beginner.
If you are serious about TEFL as a career then the CELTA is the best option as it covers everything, gives you plenty of experience with students before looking for a job and is recognised worldwide. It takes a month to do and costs around £1000. It is intensive though and a lot of hard work, so it may not be worth it unless you want to teach for more than just a year.
In response to: Msg #176962
I forgot to mention that the course my son took was CELTA...yes it was hard but worth it to get this internationally recognized credential. And he learned grammar, not something that is taught very well in U.S. schools today, which is useful as he is now in law school.
In response to: Msg #176865
Hi Arna, I taught English in Thailand for a couple of years. When we came over we did the TESOL course through the American TESOL Institute on Phuket for $1,000 each (my fiance and I). For this price they put us up for three weeks at Nai Harn Beach in Phuket where we met more than 30 other students who were amazing and some have become life-long friends. Over the course of our time in Thailand, we were always traveling and staying with people we met through the course and getting an inside look at all the different cities our friends were posted in. The course was also really informative and we got student teaching practices in a variety of settings with peer feed-back. However at the end of the course comes a job placement from an affiliated agency - they guarantee you a job that pays $1000 / month somewhere in Thailand, which is a decent salary. We had made it clear that we did not want to be placed in Bangkok, but they ignored this and tried to place us in Samut Sakhon just outside of Bangkok which was not what we had in mind. When we refused our placement they told us we would have to pay $500 extra each to get our certificate. We simply said we didn't want it and posted our resumes on ajarn.com and seriousteachers.com . We got plenty of calls and decided to teach in a medium sized city called Nakhon Sawan. Schools in Thailand do not care if you have a TESOL or not, so long as you have a four-year bachelors degree you can teach legally and obtain a non-b visa. Thailand is so desperate for teachers that many foreigners work here illegally with no TESOL or degree and they are still able to be hired easily (I have about 10 friends with no degree teaching in Thailand as we speak). The more competitive schools in Bangkok and some private and international schools may be more demanding that you have a TESOL but they are in the vast minority. In short, we love Thailand and really want to go back and continue teaching there. You do not need a TESOL here, or Phnom Penh Cambodia, and I know you can also teach in Vietnam without a TESOL though this is a bit harder. You can look back at some of my old blogs to see what teaching in Thailand is like - http://www.travelblog.org/Asia/Thailand/Northern-Thailand/Nakhon-Sawan/blog-674567.html and I also have some about our time with ATI in Nai Harn, Phuket. While we did not end up getting our TESOL certificate and were a bit upset with some people in ATI, I still think the course was worth it if you have the cash because it was so much fun and we met so many great people. Best of luck, feel free if you have any more questions. See you in Thailand 😊