Back in June last year I decided to sign up for a TEFL course to do over the summer, it was something I had wanted to do for years. I wasn’t working full time and suddenly found myself with plenty of free time so it seemed like the perfect idea. I had done some research in pervious years about the course but even so I was pretty clueless. I signed up using the official TEFL site for the UK and booked the 140 hour course because that was the best one to do – at least that is what my research had said. With the 140 hour course came a 20 hour classroom course which I booked for some two months after I started the course and that was my first mistake of many during my TEFL course.
TEFL.org.uk have a sale on currently so now-17th January is the time to book if you’ve been thinking about doing one of these courses.
Here are the things I learnt from doing a TEFL course…
1. Book the classroom part of your course (if there is one) as close to starting the course as possible.
I was slightly more fortunate than some because I am training to be a teacher in Britain anyway. However, without that face to face interaction from a TEFL tutor who knows what they are talking about, there are so many things you may struggle to understand. I wish I had had mine at the beginning so that I didn’t spend two months struggling through with the multiple choice questions which were cleared up within hours of being in the classroom.
2. Book a course with a classroom module.
This was the most valuable part of the course I did and without this I could never imagine teaching a TEFL class. It is not only important for understanding the course content but for getting teaching practice in and being able to test lesson ideas with people who are equally as nervous and new to all of this.
3. Complete the module tests and assignments for each module before moving on to the next one.
Do not do what I did and complete all of the tests for all of the modules and then wonder why you have to go back and read all of the modules again to complete the assignments. It really is much easier to write them at the same time as doing the module (some you cannot submit until you have completed other sections but don’t let this put you off actually writing them).
4. Each test you do has to achieve 75% or higher.
Make sure you keep redoing the tests until you achieve this score because otherwise you will have to go back and redo them later. I was initially confused and thought it was only the whole module that had to be 75% so I had tests I had to redo right at the end to fix this. I ended up wasting a lot of time having to reread all of the information in order to achieve more than 75%.
5. Do not think you have ages to complete the course and leave half of it to the last three weeks.
The module tests are the easy bit, the assignments are the hard and time consuming part. I stupidly thought I had loads of time to complete it all, then life got in the way and before I knew it there were three weeks until my course ran out and eights assignments to do. I was very lucky my tutor marked everything so quickly otherwise I could have had a problem. The 140 hour TEFL course gives you six months to complete it so don’t wait until the last three weeks.
6. Sign up for the most hours you can afford/have time for.
During the classroom part of the course we learnt that if you are in the mix for a job, employers tend to be more likely to employ the person who has done the ‘best’ course. Aka the course with the most hours because it covers a bigger variety of topics. So booking a course with 140 or 150 hours will stand you in a much better position than those who have done the 60 hour course.
7. Just because you are a native English speaker doesn’t mean you will understand all of the technical terms for the grammar.
As a native speaker we take our understanding of the English language for granted, yet most of the time no one really knows why something is that way. Or at least that is what I found, especially when it came to remembering how to form those slightly tricky tenses. There is a big focus on grammar during the classroom module hence why I recommend doing it early on.
Have you done a TEFL course? Do you have anything else to add?