Smart Moves: One-Stop Teachers Brilliant Communication Skills Are Yours for Ever Once You've Taught English as a Foreign Language. by Sandra Deeble
Deeble, Sandra, The Independent (London, England)
IF, the next time you're in a meeting, one of your colleagues jumps up and rushes to the flip-chart, grabs a marker pen and illustrates her idea with a flourish before proceeding to ask the rest of the group to discuss the concept in pairs, the likelihood is that she was once a TEFL teacher.
TEFL, or Teaching English as a Foreign Language, has traditionally been the domain of arts and humanities graduates who, post-finals, and clueless about their next step, opt for a year abroad in an attempt to find out what they really want to do.
A chance to travel, learn another language and absorb another culture all make TEFL an attractive option. However, there is always the teaching. At best, it can be stimulating and enriching, at worst, you will find yourself in the role of children's entertainer, horrified to hear yourself speaking loudly and clearly, trying to blot out any memories of the seventies TV comedy Mind Your Language as you plough through the lesson stoically, determined to enlighten your students with your succinct and crystal-clear definition of phrasal verbs. To become a qualified TEFL teacher, all you need is a degree and a bit of cash. The Cambridge CELTA course is hardly a snip (expect to pay an average of pounds 900) but it is widely recognised as the most prestigious qualification, guaranteed to equip you with all the necessary skills to teach English as a foreign language. The course can be done as a four-week intensive, part-time, or even as an evening class. Some 7,000 gained the CELTA qualification last year - with the profile of candidates now widening to include more mature people who have been made redundant and wish to re-skill or those who fancy a change in career. This number far exceeds the demand for UK- based TEFL positions - making English language teaching a highly successful export - with Spain, Italy and Portugal topping the charts as the favourite destinations. Those teachers who aspire to "fast track" career development should set their sights on eastern Europe, where the EFL market is booming. Organisations such as International House, the British Council and VSO offer comprehensive job placement schemes worldwide. But once the novelty of living in a new country has worn off, does the challenge of dreaming up entertaining, attention-holding lessons start to wane? Do you go for total integration in your new country or do you lead a double life, where you work abroad during the academic year, returning to Britain to teach in language schools during the summer? For many, the nine months abroad, three months in the UK pattern soon wears thin, with most TEFL teachers leaving the profession after two years. Beyond Europe, those niggling details which bug you as you get older and wiser, such as a pension plans, tend to be non- existent. Real money is only to be made by those who set up private language schools. In some countries, teachers become trapped by non- transferable salaries. Careers in TEFL do exist but the job opportunities are …
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Publication information: Article title: Smart Moves: One-Stop Teachers Brilliant Communication Skills Are Yours for Ever Once You've Taught English as a Foreign Language. by Sandra Deeble. Contributors: Deeble, Sandra - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: May 24, 1998. Page number: 2. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.