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Even if you are a very good English speaker – even if it is your first language or you have spoken it fluently from a very young age – you will still need proper training in order to take on a position as a TEFL worker in another country.
Fortunately there is plenty of information and advice around for South Africans who want to teach English as a foreign language. Here we have outlined the basics of the TEFL training you will have to undergo before you can look to foreign shores and the start of a new and rewarding career.
What kind of educational background do you need?
You should ensure you have Matric at the very least. Indeed this is asked for by those looking for TEFL workers in some countries, such as Thailand for example.
However some countries require more experience in teaching, so consider which country you would rather go to in order to teach English as a foreign language. For instance you may be required to have a diploma or degree in teaching or education, so this would require you to spend three years or so studying for this qualification.
Is there a specific qualification you need in order to teach English as a foreign language?
Yes – you need to look for a TESOL qualification. This stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and it means you are qualified to teach English to non-English speakers, hence teaching it as a foreign language.
Make sure the TESOL course you choose is fully accredited so you will end up with the recognised qualification you need. This is your key – your passport, if you will – to being able to teach in this capacity in other countries.
You will notice there are different levels of TESOL courses as well. They are designed to give you the knowledge you need for different countries, as well as providing more in depth teaching abilities. You will also find it easier to get a more advanced position if you opt for the more advanced TESOL course levels.
Are there different types of TESOL courses you can take, or is there just one single certificate?
The TESOL certificate is the main requirement, but you will notice some courses offer additional areas of learning as well. This is separate to the different levels mentioned above.
For example you can take a course that also provides additional information and support for teaching people who work in business. Other courses have additional advice and information for teaching in a one to one situation, or in the classroom. These might be worth bearing in mind if you know you want to teach a particular audience. It will help strengthen the knowledge you have before you go abroad to start your teaching career.
As you can see becoming a TEFL worker can be an enormously eye opening and rewarding job. It can take you abroad to teach many different people how to speak English, and it will open up many new opportunities for you as well.