5 Benefits of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)
Guest contributor Pearl explains what you can get out of teaching English as a Foreign Language, and the criteria you would need to meet.
Globalization has become the foundation of a functioning society, and to successfully operate in a global domain, effective communication is key. For this reason, there is a need for a common tongue that people worldwide can speak and understand. And this is where the English language comes in, as it’s considered to be the international language. Now that it has become a necessity, the demand for learning English has increased, and so teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) has also become important.
TEFL generates thousands of professional opportunities in every corner of the world. It not only nurtures students and teachers alike, but it also strengthens connections, establishes bonds, and builds communities.
Photo: TEFL ef.com
5 Benefits of TEFL
1. The world is your oyster
TEFL mostly thrives in the digital world, which means that your workspace can be anywhere as long as you have a decent internet connection; there is no need for physical presence, so working remotely is entirely feasible.
The flexible work arrangement for TEFL makes it possible for you to get paid while teaching English remotely from home, travelling, or living abroad. Being a TEFL teacher also allows you to experience other cultures as you meet people from all over the globe. As a bonus, some companies are willing to cover your bills, meals, and transportation.
2. It pays well
According to Preply, an online tutoring platform, the average hourly rate for an online tutor is £12.90 and their top tutors can earn up to £390 per week. They suggest that the average online tutor salary actually depends on three factors — working hours per week, the subject(s) you tutor, and how you find new students.
But of course, the amount you can save depends on the company and the country you are working in. If you are in Bolivia or South Korea, a monthly salary of £700 will afford you a comfortable lifestyle. However, in Barcelona, this will probably not be the case.
TEFL hotspots in Asia such as South Korea and Taiwan generally have a remarkably high average monthly salary that ranges from around £1400 to £2000, depending on your professional teaching experience. In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and UAE have the highest salaries, ranging from £2000 to £3500 per month, including benefits of housing, health insurance, and round-trip flights home.
3. You get flexible hours
How much you make as a TEFL teacher online can also depend on various other factors. Aside from your location, you can also decide your time flexibility. You can go over the usual nine-to-five schedule or work for fewer hours at a time. However, be mindful when picking your schedule. Consider the “peak hours” to get bookings, which will vary depending on the country you’re based in.
The pay is also conditional on the hourly rate that the company offers. Most companies pay £8.50 to £17.50 per hour based on your experience, performance, and how you did during the screening process. But don’t worry about starting at a lower rate. Instead, focus on improving your skills or experience. There is always a possibility to have your rate increased over time, or to move to another company with a higher pay rate after acquiring enough TEFL experience.
4. Your experience increases your employability & marketability
Being a TEFL teacher provides you with an opportunity to gain the benefits that a typical teacher or an office employee gets, such as a regular pay check and healthcare cover. Moreover, it helps you build your CV, especially if you choose a classroom-based teaching arrangement. International experience will help make your CV stand out. Whether you prefer online or classroom-based teaching, it will undoubtedly help you prepare for future teaching opportunities.
Some foreign governments or companies are willing to offer premium pay, free airfare, housing accommodation and settlement allowance for TEFL teachers. There are many positions through international teaching agencies that can help you arrange the necessary paperwork such as a visa so you can work legally in other countries.
Healthcare insurance coverage for TEFL teachers varies from country to country and companies. It is typically available in major Asian job markets such as in South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Hong kong, China, but not always in Thailand. European Union citizens teaching in EU countries or their own countries are often covered as well. If you are a non-EU citizen on a working permit, you will most likely be within the nation’s health care. Enquire about health insurance from potential employers.
If you do your research, you’re likely to find a good selection of companies that can meet your requirements.
5. You open learning opportunities for yourself & for others
One of the best parts of being a TEFL teacher is getting to meet new people and travelling to different parts of the world. However, the best takeaway here is the difference you can make to your students’ lives.
When it comes to your own learning experience, you’ll also have the opportunity to learn the native language spoken in the country where you are teaching. TEFL gives you the chance to diversify. You can learn how to deal with different personalities and new challenges. TEFL trains you to adapt to new environments and takes away the fear of coming out of your comfort zone.
The Road to TEFL
All companies will have their own list of requirements for the teachers they want to hire, but they usually look for these essential criteria:
TEFL companies prefer to hire people with a bachelor’s degree, and your options will be more limited without one.
Having previous teaching experience, whether in a traditional classroom, an online platform, or as a private tutor, can significantly enhance your application to certain companies. You may also be in a position to negotiate higher starting pay if you have some form of teaching experience up your sleeve.
While not every online teaching company lists this as a requirement, being certified also makes you stand out as an applicant. The TEFL Certification is a way to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to be a good teacher. You can choose whether to do a classroom-based course or an online course. You will have the opportunity to get feedback on your training too.
But if you don’t have a TEFL certification, do not fret because there are still organisations that would be willing to hire you. For instance, in a lot of online teaching companies, TEFL certification is not a requirement as long as you have the skills and the tenacity to teach.
Being language savvy has never been more appealing and beneficial. And certainly, becoming a TEFL instructor lets you experience new things, gain confidence, acquire new skills, and be immersed in new cultures. And ultimately, it brings you one step closer to independence.
Find out more:
Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) – Online or Abroad
Find out why teaching English can be a lucrative and rewarding way to earn some money
How to become a teacher
If you want to use your skills and knowledge to educate others and change lives, maybe teaching is the career for you
About the author
Pearl is a freelance writer who’s passionate about bringing ideas to life. She runs a content factory where she offers to help fellow freelancers and business owners to create insightful, interesting, and compelling writing about hustling, leadership, entrepreneurship, and digital marketing.