Before checking out an international school, before thinking about teaching English students, TEFL teachers should consider four things. TEFL is Teaching English as a Foreign Language.
When searching for an overseas teaching job, English teachers have many things to prepare and think about beforehand. Four important things to consider are the country and city the TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teacher wishes to work in, along with the age and English level of the English students.
Choosing a country and city to spend the next 6 to 12 months of their life in should not be taken lightly by future foreign language teachers. Before contacting any international schools, the English teacher should consider what he would like to do in his free time. Does he want to learn about history and culture, learn a new language, see the nightlife, or travel between classes?
Without having a firm idea of what he wants to do, a TEFL teacher who likes a party may end up teaching at an English school in small towns. An English teacher wishing to learn about history could be stuck in a factory city teaching at an ESL school for migrant workers. Or the TEFL teacher may become discouraged because of the vastly different cultural norms that he was not expecting.
For a TEFL teacher who wishes to stay in a culture that is at least similar to his own, teaching English in Europe or Latin America is likely the best option. They’re exotic enough to be exciting, but not strange enough to cause homesickness quickly.
Teaching English as a foreign language in Asia or the Middle East will truly broaden an English teacher’s horizon to learn about history or very exotic cultures. TEFL teachers wishing to help poor people would be smart to look at teaching English in a developing country.
If the English teacher wishes to travel frequently, teaching English in a major city will provide easy access to airports, train stations, and buses, allowing quick weekend getaways. For foreign language teachers wishing to get away from it all or help poor English students, getting a teaching job in a village while hard, can be a heartwarming experience and a chance to get away from noisy cities.
A large international city is best for TEFL teachers searching for a fast-paced culture with a Western approach to life.
After choosing a country and possibly a city or at least a type of city, the next important question is the English level and age of the TEFL students. Many English teachers, especially at the beginning say they are ready and willing to teach English to anyone. This is true for some TEFL teachers, but new English teachers should be more cautious.
Teaching English as a foreign language to basic level students is very different from teaching advanced English. For TEFL teachers who like to have conversations with their English students and have more flexible classes, upper-intermediate and advanced English classes should be chosen. These TEFL students can interact more freely with the English teacher and say what they think.
Basic level and lower intermediate English students are better suited for teachers who prefer a more structured class and enjoy playing English games. Due to the low level of English amongst these students, having a more freestyle teaching can work but requires a lot of skill from the TEFL teacher. So a more rigid teaching plan is better for this level, as beginning English students often prefer having everything organized for ease of learning.
The age of the English students at the international school is also of great importance. Teaching young children requires patience, a fun attitude, and an ability to create short, fun, energy-filled English activities. Older English as a Foreign Language students requires TEFL classes that focus tighter focus certain topics, words, and grammar.
If the English teacher tries to play too many games or quickly jumps from one English activity to another, it will make the English students lose interest and not take the class seriously. Adult English students require more reality-based skills and knowledge. Using English games when teaching English to adults will often be seen as demeaning.
Teaching English as a foreign language will take an English teacher all over the world and put him in many different situations. If the TEFL teacher chooses the wrong country or the wrong international school, his teaching job will be filled with frustration.
By carefully considering where to teach English and what type of English students to teach, TEFL teachers will have a much better time at their international schools. When applying for a teaching job overseas an English teacher shouldn’t just pick any English school, he should pick the international school that best fits his needs.