For the budding EFL Teacher, which certificate to get is a serious decision. There are so many options out there that it can seem a bit daunting when trying to actually pick one. The two highest ranking qualifications are the CELTA and the Trinity Cert TESOL. Both are fine qualifications with excellent reputations and if TEFL is a path you intend on following, it is highly recommended to invest in one of these pricey-but-worth-it qualifications.
But, for those that are planning to travel and teach for a year, or those that want to test the TEFL waters before committing to an investment such as the CELTA, I highly recommend the i-to-i TEFL course.
This course cost me 350GBP and included a free 10 Hour course on Business English. The overall course was 150 hours which included a 20 hour classroom section (essential practical experience that many employers will expect), a grammar review, a TEFL course and 50 hours of specialist subjects which included Teaching Young Learners, Teaching with Limited Resources and Teaching Large Groups. Do check groupon consistently! The same course can be bought at a much reduced price if you manage to catch one of the codes.
The online material was fairly easy and took around 2 – 3 weeks to complete with only a few hours every night dedicated to the work. A friend of mine finished the material in just one week. The practical weekend of the course was thoroughly enjoyable, with trainees being given the opportunity to meet and greet with a large group of other aspiring teachers. The course leader, Leanne, made the weekend very enjoyable and to this day I still use some of the games and methods she showed us in the classroom.
Upon completion of each module, I received an email with a certificate in. Completion of each module is based on a multiple choice question and a 500 word essay which gets marked by an assessor and yes, you CAN fail. You get three chances to pass each module so heed any advice given to you by the examiners. The course expects you to create a lot of lesson plans which is an essential skill for any teacher!
The website offers a variety of hours for learners but the reality of TEFL is, you will struggle to find a job with less than 140 Hours of training. Not impossible, but why take the risk! The i-to-i website also has a variety of humanitarian, internship and volunteer roles and has trusted job listings.
I chose i-to-i for a few different reasons. Firstly, it has been tried and tested by a friend of mine who had already been offered a job abroad. Secondly, the course was well within my price range as a recent graduate and thirdly, it allowed me to study at a pace I felt comfortable with. For me, I wanted to finish it as soon as possible and get on a plane, but for someone with a more hectic lifestyle, it certainly allows for some breathing room.
I have now been living abroad for the three years, two years in Hong Kong working for a company that promoted me to a middle management role and I am currently finishing up my third year in Japan where I work for a small privately owned business in Hiroshima. I have yet to struggle to find a good position with my TEFL and could not be more pleased with the option I chose.
If anyone has any questions, please don’t hesitate to comment or contact me for any information on my current work.