Career 01 June 2020
One thing is for sure, if you are looking for information about TEFL online, whether it is for online training or jobs or accounts about other people's experiences abroad, there is a ton of information to plough through. The choice of training providers for the TEFL certificate is bewildering enough but, once you have your TEFL qualification, what is the best way to find a job?
The bigger job sites like Indeed, Monster or LinkedIn are not always the best places to look for TEFL jobs and it can become a little dispiriting to not find what you want after all the effort you have put into studying for your certificate. Most people in the know use dedicated ESL platforms to look for work and we review some of the best of these here.
Teach Away – Teach Away has an ESL jobs board which allows you to search across multiple vacancies using filters like job title, company, location or key responsibilities. Teach Away also feature useful career advice and helpful blogs
ESL Base – a popular and comprehensive search platform which allows you to search by country. There is a handy job alert system and useful advice about how to keep yourself safe from online scams
Transitions Abroad – a really well laid out site which divides up information country by country so jobs plus so much more that you need to know. There is also a handy sidebar which allows you to search for jobs by categories such as summer jobs and au pair jobs. Transitions Abroad cover TEFL training abroad as well so is a good place to look for information if you fancy studying for your certificate abroad and haven't yet booked up a TEFL training course
Dave's ESL Cafe – this site has been around since 1995 and is quite famous amongst TEFL teachers. It is easily split into finding work or advertising teaching jobs and there are lots of guides, blogs and podcasts to help steer aspiring TEFL travellers
Go Abroad - Go Abroad has plenty of TEFL positions advertised but also has a broader remit and includes volunteer positions and short-term posts, online teaching and online study
Go Overseas – again a platform with a broader range of offerings including studying and voluntary work and now a new online facility to reflect the current lockdown situation
i-to-i – this website offers a jobs board but so much more besides
Working through all of these different sites is time well spent as it will give a great feel for what is out there based on the type of work you are interested in or the destination country. Most of these sites are a mine of information so why not peruse them all and then pick two or three you really like and create an email alert for suitable jobs? This is a great thing to do whilst you are still studying for your TEFL certification as, by the time you actually want to start looking for work, you will have a much clearer idea of what's available and what is possible.
What kind of thing are prospective employers looking for?
Of course, a good TEFL accreditation is top of the list but assuming everyone has one of those, how can you stand out from the crowd? If you put yourself in the shoes of a school or college principal interviewing someone who is thousands of miles away then one of the most important factors for them is a TEFL teacher who can work without constant support and supervision. This is possibly even more important than the TEFL certificate itself and so if you already have TEFL teaching experience then shout about it. If you are new to teaching then use transferable skills from your former employed and even voluntary posts to demonstrate that you can stand on your own two feet and are resourceful and self-reliant in new and unknown situations.
Travel experience is helpful as well even if it does not relate directly to teaching because this will demonstrate to a future employer that you are less likely to suffer from culture shock. This is also perhaps a good reason to choose an English speaking country for your first and possibly subsequent posts because it dilutes this issue. Pick a country you have stayed in before as this neatly sidesteps that particular challenge.
Major on extracurricular activities that you are involved in both sporting and non-sporting; someone who is prepared to engage with the students outside the confines of the classroom is always going to catch the eye of a future employer.
Do your homework. If you have a country or a sector in mind then spend time researching the different jobs that come up – there are bound to be recurrent themes. Often it is about knowing the backdrop of the environment you will be teaching in which provides the greatest clues as to what the employer might be looking for. Sometimes what they don't specify in the job advertisement is almost more important than what they do specify – it's a question of reading between the lines.
Find someone who is teaching in that country or that location right now – there are loads of online bloggers – and see if you can pick their brains. There are also journalists working in the media who specialise in writing about TEFL and the different career options; they are always worth following particularly if they run Q&A sessions or podcasts. Many of the challenges you have are exactly those faced by other aspiring TEFL teachers.
If you are still finding it difficult to get a way in particularly in the current climate then why not start teaching online for an agency? Some of the listed platforms are already converting a lot of their posts to online and remote in order to keep generating work and income; students still need to learn English despite the Coronavirus. It can really help get under the skin of a country if you can start teaching their students even remotely and this will great on your CV when it comes to applying for the real thing.
It is one thing to read and another thing to understand what you are reading. Not only do you want to understand, but also remember what you've read. Otherwise, we can safely say that if we're not gaining anything from what we read, then it's a big waste of time.
Whatever you read, there are ways to do so in a more effective manner to help you understand better. Whether you are reading by choice, for an upcoming test, or work-related material, here are a few ways to help you improve your reading skills and retain that information.
Read with a Purpose
Never has there been a shortage of great books. So, someone recommended a great cookbook for you. You start going through it, but your mind is wandering. This doesn't mean the cookbook was an awful recommendation, but it does mean it doesn't suit nor fulfill your current needs or curiosity.
Maybe your purpose is more about launching a business. Maybe you're a busy mom and can't keep office hours, but there's something you can do from home to help bring in more money, so you want information about that. At that point, you won't benefit from a cookbook, but you could gain a lot of insight and find details here on how-to books about working from home. During this unprecedented year, millions have had to make the transition to work from home, and millions more are deciding to do that. Either way, it's not a transition that comes automatically or easily, but reading about it will inform you about what working from home entails.
When you pre-read it primes your brain when it's time to go over the full text. We pre-read by going over the subheadings, for instance, the table of contents, and skimming through some pages. This is especially useful when you have formal types of academic books. Pre-reading is a sort of warm-up exercise for your brain. It prepares your brain for the rest of the information that will come about and allows your brain to be better able to pick the most essential pieces of information you need from your chosen text.
Highlighting essential sentences or paragraphs is extremely helpful for retaining information. The problem, however, with highlighting is that we wind up highlighting way too much. This happens because we tend to highlight before we begin to understand. Before your pages become a neon of colored highlights, make sure that you only highlight what is essential to improve your understanding and not highlight the whole page.
You might think there have been no new ways to read, but even the ancient skill of reading comes up with innovative ways; enter speed reading. The standard slow process shouldn't affect your understanding, but it does kill your enthusiasm. The average adult goes through around 200 to 250 words per minute. A college student can read around 450 words, while a professor averages about 650 words per minute, to mention a few examples. The average speed reader can manage 1,500 words; quite a difference! Of course, the argument arises between quality and quantity. For avid readers, they want both quantity and quality, which leads us to the next point.
Life is too short to expect to gain knowledge from just one type of genre. Some basic outcomes of reading are to expand your mind, perceive situations and events differently, expose yourself to other viewpoints, and more. If you only stick to one author and one type of material, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn new things.
Having said that, if there's a book you are simply not enjoying, remember that life is also too short to continue reading it. Simply, close it, put it away and maybe give it another go later on, or give it away. There is no shame or guilt in not liking a book; even if it's from a favorite author. It's pretty much clear that you won't gain anything from a book that you don't even enjoy, let alone expect to learn something from it.
If you're able to summarize what you have read, then you have understood. When you summarize, you are bringing up all the major points that enhance your understanding. You can easily do so chapter by chapter.
Take a good look at your life and what's going on in it. Accordingly, you'll choose the material that is much more suitable for your situation and circumstances. When you read a piece of information that you find beneficial, look for a way to apply it to your life. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't all that beneficial. But the application of knowledge from a helpful book is what will help you and make your life more interesting and more meaningful.