Get a job
Without an in-class course there are many places you can’t teach. In Canada, you need a TESL Canada recognized course as well as in-class practicum experience. While there are a very small number of online TESOL course that are recognized by TESL Canada, they do not provide you with the necessary practicum component. Without connections, it can next to impossible to find a placement. If you take a class with us, we’ll set you up with a practicum. The bottom line is, if you want to teach in Canada, take an in-class course. If you’re still reading, I’ll assume you plan to teach abroad. In this case, you should know that many countries and schools now require in-class certification.
Get a good job
So what, you say. I’ve seen postings that don’t require in-class certification. Think about it. If a school doesn’t care whether or not their teachers have any practical experience, this may be the sort of the school that also doesn’t care if their teachers get paid. There are many unscrupulous businesses. Most reputable schools require in-class certification. Reputable schools are more likely to treat you well. Even if an in-class course is not explicitly stated as a requirement, many coveted positions, such as the EPIK program in Korea, view in-class training as a huge advantage. It can be the factor that sets you apart from other candidates.
Get a job you like
Teaching is rewarding but it isn’t for everyone. Wouldn’t you rather find out whether you like it before you commit to a year in another country? A course is an investment in time and money but it pales in comparison to the investment you’ll be making when you sign a contract with a company. Your travels abroad may be dependent on the visa supplied by your employer, meaning you may not be able to up and quit with ease.
Learning to teach is a bit like learning to drive a car. You can read all the theory you like but it doesn’t mean much until your put it into practice. Taking an in-class course is like taking driving lessons. It gives you a chance to try in a safe environment before you’re all on your own on the highway. Teaching a new class in a new school in a new country is challenging enough without the added dimension of never having been in the driver’s seat.
Get a network
Maybe you’re so focused on the promise of adventure that it’s hard for you to care about the job. You think you’ll figure it out when you get there. Even if your first concern isn’t your job or your abilities, think about the networking opportunities you’re missing out on. When you take an in-class course, you meet other teachers in training who have similar plans. You might meet someone who can connect you with a place to stay in Thailand or who can get you a deal on a flight to Japan. If you want to travel to meet new people and broaden your horizons, view your in-class course as the first step.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/laracores/8607705156/”>Lara Cores</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>