Teaching English abroad has become an immensely popular way to experience foreign countries, their people, and their culture to a depth no ordinary tourist can ever reach. You can teach around the world in formal schools, language schools, online via the internet from a beach, teach your own students privately or volunteer.
You can commit to short volunteer stints of just a few weeks or teach for months, semesters or years as a formal or language school teacher. This experience could also be a test to find out whether you want to commit to becoming a fully licensed teacher to move around the world as a qualified school teacher.
What is TEFL?
TEFL is an acronym that stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language. It is a generic term that covers teaching English to non-native students in their home country or abroad. You may come across other acronyms such as TESOL or CELTA, but they all refer to the same idea.
How to become a TEFL Teacher
There are two ways to become qualified as a TEFL teacher. You can take an onsite 4-week course with face-to-face training that includes 6 observed teaching practices at a range of local schools and age groups usually in the country, or area of the world, where you plan to teach. This is the most effective way to develop classroom skills, knowledge and gain experience and confidence.
You will also make many new friends and have the support of your training school when looking for work and accommodation. These training schools often employ teachers straight from their courses but will always offer job support anyway for teachers looking for employment independently. An extra benefit is that you can notarize your TEFL certificate if it is issued by a licensed school. This is an employment requirement for teaching in China and Vietnam.
The second way to ‘train’ as a TEFL teacher is to take a course online. You will be sent texts and will need to research answers for tests and assignments. Very few online schools offer practical skills training or observed teaching practices. These courses are, however, a lot cheaper than a hands-on 4-week course. However, the adage that you get what you pay for could not be truer regarding these two types of course. Some courses are particularly good and give lots of support, but those ones will not be found as a special offer for 350 ZAR on Groupon.
SEE TEFL School, Chiang Mai, Thailand
SEE TEFL is a 4-week onsite practical skills training course that also includes language awareness training, some Thai language training, cultural awareness training and 6 observed teaching practices at local schools. Training takes place in our purpose-built 3-floors training school in beautiful Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. Since our school opened in 2006, we have trained over 2,000 effective TEFL teachers, including many South Africans. We guarantee that if you follow our job support guidance, you will find employment quickly after training. We are licensed by the Thai Ministry of Education to provide TEFL training. Read through this website to find out more about us, what we do and how we do it.
Take a tour of our Chiang Mai Training School ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqvgsU_OLaM )
How to get to Chiang Mai, Thailand
Check websites such as Skyscanner or Expedia to find great deals on flights. Prices are usually cheaper if you are prepared to have a number connecting flights or if you fly at unsociable hours. These savings add up though and will give you a bigger financial safety net when you arrive. Chiang Mai has an international airport, so it is possible to buy 1 ticket, albeit with flight changes, that brings you all the way here without unloading and loading again your luggage.
Once you arrive at Chiang Mai airport, you will see fixed rate taxi booths in the Arrivals Hall. Expect to pay around 90 ZAR to travel the 5km from the airport to the center of the city. The city is a popular traveler center so there is a lot of good quality affordable accommodation.
Most people arrive with either a 60-day Tourist Visa obtained from any Thai embassy or consulate or arrive without a visa and receive a 30-day visa exemption. Both options can be extended for a further 30 days in Chiang Mai and both options allow you to take a short training course and look for work. Read our visa pages for more information.
Discover the beauty of Chiang Mai ( https://vimeo.com/104556585 )
How do I become a legal TEFL teacher in Thailand?
Normally to obtain a non-immigrant B (Business) visa and work permit for teaching, you will first need a recognized bachelor’s degree. The first step is to find work, then your school will prepare paperwork to support your non-immigrant B visa application. The second step is a work permit application at your local Labor Office. Schools will coordinate the paperwork and show you what to do and where to go.
Some schools will employ you as a classroom assistant and non-formal schools (language schools) can usually employ you through their school license. Another option is to move to Cambodia after training where a degree is not an employment requirement.
Do I need to speak Thai to teach English?
No, you do not. In fact, the language classroom should be an English only environment. You will be equipped with skills and techniques to explain complex ideas, such as context, grammar, and sounds. Your language will always be correct models but graded to the level of the students you are teaching. The language teaching skills you will develop are universal; they can be used to teach English or any other language you can use proficiently, such as German or Dutch.
Google our name for reviews and blogs written by our trainees, research the SEE TEFL website, contact us with your questions and then when you are ready to commit, visit our Registration page, select a training date, and make a course fee deposit.
A selection of reviews:
Nice atmosphere to work in. The course is an efficient way to teach English as a foreign language. It’s also a well structured programme to build confidence in teaching through the six observed teaching practices. One of my friends recommended this course, and I’ll definitely do the same.
I have learned more than I thought possible in four weeks. Thank you for helping make the transition from South Africa to teaching and living in Thailand so rewarding.
Teaching input is very well structured and was presented in a comprehensive way. The information was very practical & turned out extremely useful during the teaching practices. The Observed Teaching Practice feedback was super helpful and given in a very encouraging way. You really have the feeling that you are supported here.
WOW!!! There is so much to say, however, I’ll keep it very brief. 1st impression is so very important! it all started with an email inquiry – I got a response the next day. Every question and concern I had prior to making my deposit was answered with an immediate response. Then I arrived and from the moment I entered the classroom and met my trainers and classmates, I knew I had come to the right place. I cannot think of a single thing you need to improve. I thank you for standing by us from the beginning to the end. You made yourselves accessible to us from day one. My gratitude to the entire staff at SEE TEFL.