Choosing your TEFL school

TtMadrid TEFL Course leading teacher training center in Spain

It’s difficult to take the plunge and commit to a TEFL school with so much information online. After years of helping future teachers decide what TEFL course is right for them, I have worked out a fairly simple set of guidelines to find the right course for you:

*   Accreditation
*   Remember – there are never too many questions!
*   Is there pre-course and post-course support?
*   Do you get that ‘fuzzy feeling’?
*   Do they guarantee work afterwards?
*   What if it’s too good to be true…
*   Do you want to pay to party or to become a teacher?

1-  ACCREDITATION:

There are quite a few accrediting bodies, and it can often get confusing which one is the right one for you. that it has included real teaching practice (6 hours is sufficient) and that you know your grammar post-course. An online course is a nice introduction – but for me, it’s simple, would you drive a car after only doing an on-line course?! Sometimes, the theory is all well and good but you need the in-person experience.

If you are doing a course outside your own country and are unable to visit the school yourself, make sure the accreditation body regularly visits the facility and inspects it. You can then be sure that they are continuously committed to the standards they say.

Beware of TEFL academies that use the term ‘internationally recognised’ which doesn’t actually mean anything. Check with the organization to make sure that if it says it’s accredited that it really is. It may take a few minutes and a few uncomfortable questions but it could save an awful lot of heartache. If the course is legitimate, the team will have no issues providing proof of the accreditation and all the information you need.

2-  REMEMBER – THERE ARE NEVER TOO MANY QUESTIONS:

It’s always frustrating being referred back to a website for information when what you were looking for was a personal answer. Moving away from home and setting up your life in a new country is a big step so you should make sure the TEFL provider is willing to answer as many questions as you have. Be persistent and get the answers you want.
Ask to be put in touch with recent graduates who have a similar age and background as you. They won’t be trying to sell you a course and you can usually rely on them to give you some frank and honest advice. Remember, you should get all this support before you even consider paying a deposit.

3-  IS THERE SUPPORT PRE-COURSE AND POST-COURSE?

Find out what support you are given pre-course, such as assistance finding accommodation; organizing visas; setting up a bank account; getting a mobile phone and anything else you need to be make your transition into the new culture more comfortable. This is especially important if you don’t speak the language of the country you are going to.

With post course support, you need to know that the academy is there to help you with getting a job, can give you access to resources and advice about life in general. There is nothing worse than being given your TEFL certificate and then never seeing or hearing from your TEFL school again. You will need to understand how to best market yourself to employers, how to manage your new timetable and also you’ll want to have someone there in case you have any questions. Many people finish their TEFL at some centers and feel very out of their depth once they leave.

4-  DO YOU GET THAT ‘FUZZY FEELING’?

Don’t underestimate your gut instincts. If you get that warm ‘fuzzy feeling’ and the course is accredited, go for it. If the feeling you get through the initial contact is good, then you are probably onto a winner.

5-  Do they guarantee work afterwards?

It can be the best TEFL course in the world but if they don’t help you find a job and get you connected, then they have let you down. Talk through the type of work you are looking for, business, general, children, teenagers, intensive work, etc. Do they have contacts in that particular field? Again, ask to be put in touch with graduates who have been there for more than 6 months plus to find out about their experiences. You are never going to get your golden schedule and the perfect job straight after the course but by the 6 months mark, you should be nearly there.

6-  IF IT’S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE…

The TEFL industry whether it is in Madrid, Morocco or Mauritius, as with any industry, has some companies that claim to be something they’re not. If their claims seem too good to be true and not backed up with any real evidence or the price is very cheap, then think carefully before taking the plunge… if it seems too good to be true it might just be that.

7-  DO YOU WANT TO PAY TO PARTY OR TO BECOME A TEACHER?

The social side of any course is very important – post-course! Remember you are learning to become a teacher and more importantly, you are paying to become a teacher. A good TEFL course should be intensive, hard work and rewarding!!

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