As we grow older it’s all very easy to sit and wonder why we didn't do certain things before it became ‘too late’. And whenever I hear people say, ‘I wish I’d done this’ my response is always, “What’s stopping you from doing it now?”, a question that usually stops a person in their tracks and makes them think.
The replies I get vary from “I’m too old” to “I don’t have the money/time/energy”. Now, whilst I’m one for having empathy for the saying “It’s never too late” unfortunately, age does prevent people from doing the things they wished they’d done but never gotten around to doing. However, what do we deem as “too old?”. It’s all well and good to say, for example, that an 80 year old is too old to do a sky-dive but if the 80 year old in question is physically and mentally fit, why shouldn't they be able to do it? A guy I worked with takes his 84 year old mother to football matches regularly and she loves it. She also recently did para-sailing (where you’re harnessed to a parachute and pulled along by a boat) and I think it’s fantastic that she did it because it’s something she’s always wanted to do before she dies.
Another misconception that people have is that they need to save money before they die. For what? If you have children (who are older than teens) they should be earning their own money and be able to look after themselves. I say spend it. It’s yours, you've earned it and you’re entitled to do with it what you will.
So, how old do you need to be to become a TEFL teacher? Is there an age limit? The simple answer is no, you’re never too old to teach English! Older people have experience, time and patience. I’m not saying that younger people don’t have these qualities, but you should never put yourself to the back of the queue, or worse still, get out of the queue entirely just because of the date on your birth certificate. Yes, some employers and visas do have age restrictions and some schools do think of a younger teacher as the ideal candidate. However, others would prefer the more mature teacher as they know they're more likely to stick around and aren't just going to be there for the summer and then moving on to another country because they're only teaching in order to be able to travel. Oxbridge TEFL
are one such company who don't discriminate; they employ teachers on merit rather than age.
If you find yourself wanting to teach but you feel it's 'too late' and/or don't know how to go about it, take note of the following:
Sell yourself and your experiences
Don’t be afraid to big yourself up. You’ve got lots of life experience which will be invaluable to you in the classroom. As an older TEFL teacher this will make you stand out from the crowd.
If you are confident you can do pretty much anything. A nervous candidate won’t come across as well as a confident one does. If you are nervous about becoming a teacher due to your age then the employer will too.
Don’t give up
If you don’t have any luck at one school, try again. There is a huge demand for teachers worldwide, so there are plenty of TEFL jobs in the sea. Don’t get disheartened if you don’t have much luck at the start, keep at it and it will be worth it in the end. Even if you don't procure a job with a school, you can always teach privately.
Age is just a number, confidence is the key. So if you think you are confident enough to be able to teach English, click here
for a no obligation interview and achieve one of your goals today. In fact, you should make it your goal to do something that you've never done before at least once a year and live your life to the full. As the people at Nike would say, "Just Do It!"...
before it's too late.