As with a lot of professions, there are preconceived notions when it comes to TEFL (both good and bad) that aren't necessarily true. I have listed below a few TEFL myths
and the reasoning behind why they are just that.
FACT: Although it does help your chances of gaining employment as a TEFL teacher, it certainly isn't a requirement that you were born and raised in the UK. In my experience (not just as a teacher but in life in general) there are many people born outside of the UK whose spoken English is even better than those who were raised there, simply because they went all out to learn it, and learn it well! Non-native TEFL teachers are sometimes even more empathetic with students as they understand the complexities of the learning process. They've been learners too!
FACT: Whilst some countries, namely Japan, Greece and South Korea do require you to have a degree in order to get the correct working visa, it is not a necessity in ALL countries, so there are still plenty of opportunities to teach all over the world in places such as Ecuador, Spain and the Czech Republic to name but a few.
FACT: If you were to ask any TEFL teacher if this is the case I'm pretty sure they would be annoyed that you thought it. Of course you have to teach, otherwise your students won't learn anything and you will no longer have a job. I think what people mean when they think this is that the job isn't regimented; you don't have deadlines to meet, you don't have to stick to the material you're given, you don't need to be too strict, etc. Providing your students are actually learning then you can be fairly flexible in the way you teach. But, yes, you do
have to teach.
FACT: Following on from the previous myth, just because you may not work a 40-hour week, it doesn't mean you're always 'on holiday'. TEFL teachers who work in schools will usually work from 8:00 until 16:00 Monday to Friday and if you work for a company you could be working from 9:00 until as late as 21:00. This doesn't mean you're doing a 12-hour day, since the hours are spread out and you will have gaps in between, but it doesn't mean you can laze around doing nothing while you're not working - there are activities to write, lessons to plan and students to grade. So, no, it really isn't just one big holiday.
FACT: You can teach English if you know how to teach English. Whilst there are many English teachers teaching without a TEFL qualification (irrespective of age), it is better to have a TEFL qualification behind you so that your prospective employers know you are capable of teaching. Yes it is true that some schools or academies will employ you without a TEFL but if it came down to employing someone without a TEFL certificate as opposed to someone with one, who do you think they will choose? Age is certainly not a factor. If you want to increase your chances of becoming a TEFL teacher, click here
and take the first step in gaining a TEFL certificate.