Should I get some English Teaching Training before I go to China?
Will training in teaching English help?
Advertisements for ESL/EFL jobs used to say that you just needed to come on over and have a chat with your class. That was true, maybe, 10-15 years ago. And in some places you can still get away with doing a poor job of teaching. But these days schools are actually expecting teachers to provide a lesson plan and/or to demonstrate at least some skill in the classroom.
It’s only fair, isn’t it?
China’s ESL/EFL students pay, what for them, is a large amount of money to be in the classroom with you. Wouldn’t it be fair of them to expect that you have some skills? To expect that you might have some notion of the best way to teach them English? That you have at least a rudimentary knowledge of grammar and how to explain it to them?
It’s Not Rocket Science
Okay, teaching English as a foreign language is not rocket science. Really, it’s not that tough. But, organizing your thoughts and abilities in a way to benefit your classes and help your students learn DOES require some skill that TEFL training provides.
What kind of training?
Any kind of training is better than no training. You can find some free training as a volunteer from organizations like Literacy Volunteers of America. There are online courses that are inexpensive. All of them will provide you with some beginnings of the knowledge and skill you need to do a decent job.
The ideal training is TEFL certification training where you will teach practice classes with a teacher-trainer observing you and giving you feedback after each class. Preferably six to eight hours or more, so you have enough practice and time to begin professionalize your skills and to have a chance to become at least a semi-skilled teacher. Will you become a seasoned “pro” with such a class? No, but you will have a good idea of what needs to be done and how to continue to improve.
What kind of training do employers look for?
Sadly, some employers have no expectations that you have any training at all, yet they wonder why their students don’t sign up for the NEXT class or why, after YEARS of classes the students still can’t string together a decent sentence. Other employers have some very specific ideas about what training they would like you to have had.
You won’t be able to please everyone in every country, but with a good TEFL training course (and most of them are good courses) you will have what 95% of employers are more than satisfied with. And, enough training to feel like you are doing a good job and have some real satisfaction about the work you are doing. It’s a great feeling!
Getting a some training first also says, I’m serious about this, it’s not just a lark. AND it puts you in front of your competitors in China for the job you want most.
How do I find the best TEFL Training course for me?
Most courses are fine and China accept online course or in-classroom courses equally. Ideally take an in-classroom course, but many people find them too expensive when you add up taking a full four-to-six weeks off from work, the course fee and accommodation/food costs if you need to travel to the course.
Good online TEFL certification programs such as TEFL Boot Camp can provide you with the basics to get started and you don’t have to spend a fortune. TEFL Boot Camp also has a free section that can give you a good feel for EFL teaching. Listen to the free podcasts and free videos too.
Do yourself and your students a favor and develop your teaching skills. You might find that you love the profession as much as I did and end up spending the rest of your life overseas teaching, seeing the world, and frankly – just having a ball!
We recommend TEFL Boot Camp – CLICK HERE to learn more (opens in a new window).