Choosing the Right TEFL/TESOL Course Do you want to become TESOL/TEFL certified, but not sure which course is the best for you? This guide will point out some tips to help YOU make the best decision for your ESL career and lifestyle. When can I become TESOL/TEFL certified? As long as you’re 18 years old, you can take a TESOL/TEFL course. Whether you’re in college, working, or both, you can find TESOl/TEFL courses that will fit your needs and your lifestyle. There are online and in-class courses that are located all across the globe from which you can choose. Does TESOL/TEFL certification increase my chances of securing an ESL job? In most countries, TESOL/TEFL certification is required to qualify for job positions in the English teaching field. Several countries view TESOL/TEFL certification as a preference, not a requirement. However, holding a TESOL/TEFL certification will definitely make you a more marketable candidate and will increase your chances of finding a better position with higher pay. Online, in-class, or combined? Choosing an online, in-class, or combined course depends on where you live, your lifestyle, and your timeline. Let’s first take a look at online courses. Online TESOL/TEFL courses offer flexibility for any schedule and can be completed within 1-3 months, depending on the number of hours you choose and how often you work on the course. Upon purchasing an online course, you have instant access to the modules online and you can start working through them accordingly. Most online courses include short quizzes at the end of each module and one final written assignment that will be graded. Once you have passed the course, you will receive a digital certificate as well as a physical certificate. Some online courses also require a minimum number of practicum hours of teaching to real ESL students. Online class prices can start at $200 USD. In-class TESOL/TEFL courses vary depending on your location and larger cities offer more programs. You can even take a TESOL/TEFL course in a country in which you are interested and start teaching right after you’ve received your certification. In an in-class setting, you have the opportunity to practice hands-on teaching and gain real experience teaching ESL students. Most in-class TESOL/TEFL courses are small, and you will be able to build friendships with your classmates and instructor. In-class courses cost significantly more than online courses, with basic 4-week classes starting at around $1490 USD. Combined, or hybrid, TESOL/TEFL courses typically include an online TESOL/TEFL certification course along with several hours of practicum. While the in-class practicum times are set, the online modules are more flexible to work with your schedule. The length of hybrid classes ranges from one to four weeks and the cost includes the online TESOL/TEFL certification course, registration, and tuition fees. In some cases, you may choose the length of the online TESOL/TEFL certification, which will affect the overall price. Which level of certification should I take? If you want to teach abroad, most English teaching positions require a basic 120-hour TESOL/TEFL certificate. However, there are longer in-depth courses that may be more beneficial to you. There are also short 40–100-hour courses which may be helpful if you’re looking to gain knowledge on a particular subject, such as teaching young learners or classroom management. What do employers want? As long as you are TESOL/TEFL certified, an employer is going to hire you. While some employers prefer candidates with practicum experience, most aren’t picky. In fact, most teachers who go abroad to teach English aren’t education majors and don’t have teaching experience. However, some teaching positions have higher requirements, so if you are interested in teaching at a university or an international school, do some research to find out the certifications that are required. Employers are looking for certified teachers who are energetic, active, and passionate about teaching. If you have these qualities, then finding an ESL job abroad will not be hard at all!
ESL Teacher Resources Classrooms are different and to be better prepared, ask your employer what resources will be in the classroom. Is there a computer? Is there a whiteboard? Is there a projector? These things can help you as you begin your teaching journey. A good question to ask your employer is whether there is a budget for classroom materials and supplies. You may end up budgeting your own personal resources to buy markers, tape, or construction paper. While most countries offer basic office supplies, taking your own resources that are harder to find abroad will make sure your classes are fun and engaged. Here are some resources that are harder to find abroad, so you may want to bring them over with you instead: 1. Flash Cards As an English teacher, alphabet flashcards can be a great resource to encourage young learners to match letters, sounds, and words. Simple activities such as rearranging the alphabet, making short words, or matching capital and lowercase letters together engages children and offers a variety of game possibilities. Flashcards are not common in other countries, so if you don't bring flashcards with you, you may have to print and laminate sets later on. 2. Card Games I found that my advanced English level students loved to play Apples to Apples and they enjoyed being able to choose the winning word. As they paired nouns with adjectives, they learned new words. Card games that can be played for a short period of time and involve learning English is a great way to encourage learners to participate actively in class. Although card games may not quite fit into your bag, you can find versions of the game online to print and laminate. Here are some other resources that you can purchase once you’ve arrived in the country: 1. Small Whiteboard/Chalkboard Each student can practice writing answers on a small whiteboard or chalkboard. Dividing the class into two teams, the teacher could have one person from each team compete to say the word that the teacher wrote on the board first. 2. Folders Folders are important for all teachers to stay organized and keep up with homework assignments that need to be graded. Keeping all of your papers organized will help save a headache later. 3. Alphabet Magnets Inherited from previous teachers, my alphabet magnets were a great resource for competition as the children raced against each other to spell words correctly. 4. Dice If you are playing a point-based game, dice can help the students wrack up points to win and compete. I created several games in PowerPoint that required the students to work together to earn a certain number of points to receive stamps for our hagwon’s reward program. 5. USB Drive Being able to store all of your documents and files in one place is great for ESL teachers. USB drives are small and portable. You never know when you may need to save information! 6. Stamps and Stickers Cute stamps can be found almost anywhere! Not only can stamps be used for homework but also for points. At the end of each class, each teacher at my academy would reward the students with stamps, with which the children could exchange for prizes. What child doesn’t love stickers to stick on their face? These resources can help you stand out and help you become a great ESL teacher for your students! With a little imagination and creativity, you can turn a boring class into a simulating and exciting learning environment.
Living with an ESL teacher salary in Korea With all the benefits awarded depending on the contract, teachers can save approx. $1,000 per month. Let’s do a little breakdown including expenditure. Keep in mind every country will be different due to differences in taxation. Example: Jane/ American/ Single/ Entry level. Salary and taxes: in Korean Won Category Deductubles Monthly Annual Income 2.000.000 24.000.000 Tax 200.000 2.400.000 National pension 90.000 1.080.000 Health insurance 69.000 838.800 Total 359.000 4.318.800 Income after tax 1.640.100 19.681.200 Severance pay 2.000.000 Return lump sum 2.160.000 Total 23.841.200 Monthly expenditure: This might vary depending on your activities. Income after tax 1.640.100 19.681.200 Utilities 100.000 1.200.000 Movies 10.000 120.000 Travel 50.000 600.000 Take out/eating out 200.000 100.000 Snacks/coffee 100.000 1.200.000 Groceries 200.000 2.400.000 Transportation 50.000 600.000 Total 660.000 7.920.000 Total savings 980.000 11.071.200 How to become an ESL teacher in Korea. Qualifications and requirements for ESL Instructors There are basic qualifications for teaching English in Korea and specific qualifications depending on the institute. The basic qualifications align with Korean Government’s basic requirements to acquire an E-2 visa. Qualifications: A citizen of the 7 English-speaking countries (U.S.A, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, and South Africa. Holds a Bachelors’ degree from an accredited university. Apostille national-level criminal record. (Issued within 6 months) Clean self-health check/drug test.
Why become an ESL teacher in Korea With English as the only foreign language in the national basic education curriculum, South Korea is one of the countries with a high market for ESL (English as Second Language). While the demand is high in both private and public sectors, private schools (hagwons) are the biggest employers. One of the main purposes of ESL instruction is to help bridge language barriers by providing English learners an opportunity to write and speak fluently. Native instructors also help students navigate through different cultures. Besides the basic traveling and teaching abroad experience, there are many perks of becoming an ESL instructor in Korea. Cultural exchange. Korea is one of the counties with a rich cultural background and history. Due to Hallyu (Korean wave) both traditional and modern Korean culture has taken over the world. While connecting Korean students to foreign cultures, ESL instructors get to connect with Korean culture, nature, and language at a deeper level. Korea is also growing into a multi-cultural nation which allows you exposure to other cultural ethnicities. Financial support. South Korea is one of the most popular choices for teaching English abroad. Located in the heart of Asia, this vibrant country offers teachers the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in a unique culture that at times feels like a complete 180 from the west all while making meaningful connections with students. Like most teach abroad destinations, how much you can expect to make as an English teacher in South Korea will be dependent on several factors, including the city you teach in and the type of institution where you teach. The official currency in the country is the South Korean Won. Salary Teaching salaries are among the highest in the world, where teachers can earn an average of between 2.1-2.8million won per month ($25,200-$33,600 per year). South Korea is a great option for those who want to teach English and make money at the same time. Income Tax: like any other country, taxes are generated if you have a source of income in Korea. Taxation may however differ depending on mutual government agreements. National Health Insurance: the ‘4 major insurance’ is a national system for protecting workers’ rights and interests. It is a mandatory subscription. National Pension Scheme: this insurance is created to prepare for the time one is not able to work. (pension after retirement). It is also determined by mutual government agreements. Severance pays: upon completion of a 1-year contract, severance pay which is equal to one month’s salary is paid to the teacher. Taxation eligibility. Four major insurances in Korea. Eligibility on National Pension Country Public school Hagwon United States Exemption for 2 years Taxed Canada Taxed Taxed United Kingdom Exemption for 2 years Taxed Ireland Taxed Taxed Australia Exemption for 2 years Taxed New Zealand Exemption for 2 years Taxed South Africa Exemption for 2 years Taxed Insurance Employee Employer National pension 4.5% 4.5% Health insurance 3.495% 3.495% Employment insurance 0.9% 0.9% Industrial accident insurance N/A Matched by employer Country Membership Subscription Refundable Payment United States Yes Lump-sum return Canada Yes Lump-sum return United Kingdom Yes No-refundable Ireland Yes No-refundable/added to native country pension Australia Yes Lump-sum return New Zealand Yes No-refundable South Africa No N/A Airfare Most of the Employers will provide a one-way airfare to or from Korea. If a teacher buys a ticket on his or her own, the teacher will be reimbursed the amount upon arrival at the school. Housing Housing is usually located near the school for the teacher's convenience. The school shall provide furnished single accommodation. Basic furnishings are provided eg., bed, refrigerator, washing machine, etc. The selection of apartments will be made by the Employer. The cost of monthly services, utilities, and telephone charges for the accommodations provided will be paid by the teacher. Annual paid vacations and holidays You are obliged to 10 ~14 days per year depending on your contract. Regardless of the number of vacations and holidays that fall during any given teaching session, your monthly salary is guaranteed. Sick leave The teacher is permitted up to three to six days of paid sick leave when the teacher is unable to attend class due to illness. He or she is required to notify the employer and submit accompanying proof of illness from a physician. Career advancement Having an adequate teaching experience in Korea as an ESL instructor provides you with high chances to advance in your career as well as exposure and opportunities to explore potential interests. Some of the schools’ curriculum include art which can help nurture your hobbies into potential careers. Travel opportunities. Korea is one of the easiest countries to travel from to any destination. Having long summer and winter vacations, teachers can travel very easily and cheap especially to the surrounding Asian countries. Advantages of Hagwons Most of the benefits for both public and private institutions are usually similar, but a few fundamental things differentiate them. A few major advantages of hagwons are: Hagwons hire throughout the year with January-February as the peak season. Allows instructors to choose their preferred location and target group. Hiring process: access to a recruiter who guides you through the whole process from applications to arrivals.
Native English Teaching: ESL English is the number one most spoken language in the world, making the demand for teachers in non-English speaking countries highly competitive. ESL is associated with other terms, some of which are certifications that might be a requirement depending on the institution. The most commonly used acronyms include but are not limited to: TEFL: Teaching English as a Foreign Language TESL: Teaching English as a Second Language TESOL: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Language ESOL: English to Speakers of Other Languages Why ESL? The English language is continually growing and is the closest one to a universal language. Both students and adults looking for jobs in the US and overseas realize the importance of learning English. If you love to teach and also love to travel, teaching ESL can be a great opportunity for you. Apart from traveling the world, there are many reasons why to choose ESL teaching as a career. 1. Rewarding Teaching ESL can be challenging, but the rewards outweigh the costs for dedicated instructors. The challenging part is exciting your students about learning to speak, read, and understand English. But, once you find what’s most attractive to your students about the English language, you can more easily accomplish your goals. 2. Influence multiple generations When you teach ESL, your lessons extend beyond just the students. More times than not, your students will take what you’ve taught them and bring it home to teach their parents, younger siblings, and maybe even their grandparents. 3. Make a Difference One day, your students will need to pass a state proficiency exam in English. A major achievement for both your students would be earning scores that would qualify them for an Advanced Placement English class. When they can advance to a regular, or better yet, AP English class, you will have played a major role in getting them there. 4. Put your foreign language skills to good use It is not necessary to know any foreign languages to teach ESL, but it does help. If you find it easy to learn new languages or simply have a passion for learning new languages, why not give your skills another purpose? 5. You will see the impact A major attraction of ESL teaching is getting to see the impact of your work almost immediately as your students improve. This impact will be especially apparent when teaching younger children since they tend to pick up foreign languages more quickly than older students or adults. ESL as a career. Teaching ESL provides you with an opportunity to change people’s lives through education. It also gives you the opportunity to grow your career. As you start at the very beginning of preschool, the diversity and chance for great creativity on this level can help shape your profession. Upon advancement to elementary, you can teach different grades with the right certification. Knowledge of other different subjects like math or social studies might apply. Advancing through different levels i.e., preschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle, high school on your teaching career, you can also advance on your education level which might lead you to administration. This can be your first step to school leadership (principal). Being the head of school does not necessarily mean the end of your teaching career. It simply gives you the ability to mold faculty and mentor students.
Extension of the entry restrictions for South Africa. Due to the high cases of the Omicron variant, the Korean government has extended the entry restrictions for South Africans and 11 other countries. The restriction which was to be lifted January 6th has now been extended to February 3rd. After February 3rd long-term foreigners will have to undergo the following process. Submit a PCR test: Tested within 3 days of traveling. Domestic test: PCR Testing at a temporary living facility upon arrival Quarantine: A compulsory 10-day quarantine at the quarantine facility. There will be another PCR test on the 5th day of quarantine and before release from quarantine. (A total of 4 tests for the whole process) Visa application update: The visa issuance number application process has not been affected by these changes. However, depending on the corona situation in South Africa, offline visa applications might be affected. Online application is recommended. Note: Even with a completed visa application, please check the entry restriction dates to avoid any inconveniences.