TEFL, Gap Year teaching

Spending your Gap Year abroad doing TEFL aka TESOL

TESOL = Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages; also know as TEFL/TESL

English is the most spoken language in the world and the language of choice for international politics, business, science, travel and many other areas, so is considered the most important foreign language in most countries – giving native speakers worldwide travel opportunities as English teachers.

However, you will not get work paid at a reasonable rate if you are under twenty one years old, without a degree or language teaching experience or qualifications. Graduates stand a better chance of gaining employment.

English as a ‘Foreign’ or ‘Second’ Language?

In the United Kingdom the term ‘Teaching English as a Foreign Language’ or ‘TEFL’ is used broadly.
In the United States of America the term ‘Teaching English as a Second Language’ or ‘TESL’ is used broadly.
The term ‘Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages’ or ‘TESOL’ is in use on both sides of the Atlantic and is more accurate though it may be used to describe teaching English to immigrants IN Britain, not abroad.
Other less common abbreviations are EAL (English as an Additional Language) and ELT (English language Teaching.

Private Lessons:
Forget this avenue until you are established somewhere, with some experience and contacts. The best students will always come through personal contact rather than advertisements and may well become good friends too.

Qualifications needed for TESOL Jobs Abroad

Recognised qualifications are required for most paid jobs, with a teaching Diploma or Certificate in addition to a degree of some sort.
For voluntary jobs, only the most basic courses – perhaps not leading to an internationally recognised certificate – are really necessary and could be as short as one month part time, but it’s safest to only pay for courses which come with job placement or help to get one.
n. b. being a good TESOL teacher is more about being lively, interesting and communicative than being super smart.

TESOL/TEFL/TESL Certificates.
Available from various accredited institutions around the world and thus of varying quality.

The certificates below are recommended as they have consistent syllabi and teaching standards.

UCLES CELTA (University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) – more info

Trinity Cert TESOL (Trinity College Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) – more info

SIT TESOL Certificate (School for International Training Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Certificate) – more info

Like the certificates above the quality of courses may vary considerably, however Diplomas when accredited properly cover the subject more broadly and are a step up before a full Degree or Masters Degree course.

Remember that if you have one of the more highly regarded certificates under your belt, you will always have something very worthwhile to show for your Gap which you could use again in the future.

Alternatively, how about furthering your own language abilities? – Language Study Abroad