With TEFL teaching becoming ever more popular, gone are the days when a traveller could rock up in their rucksack and expect to find work wherever the wind blew them. Nowadays, even with a teaching qualification you still aren’t guaranteed a job – with so many applicants, those hoping for top positions need to make themselves stand out from the crowd. Whether you’re a newbie teacher trying to bag your first job, or a seasoned professional hoping to work your way up the career ladder, a little professional development will go a long way to making your CV shine.
Do a MOOC
Massive Online Open Courses are a great way to gain extra knowledge in the teaching field, for free! Courses are on a variety of topics, some running for just a few sessions and others for weeks or even months. Many courses have an optional paid certificate which you can sign up for to prove what you achieved, which is well worth considering on courses which include tests and coursework. MOOC List can help you track down MOOCs across different websites, with major platforms being Coursera, edX and FutureLearn. Courses are provided by top universities, and some offer paid specialisations if you want to go the extra mile. You can find all kinds of courses to enrich your CV, such as how to teach grammar, classroom management, teaching using art, and teaching using a task-based approach. The choices are endless.
Sign up for the TKT
Cambridge English is a big name in the teaching world, so if you’ve done your online TEFL with a less reputable provider, signing up for a Teaching Knowledge Test is one way to give your CV a boost. The tests are multiple choice and internationally recognised. There are three modules to the main TKT test, and two specialist modules – YL (Young Learners) and CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning). You can take whichever modules you like. If you don’t know where to begin, I recommend taking the module 1 test, and then the YL module if you’ll be working with children. Price may vary depending on your test centre, but expect to pay around £50 per module if you apply in advance, or £70 if you apply after the closing date.
Be Prepared – Learn First Aid
While few language schools list this as essential, having first aid knowledge is always a handy thing to have on your CV, particularly if you work with children. On school trips and events, a designated first aider is a handy person to have around, and many UK language schools will pay to get their full-time teachers qualified. There are plenty of free, online courses you can take you get your started, such as First aid for free. There are also low cost online courses if you want something more official.
New to Teaching Kids?
If the thought of entertaining (and teaching!) young children fills you with dread, look no further than Super Simple Learning. This online resource has everything you need for easing yourself into classes with young children, from flashcards and games to songs, videos and activities. Aside from that, they provide a free four-week e-course which you can sign up to through their resource centre. Even if you don’t want to do the course, bookmark the page to have endless resources at your fingertips. If you ever need a colouring page or worksheet to print off for a quick cover class, or an English focused YouTube video to keep the kids quiet for two minutes, Super Simple Learning is your first port of call!
Foundation Online Learning
This website is particularly useful for those who are hoping to work in the UK. On the Foundation Online Learning website you can find all sorts of courses to do with teaching. If you’re looking to work at a UK summer school, or perhaps gain some experience as a private tutor, this website will have plenty of resources for you to make the most of. Courses range from specialist subjects like Math, to broader topics such as equality in the classroom and the popular ‘prevent’ courses.
Surf the Web
If you don’t have time to do an official course but want to read up a bit on the TEFL world (perhaps to help you sound more knowledgable during interviews) one of the best things you can do is log online and read around. Plenty of past and present TEFL teachers across the globe have set up blogs to document their experiences, which are great if you want a first hand account of what your time as a TEFL teacher will be like. You can search for amateur blogs or check out official lists of top blogs by awesome teachers who are in it for the long run. Plenty of websites release lists of the best bloggers around, such as studyCELTA.
Even with a TEFL qualification, without experience it can be hard to break into the market and land your first job. If you’re in that boat, don’t just cross your fingers and hope for best – there are so many ways to enhance your CV these days, and most of them can be done for free. The better qualified (and better informed) you are, the more chance you’ve got of landing a really good job. Which of these ideas has peaked your interest the most? Leave us a comment and let us know how you plan on making your CV shine.
About the Author
Celia Jenkins is an experienced EFL teacher who has worked with a variety of age groups and ability levels in a number of different countries and regions. She currently lives and teaches in Japan.
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