Entering the TEFL world (Please Help!)

I have been living in Serbia now for 9 months. It takes time to get your Sea legs when you get on a moving ship. I got on a moving ship with a moving baby. My identity has changed two-fold. I am not just an expat, but also an expat mum now. For the first few months it was as if the rug was swiftly removed and I was flailing to find footing.

Gratefully now, I am recovering. I think I landed on my backside, but I will soon be standing tall. I am finding my self and who I will become! I am entering the wold of TEFL or Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

I plan to start with and English club this fall at the Library. Meeting once a week with the first week getting a feel for who may be interested. It is a small town and I am not sure what I am in for, but I am optimistic! I believe children and teens will be my main students. But I would love to work with adults as well.

Eventually, I would love to make a living at this. I know that I love kids, I love teaching, and I have what no other English teachers have in my town, English as my Native tongue. This does not make me cocky, but confident I have something new to offer. I know I have lots to learn from teachers native to this land.

Any advice is welcome. Advice on teaching, books, and degrees. I haven’t gotten a TEFL degree yet. I am unsure if I will need one, but I am looking into them.

I would love to hear from other TEFLers on books that have been helpful. Thanks in advance!!


17 thoughts on “Entering the TEFL world (Please Help!)

  1. I’ve been teaching for a few years, but I have very little training. I’ve recently decided that I would like to make teaching a long term thing, whether it’s teaching English or teaching elementary school, or both! I don’t have a lot of resources compiled yet, I used to just use them and lose them, but I’m starting to get some together on Teaching Resources. I’ve posted one game so far that would be good for children and I’ll try to keep posting lots. Good luck with everything! That’s an exciting decision.

      • I have a degree in communication. You don’t need a teaching degree to teach English here. It’s slowly changing. More schools are asking for education or English degrees. I might someday get a masters degree in TESOL or a masters of education in elementary education. I’ve looked at a TESOL postgraduate program at the University of Limerick in Ireland. I would LOVE to go there. It’s a year long program, so it would be realistic for me at this stage in life. I plan to teach for about three more years before I go back to school, so I’ll wait until then to decide for sure.

        What is your degree? Is there a big market for TEFL teachers in Serbia? I would like to go to another country someday. I enjoy Korea. It’s great living in a big city with a lot of nice parks and hiking and tourist sites. Teaching here is good. I love my current school and having my own class.

      • My degree was an interdis in Cross cultural studies and Social Science. There is a Market for Teaching English here, but the average salary here is so low most native speakers won’t be enticed by riches they will earn. I am living here with my Serb hubby and little half blood Princess. Serbia is a great place to explore. SO much history, super friendly people, and yummy food. Greece is a short trip south for a holiday. I would love to share more if you are interested. I look forward to reading your blog!

  2. Great decision! I’m sure you’re made for the job! It’s rewarding, and you get real contact and a sense of achievement out of it. The first thing you need is to like contact with people, and you’re overqualified 🙂 For grammar, I recommend Raymond Murphy’s “Essential Grammar in Use”. I never got the TEFL qualification, and I taught EFL for years. I’ve just started again, doing private lessons for school pupils. Keep us up to date!

  3. If you don’t plan to work in a school, then there’s not really a reason to get a degree (though it can occasionally be a good way to get more money for your lessons).

    HOWEVER. There are people who think they can be language teachers simply because they’re a native speaker — unfortunately this simply is not true. I’ve had a lot of bad experiences with unqualified, boring, useless Russian teachers. The certification programs are really great for giving you a background in teaching if you don’t have one already. There are lots of online TESOL/CELTA classes for pretty reasonable prices.

    For books: New English File is great for adults and teens, for kids, Kid’s Box or Happy House.

    Whew. Hope this helps.

    • Thanks so much. I hope I am a good teacher. I really want to contribute to my community and be a positive English speaking (American) image for a bunch of great kids. I will look into the books. 🙂 wish me luck!

  4. Yep, I’m with Polly. The CELTA is a must for a lot of countries now. It’s quite expensive to do it though. New English File is a fantastic series – it practically teaches itself 😉 If you’re just doing conversation classes, you could try breakingnewsenglish.com. There’s also a book called ‘Taboos and Issues’ that’s fantastic for getting people talking (definitely more adult-themed though) – you can just pop that into google and download a pdf of it. Hope this helps a bit!

  5. I’ve been a TEFL teacher in HCMC for the past 2 years – I have a certification but the only advantage of this, I’ve found, is that I get a slightly (and I really do mean slightly) higher salary than those without one. Teaching English as a foreign language has got to be the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done! I teach both children and adults, but the children are definitely the most fun! It’s my livelihood at the moment, but I’d happily do it as a hobby! I don’t really have much advice, only to follow your instincts and be yourself! When I first started out, I had zero experience and just kinda learnt on the job – I personally think this is the best way 😀

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to write. I have come to the conclusion for now, no degree. maybe later. It is great hearing from you and so many other helpful TEFLers! how inspiring 🙂

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