Getting started teaching English as a second language…

english, english language, language

The first thing to know when considering moving abroad is that it’s not always easy to obtain a work permit to work legally in most countries. I was looking for an opportunity to work no matter where I was. I found that with a TEFL Certification you are able to teach English as a second language anywhere in the world. You can teach in a school, or online (which means you can travel!). How perfect does that sound? Being that I was set on moving to Spain, I found that I was eligible for a student visa. This would allow me to study in Spain and work 20 hours a week. I was sold!

Making the switch

Before obtaining my TEFL Certification, I was working in the mental health field. I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the state of Florida. The only experience I had with teaching was the tutoring that I had done as part-time jobs for extra money in college. However, after going through the International TEFL Academy’s (ITA) site with a fine-tooth comb, I decided to give it a try. ITA was great. They provide a pre admission counselor to answer any question you may have as well as to share their experiences. Having the opportunity to speak with someone that had already gone through this process was helpful in calming the nerves. Their online course was the best option for me as I was still working full time.

Hold up.. can I really do this?

After enrolling in the program, I prepared myself to “go back to school.”  I set up a daily schedule and was determined to get through. The first assignment made me rethink everything. It had suddenly occurred to me that it had been several years since I had to write an educational paper. Thankfully, I was able to get help and get over that hump. Once I got into lesson planning and learning about actual topics to teach, I started to doubt myself. It became overwhelming. Teaching English as a second language was different from tutoring. I felt like there probably should have been a prerequisite of having some teaching experience. However, I stuck with the course and did my best and halfway through the course things just fell into place. Before I knew it, I was finishing up and passing with flying colors!

Yup, I got this…

ITA requires completion of 20 hours of a practicum – where you are actually teaching English as a second language to students in person. Up until this point the entire course had been online. Now I had to go into a classroom and teach real students! As with any new experience, I was nervous. I was lucky to find a place that would accommodate my work schedule, as well as provide me with support in the classroom. I was able to apply the knowledge gained from the online course as well as incorporate the real-life teaching skills I was learning at my practicum and complete my 20 hours with ease.

Ready, let’s go

I was TEFL Certified! Now what? I had to move across the country and sell myself as a teacher. The course was completed, I was relieved, however, if I said that I was the most confident new teacher out there, I would be lying. I was far from that. There was still a lack of confidence.

I mentioned before that I was eligible for a student visa for Spain. So, I now had the tools I needed to get a job, but I also had to enroll in a school/program that met the student visa requirements. Most people coming to Spain, usually choose to do a Spanish class to fulfill their student visa requirement. I was lucky to find a Teacher’s Development course being offered at TEFL Iberia in Barcelona. Their program not only met the requirements for the visa, but it would also give me another opportunity to fine tune my teaching skills. This was perfect!

Now I was on my way…

Are you interested in obtaining your TEFL Certification? Use my referral code and contact International TEFL Academy to get started! Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Have you been thinking about Teaching English as a Second Language or already have your TEFL and wondering what you can do next? Drop me a line, I would love to hear your experiences.

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8 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Hey. I’m a Jamaican citizen hoping to teach English in Spain. I am TEFL certified and have 3 years experience teaching. Any advice on programs that might work for me?

    1. Hi Sarah,

      There are a few programs that you can apply for to make that happen. You can go the Teaching Assistant Route or the Student Route. Feel free to connect with me on IG @destinyinspiredbyt and I can help with more info.

  2. Collette Bryan says:

    Great article Toniann!

  3. Great post and thank you for your honest review! I am thinking about getting the certificate for a while now. Now might be a good time as traveling is slowly getting possible again. I am sure it is a lot of work but also fun to teach English.

    1. Hey Alice! Thank you so much. If you want to teach abroad now is best a time as any to get certified. Yes it was a lot of work and it definitely has been fun.

  4. This is awesome. Do you miss counselling at all and have you thought about becoming a mental health counsellor in Spain?

    1. Hi Rachel,

      To be honest, I don’t miss counseling. Although I loved it and loved helping people… there is a lot of sad out there and for me sometimes it was hard to sleep at night. As for counseling in Spain, I cannot say I would completely rule it out, but at this time its not necessarily the path I want to be on as I am trying to focus more on myself and my own happiness and mental wellness.

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