In February, I finally completed my TEFL qualification. I only just managed to finish it in time – before getting married and flying off to Japan to spend a couple of weeks on honeymoon with my husband. In all honesty, I was scared that I’d messed it up, but I ended up getting a distinction which was a nice surprise. I got my TEFL course on ‘special offer’ (later I found out that they’re always on ‘special offer’ – kind of like a DFS sale, but with online teaching qualifications), from the TEFL Academy for £195. There are an ample number of places that offer the qualification and, despite all being equal, they all come at different prices, so it’s worth shopping around for the best deal.
The only problem with a TEFL qualification is that it’s only really good for teaching abroad. To teach English as a foreign language to people in the UK, a TEFL just won’t cut it. For this, you need a CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults), which is Cambridge University accredited. However, this requires a month of solid classroom time, and over £1,200 in tuition fees. Jobs that require a CELTA can pay a substantial amount more than their TEFL counterparts so, if you know that this is definitely the career path that you want to take, it’s a fantastic investment to make. “You have to spend money to make money”, as they say.
However, if you’re a freelancer who just wants a way to make a bit of extra cash during dry spells, you probably don’t want to spend all this time and money getting the CELTA, and although travelling to a different country to teach English can be a fun and rewarding thing to do, it’s sadly not always practical. Luckily, I found a way to use my TEFL to earn money without even leaving the country – teaching English online.
Getting the job
Although the hours aren’t always regular – it does come with the added benefit of not having to leave your house. All you need is a fast internet connection (fibre optic is best), a computer, and a working headset, and you’re good to go. There are a fair number of foreign companies that are desperate for qualified native English speakers – usually the requirements are just a TEFL and a Bachelor’s degree in any subject.
I currently work for two companies – one is a Japanese textbook company where I teach adults, and the other is a Chinese company called DadaABC. The Japanese company is basically zero hours – you get paid for any lesson that is booked and, as I have other stuff to do and am based at home anyway, this works for me. It also allows for flexibility, as I can cancel classes that have not been booked any time that I want to. DadaABC works on a contract – they pay a decent enough rate, and you get paid half time for when you’re not actually teaching during the time you’re contracted.
Apart from being a very convenient way to make a bit of consistent cash, I also find it fun meeting and interacting with people whom I otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to talk to. Regrettably, I don’t get to travel much (for lack of funds, not lack of want), and when I do, meeting people is circumstantial. I probably wouldn’t start chatting to a random busy Japanese businessman, or a four year old Chinese child, but teaching I do – and I feel like it has opened my eyes a little bit more.
If this sounds like a job that you’d be interested in, follow this link.