TEFL in Spain Graduate – Life after a TEFL course!
Meet Helen, a TEFL graduate from TEFL in Spain. Helen earned her Trinity CertTESOL at the beginning of March and is now working as an English teacher in Malaga, Spain. TEFL in Spain has reached out to her for an interview and to hear all about her time since leaving TEFL in Spain and what life is like after a TEFL course!
What were you doing before your TEFL course?
I worked in the British civil service for 18 years and then decided to take a career break and decide on life…I wasn’t sure if I was going to make a career change or just do something different for a few years.
What made you decide to take the TEFL course in Malaga, Spain?
I really wanted to be able to work abroad, ideally in Spain, doing something worthwhile and I was keen to do it before any Brexit-related restrictions made it more difficult. I am a sports coach and have done some teaching before, both at university and at my workplace, so I thought I would enjoy teaching. Once I’d decided on taking a tefl I researched several options and consulted friends who are language teachers and know about tefl. They all advised going for a ‘serious’ tefl, where there was teaching practice included, several days of training and a decent qualification at the end. Tefl in Spain ticked all three boxes and had the advantage of including the teaching of Spanish speakers, so I felt this would give me good, relevant experience for what I wanted to do.
From what element in the course do you feel you gained the most valuable experience from?
Having Esme’s career session during the Tefl in Spain course was extremely helpful for understanding the Spanish system, all the paperwork needed and how to go about negotiating the best contracts. Things are quite different to the UK, so it was an eye-opener.
What have you been doing since gaining your TEFL qualification?
It was important for me to start earning in my new career as soon as possible because I had no other serious income stream. So, one of the first things I did was to pull together a CV and start sending it out to academies in locations where I wanted to work. I also registered on tefl.com and subscribed to the Tefl in Spain graduates’ Facebook page to scout for jobs for the summer term so that I could get some teaching experience under my belt as soon as possible. I also opted to do the online Cambridge examination course for teacher development, because I felt this would add value to my CV. Furthermore, I did a few hours of teaching practice straight after my course at Malaga Lenguas to gain extra experience.
Did you find it difficult finding a new job as a TEFL teacher?
Six weeks after graduating from Tefl in Spain I started working for an academy in Málaga for the summer term. Before starting that I was in the fortunate position of having already secured three teaching offers for next academic year. So, I knew that the temporary post in Málaga would provide great experience and insight on teaching children to help me decide which of those offers I would like to accept.
Could you notice the benefit of the Trinity CertTESOL when applying for teaching positions?
Having a formal qualification has definitely enabled me to secure the offers for next year, although I have also
become aware of academics who will recruit teachers without such a qualification. Being able to say that I am training towards my teaching Cambridge Exam Classes certificate has definitely help me to secure the particular offers I wanted.
What advice would you offer for others looking for teaching jobs?
I decided where I wanted to work and then researched all the academies in that location and sent off my CV to those I liked. None of those academies had advertised for teachers but I received two offers off the back of being proactive. I would advise other tefl graduates to do that too and not just wait for jobs to be advertised. If there is somewhere they really want to be, then go for it!
Do you feel TEFL has changed your life?
It’s a bit too early to be able to say this has been a major life-changing event for me…but it has certainly allowed me to do something completely different for a while and perhaps for many years to come
What advice would you give someone who is doubting about the course?
If you think you might want to teach TEFL, go for it! There is really nothing to lose other than the cost of doing the course, and really that is easily outweighed by the experience of the training, the qualification you gain and the friendships you forge along the way. It is only a few weeks of life and you will soon know whether you enjoy teaching or not.
If you are serious about gaining a tefl qualification then I really think you get the very best opportunities through doing this particular course, because you come out with a very good qualification, several hours of teaching practice and 130 hours of training.