How to Benefit from Your TEFL certification as a Non-Native Teacher


Hello everybody, thanks for joining me. I'm just about to start so please let me know that you can see me clearly and hear me clearly, for this you can use the comments box. Okay, there are some good mornings, hello and nice to see you guys, thanks for joining. My name is Liza and I'm a TEFL expert and also an online English teacher. I'm glad to welcome you to today's session that is devoted to some ways to benefit from your TEFL certification, especially if you're a non-native English teacher. Right now I'm going to make my video a little bit smaller so that you can see the presentation. Okay guys thanks for sharing that everything works smooth, that's really important for me because I need to make sure everything is clear and you can hear me well.

Right now, let me tell you a little bit about myself. So my name is Liza and I am a non-native English teacher from Russia. I used to work in China a couple of years ago but these days I have switched to online teaching and today I want to share my personal experience and of course I want to help you to understand TEFL certification in general. If you want to learn about TEFL or TESOL or English teaching in general, this session is for you. Also, make sure that you stay to the end of the session because I will share our special offer with you. It can really help you to save on a TEFL course of your choice.

I should also mention that ITTT has a wide range of social networks and if you want to keep in contact please follow us on any of your favorite networks. You will also get a lot of useful materials because we share useful stuff on a daily basis. Alright, I would like to talk about TEFL certification in general and maybe the main question people have is is it worth it? Here I have highlighted some benefits of becoming a TEFL certified teacher. First of all TEFL is an internationally accredited certification, so if you get your TEFL certificate you will be able to show that you possess an internationally accredited certificate. The reason I highlight this point is that it is usually important for employers that their teachers meet this requirement. TEFL is also recognized worldwide so if you really want to travel around the world and teach in different places you can definitely do that with your TEFL certificate.

I'm not sure if you can see this part clearly but I tried to show you that TEFL is also really important for online employers as well. This is a screenshot from italki. If you know this online job provider you have probably checked their requirements and here it is stated that a TEFL or TESOL certificate is one possible way to show that you are a professional teacher. On italki they offer two different modes of teaching, the first one is community tutoring and the second one is professional teaching. If you have a TEFL certification it's proof that you are able to teach professionally, not just as a community tutor. I'm sorry guys that it is not clear, I don’t understand why but unfortunately I cannot change it right now. I will send you a link to this resource and you will be able to read through the requirements on italki so that you understand that TEFL certification is one of the ways to show that you are a professional teacher.

TEFL is also very affordable compared to some other ways of improving your professional experience. For example, there are different certifications from Cambridge, but they are quite pricey and it is impossible to study online or be self-paced. If you study TEFL it's much easier because you can just apply online and study at your own pace. There is also an option to take a TEFL course with a tutor so that you will be guided through every stage of your certification, but it is still self-paced and super convenient because you don't need to schedule any lessons, you just keep up with your ordinary life and do the course when you have time.

So these are some of the benefits and as for some drawbacks. Is it worth taking a TEFL certification in terms of the disadvantages? I still think yes because the only downside I see here is that it doesn't work if you don't work. It may sound a little bit silly but it is what it is. So if you want to make it work for you, you have to start from yourself.

So once you have got TEFL certified, the next step will be to make sure that everyone knows about it. Sometimes we underestimate our network and usually people who surround us are much more powerful than those who you don't know. Your closest friends can actually be a great help for you to find your first students and this is what is important about TEFL certification. If you have it you can prove that you are not just someone who wants to teach with no credentials. In this case you will be able to tell everybody that you have grown and developed your professional skills. Especially in cases when you are not a professional teacher but you really want to change your career and start teaching. In this case TEFL certification is just perfect for you.

I hope that this point is clear to you. If you want to make TEFL certification work for you, first of all work yourself and second try to tell your friends and family that you are a person who is continuously working on your own professional skills. And there are some other ways how you can use your TEFL certification right after you get certified. Let me show you my certificate because I also have it, this is what the hard copy looks like. So right after you get TEFL certified you get this hard copy and you also get a pdf copy. First you get a pdf copy and then it takes a couple of weeks to receive your hard version. You can really enhance your resume with this certificate. I added mine on Linkedin and I also attached it to my pdf resume so whenever I want to distribute my resume or send it to a potential employer I attach the pdf copy.

You don't need to wait to get experience, just start applying for jobs right after being TEFL certified or even a little bit before that. For example, when I was studying for TEFL I started looking for jobs right after I finished the certification and I found an employer who accepted me based on the TEFL certification I possessed. The other way to work on your experience is sharing with other people that you started this career. Word of mouth works just great. I also have my personal example, I found a lot of students around my friends and their friends so I just shared that I am a teacher and I looked for students. Then we started discussing all the details and if there was a match I was able to start teaching straight away. And again, TEFL certification is really helpful to show that you are eligible to do this kind of job and you are not just someone from the street speaking English fluently. You are serious about your career and don't forget about your social networks as this is extremely powerful.

For example, here in Russia we have a very wide teaching community on Instagram. I'm not sure about other countries, I know that in some other places Facebook is more popular. You can also check some teaching groups and start your personal blog there and see how it works for you. This past year has shown that online communities are powerful in terms of giving you opportunities. And the last point I want to highlight here is volunteer teaching. It is something that some people dislike, but I personally sometimes take on students for free and help them to work on their weak areas in exchange for their feedback. For example, right now I am coaching my friend in IELTS because I passed IELTS myself and I found it really cool for myself as a teacher because when she passes she will give me free feedback and I will be able to show that I can coach other people in exam preparation.

Bear in mind these five points from this slide and make sure that you stay proactive after your TEFL certification because I have met so many people who continue just groaning that they don't know what it is for and they don't know how to use it and it was just a waste of time and money. From my point of view it is completely different. If you took this course it was for some reason and you need to work even harder having that because it's not just something that will happen out of the blue. There won't be a bag full of money after the TEFL certification just because you got it. The last thing I would like to mention is that having a TEFL certification doesn't mean that you need to limit yourself with a teaching career. You can think of other fields related to teaching.

TEFL certification provides you with the basics in lesson planning, methodology, structuring your classes, working with different groups of EFL students, and it's so cool that you learn all of these things because in the future you can use it as a basis to work in other fields. From time to time I work as a copywriter. I write for our TEFL blog on the ITTT website and sometimes I also write articles for my personal social media. It is helpful because I know the subject for sure, so you can also try it and by the way you can contact our support staff if you have any ideas related to TEFL teaching and you want to get experience in writing professional articles, you can try to work with us.

Another way to use your knowledge from the TEFL certification course is to create your own teaching materials. There is a resource called Teachers Pay Teachers and it's probably the biggest platform for sharing and selling stuff related to teaching. Many TEFL teachers make their own worksheets, curriculums, lesson plans, and sell them on this website and it's another way to make money using your TEFL experience. The last point is actually related to the previous two because it is also a kind of business like when you run your blog or create materials and sell them. Anyway, you can try to start your own business related to TEFL. For example, my friend started his own school related to early childhood education and it's almost a year since he started and even considering the whole COVID situation he has still succeeded because he found different ways to promote his school and he also added some online components to his services. So you can think of such ideas as well and use your TEFL certificate for that.

Right now I would like to switch to the comments box because there is so much feedback that I would like to check it and then I will come back to the presentation. Here is the first question. Was your TEFL course online or in-class?

I took an online TEFL course four years ago, it was really convenient for me because I had my job at that time and I needed to make money for living and I was able to study and work simultaneously. It was like evenings for study and mornings and afternoons for my work.

How long is the TEFL certificate valid for?

The TEFL is a lifelong certification so when you get TEFL certified it won't expire like some other certifications. TEFL certification is an investment for life so don't worry that it might expire, it is for good.

There are several questions in one here so I will start with accreditation. Yes, ITTT TEFL certification is accredited and you can check our credentials on the TEFL course website at I will share the links a little later. There are some TEFL course providers who are not accredited so you need to make sure that you find any information on their websites related to accreditation. Ultra cheap courses are not likely to be accredited but if you take them it is still a way to show that you have developed your skills. However, if you take a course that is not accredited your employer will probably not accept it because it is important for them that this certification is accredited.

The second question was about job searches. At ITTT we help you to find jobs and we guarantee job assistance. On our website there is a section related to jobs and you can see job offers there and try to apply this way. But there are other ways to look for jobs and TEFL certification is just proof that you are eligible to teach professionally. You also need to make sure that you invest your time and energy in looking for jobs and only this way will it work best. I hope that I answered this question fully, so if you have any other concerns you can ask in the comments as well. There are some thoughts about volunteer teaching. That's right, volunteer teaching is a win-win. So if you want to gain some experience you can teach someone for free and ask them to give you feedback as this will help you to grow as a teacher and help you to develop your teaching skills.

Let's see what's next. So, as for my previous experience, I have already mentioned that I worked in China as an ESL teacher in a bilingual kindergarten and it was after my TEFL certification. Before that I was studying at a university in the linguistic department. While I was studying I tutored some people privately, mostly I worked with school kids from seven to twelve years or so. But at that time I had no idea how to teach properly. I didn't know how to plan lessons and that's what I learned during the TEFL course. When I was studying linguistics it was just about the language itself, it was not about teaching and when I finished university I was like who I am now, what should I do? The first choice was to start teaching and you'll figure it out but I knew that I was lacking some professional skills, that's why I decided to further my education.

Another question. Is there an exam at the end of the course?

There are some assignments during the course. Some modules are related to things like grammar or methodology and after each module you need to pass a short test. There is also a final task that involves creating a lesson plan or writing an assignment related to teaching. It depends on the course you take.

Okay, here is an interesting question. How do we start a teaching blog, do we have to pay for it?

So it depends on the blog you want to run. There are two general options. You can start your blog on a social network and in this case you don't need to pay anything, you just need to write and create your own content or maybe make videos. You don't need to pay anything, you just need to spend time and energy on it. As for a web blog, in this case you will probably need to pay for placement because you will need to buy a domain and you will need to synchronize it with all the engines and so on, so it will take some time to figure out how to do that first and then it will require some investment.

The next question. Is there a difference in TEFL and TESOL courses?

Generally speaking there are no differences. TEFL stands for teaching English as a foreign language and TESOL stands for teaching English as a second language. Basically you can take a TEFL or TESOL course and it will be the same. But as for your certificate, you will be able to choose between one or the other title. For example, for my certificate I chose a TESOL certificate but in general there is no difference in the two options.

Which course is worldwide accredited?

All courses provided by ITTT are accredited worldwide. So if you want to work in Korea for example or in Brazil you will be able to do that because this TEFL certification is recognized around the world.

Is there a required level to start TEFL?

Thanks for this question, it's really a good one. The general requirement is that you are fluent in English. Basically, if you have an upper intermediate level it's enough to start the course. But as a non-native teacher I suggest you continue working on your own English skills as well because in some countries you will be judged if you are not from a native country. We all know that it is quite normal for non-native English speakers to possess the highest level of English ability and it is just a matter of time and practice. For example, I knew that I was a little bit limited when I finished university and when I got TEFL certified, so I decided to up my level and I started preparing for IELTS two years ago. I passed IELTS and I scored a C-1 level. Right now I'm working towards C-2 level. Also, at the end of this year I'm planning on taking the CPE which provides the highest level of English. This is how I make sure that my English grows. And this is the only way to make sure you are eligible as an english teacher.

Is TEFL valid for North American schools and universities?

So with native speaking countries I would say that having TEFL certification is still valid. You can find a job there as a non-native teacher but it will take a little bit more time and effort because they have a lot of native speakers to choose from. You need to make sure that you look for the right type of jobs and that you create your resume in a way that is completely clear what your purpose is. I know many people who work as non-native English teachers in the US for example, but they primarily work with foreign students or with students who migrated from other countries. They mostly don't teach Americans, they teach second language students.

Is there a way to find a speaking partner easily?

Basically yes, you can find a speaking partner online, it's not a big deal. I suppose there are special placements for finding language exchange or language partnering. You can check it on italki and you can check it on some other platforms related to tutoring. If you want to find a language partner you can also write about it on our ITTT Facebook group, so feel free to do that.

What's next? Okay, I've mentioned that I need to share a special offer with you and it's that time actually. So right now I'm going to send a coupon link to the comments box and today you will be able to get a 30% discount on any of our TEFL courses. Make sure you copy it and use it during the day. If you still have any questions related to TEFL, English teaching in general, or you have any other concerns, please let me know in the comments box.

By the way guys, thank you so much for joining me today, I really appreciate it. Especially as in most countries it's the holiday season and many people are still on their vacation. I really appreciate that you joined because you probably need it and you probably want to change your life this year or maybe you want to change your career, so I hope that the presentation and the whole session was useful and the special offer will be valuable to you. If you still have any questions, write them in the comments box and I will answer them.

There is a question from Ahmed about teaching special groups.

As for teaching special groups we provide different types of TEFL certification. There is the general TEFL course which is 120 hours and there are other types of courses as well, but 120 hours is the minimum requirement in almost every job so make sure when you take a TEFL course you take at least 120 hours. As for teaching other groups of students there are options and there are separate courses related to it. You can choose between teaching young students, business English students, and online teaching for example. We have these different TEFL certification courses so make sure you follow this link as it will provide you with a 30% discount on any course first of all and second you will be able to see what courses we have and choose the one which is best for you.

I'm really glad to have such a great audience today, you guys are so friendly. I really like it and this is probably my sixth live session and I am still quite nervous because I have to speak English during the whole session. I don't see any other faces so it's quite complicated to speak to myself basically and when you're so active on the comments box it is so cool because I can relax and feel like I am talking to my friends. So thank you guys for joining me. If you don't have any further questions related to TEFL we will finish this session and I hope to see you next week because next week we will have a new live stream.

I hope to see you next time. Bye, bye, enjoy your weekend. It was a great session, bye.

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