Live TEFL/TESOL Q&A: Ask Us Anything!


Welcome guys, Linda here from ITTT for another live session. I'm so happy to be here today, the weather is great today, the lighting is good. If you were watching last week it was pretty much like the end of the world weather here, but today it's great, I feel good. If you can see me and hear me please drop a hi into the comments. We are live on Facebook and also on YouTube and if you're listening to this as a podcast episode thanks for the download. We always turn our live sessions into podcast episodes and you can find them on all major podcast platforms like iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts etc. It's called the TEFL and TESOL Podcast by ITTT.

I see there are some people already here. Hi Gwen, thanks for joining today. We also have someone watching from YouTube, hello. Juliana's here, hi thanks so much for tuning in today. I appreciate you guys showing up week after week, it's really great. So today what I have for you is basically just a casual Q&A session. Let's have a chat, let's have a discussion. I have prepared some questions that we get asked quite frequently about TEFL and TESOL, so we can go through that and then you can also just drop your questions in at any time. Let's have a conversation, just something casual, something fun to get to know each other, to learn more about teaching English abroad and online. About TEFL courses, online TEFL courses, in-class TEFL courses, combined TEFL courses, anything that you'd like to know.

My name is Linda and you can find me personally at Linda Goes East right here on social media. I've been living in South Korea for the past six years, before that I lived in China. I taught English there and in Korea and I've also been working for ITTT for the past five years. Please do not forget to like and subscribe as always so you don't miss any of our other upcoming live sessions. We go live twice a week. Me on Fridays or Thursdays depending on where you are and my colleague Liza goes live every Tuesday. She is in Russia so check out that because she is a non-native English speaker and also very successful in teaching English. She also taught English in China and now she's teaching mostly in Russia and online. She has really great tips for non-native English teachers, but also native English teachers. I learned so much from her, especially lesson planning, how to find students and how to always be up to date in your teaching style and technique.

There is also a 30% off deal during our live streams. We only share 30% off links during our live sessions so that's a very special opportunity for you guys. One way to get the discount is to scan this QR code up in the corner and also if you cannot scan that there is also a discount link that you can use. It's the same thing basically, I just posted it in the comments and it looks like this. Just click on that and fill out your application and you will get a 30% discount off any TEFL or TESOL course from ITTT. It's a really great deal if you're not yet TEFL certified. If you're thinking about it or if you're thinking about getting a specialized TEFL course or one of the more advanced courses, this is great for you.

I think that's about it in terms of the intro. So we are doing a Q&A session and that means you have the opportunity to ask me questions about teaching English abroad, teaching English online, about ITTT TEFL courses and anything else you want to know. Please don't be shy, don't be quiet, there are no stupid questions. I don't want this to be quiet, it's really important that you ask questions today so it's not just me sitting here and talking. You know how it works during my live sessions, I love hearing from you guys and hearing what you have to say. I learn from your experience as well because I know a lot of people here already have teaching experience and you are TEFL certified and you also have something to add to this conversation. I hope that sounds good.

First off, let me know where you guys are in the world at the moment, where are you watching from? It is 10:00 a.m. Friday here in South Korea. I live about an hour and a half south of Seoul in a city called Cheongju and that's where I am today. I was born and raised in Germany near Munich and my mom is German and my dad is American. From a really young age I was super interested in foreign languages and growing up in Europe it's so easy to travel around so I've always been interested in different countries, in different languages and that’s sort of how I got into finding opportunities to go abroad. I learned French and Spanish in school and then I was looking for something different and I was torn between Japanese and Mandarin Chinese and then I opted for Mandarin and that's how I ended up in China.

I'm all about Asia and you will see that when you go to my personal Instagram and also my personal website, It's basically a site about traveling in Asia and hidden gems, but also must see popular places all around Asia. Nowadays it has a lot of Korea content and a lot of China content, but also Southeast Asia content. I've actually just got back from a trip to the south of Korea, down the coast in the south, it was really beautiful so you're going to see a lot of that content coming up soon on my Instagram, so check that out.

Juliana says, I'm watching from Illinois, it is 8:10 P.M. here. Thursday, I assume, awesome so what time difference does that make? 10 hours I think, no it's more than that, I'm really bad at this, anyway it's a big time difference. Thanks for leaving your comments.

I want to start off with a question that we get quite a lot and a lot of people are confused about this. What is the difference between TEFL and TESOL? We hear these two terms all the time. Also if you look on our website we always mention TEFL and TESOL so a lot of people are asking what's the difference? Which one should I get?

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language and TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Basically these two terms mean the same thing and that's why the training, whether you get TEFL or TESOL training, involves the exact same components. You're going to learn about classroom management, lesson planning, English grammar, the different types of students, different teacher functions, you're going to learn about the same content whether you're taking a TEFL or TESOL course.

At ITTT you can decide whether your certificate at the end should say TEFL or TESOL on it. The reason for that is that some regions in the world prefer one term over the other. Basically, Europe and I believe Australia and South Africa tend to use the term TEFL more, whereas the US and Canada tend to prefer the term TESOL. They are the same, it just depends on where you're from. You might hear TESOL more or TEFL more, but the training is exactly the same and so we give you the option to choose. Do you want your certificate to say TEFL or do you want it to say TESOL? You can decide based on where you're from.

That is the difference. I just wanted to mention that right off the bat today because we do get a lot of questions about that. I can show you my certificates. Let's see, this one is the 120-hour certificate and so I chose TEFL on it. I hope you can see that, so where it says the ITTT 120-hour TEFL course you could choose either TEFL or TESOL. At the top here it says International TEFL and TESOL Training, so that's what ITTT stands for.

Another question that we also get often is do TEFL or TESOL certificates expire?

I just wanted to show you this certificate again. It says when you completed the course, when you achieved your certificate, there's no expiration date. So TEFL certificates never expire. Another great thing that you will find on your certificate is this unique number right here. Basically, it's used by employers or schools and what they can do is take this number and punch it into our website to verify that this certificate that you show them really is an accredited ITTT TEFL or TESOL certificate.

Typically, what you will do when you apply for a teaching position is you won't actually send your physical certificate in your application. You will apply online, so you would send in a pdf copy and pdfs are easier to fake. What the employer can do to make sure that you're not sending him a photoshopped certificate, they can punch in this number to make sure that this is a real certificate, that you really took the course and you earned it and you are really certified.

It's never a bad idea to get more certificates to add to your portfolio, to stay up to date with the teaching community and what's happening in the teaching world because they never expire. Liza, my co-worker, talks about that quite a lot in her live streams. There's a lot of online course platforms like Coursera and Udemy, places like that, that offer free courses. Also a lot of teaching related courses that you can take to stay up to date on what's happening in the teaching world. So those are always really recommended as well.

Juliana says it's a 14-hour time difference, not 10 hours. Thanks Juliana. I think I wanted to mention one more thing about the certificate. When you apply typically you would send in your pdf copy. However, for some countries and this is especially true for China, when you apply for your Chinese visa you actually need to go to the embassy to give them all your paperwork and one of the requirements to get your teaching visa is a TEFL certificate. So there you would actually give them your original and they would check it and make copies of it and that's why this number is important. They would also use it to verify if this is a real TEFL certificate. I just wanted to mention that, so it's not true that you only need your pdf version. You're also going to need your paper embossed version of the certificate as well depending on where you go.

Just for applying for a teaching position you're not going to send them originals and there was actually a live session that I did a couple of weeks ago about all the documents that you need when teaching English abroad. I highly recommend checking that out. I go through all the different documents. The certificate obviously, but also things like passport, criminal background checks, reference letters, resumes and things like that. So check that out, it's in our playlist.

That was the second question that I have prepared that a lot of people ask and please feel free at any time if a question comes to your mind, just type it into the comment box so that I can see and then I'll be happy to answer that for you. Another question that we get or that I see a lot online when I do market research is what is the best TEFL or TESOL certification program?

This question is really hard to answer because it depends on what your goal is, what you want to do with it? If for example you want to go abroad to teach for just a year, nothing long term, we would recommend a different kind of TEFL certification program compared to somebody who wants to go to Dubai and stay for five years working for an international school. It's going to depend on what your goal is, so it's very hard to say what is the best TEFL certification program. There are a lot of options and that's why it's really important for you to take the time as so many of you are doing. Listening to our different live sessions, looking at our website and obviously not only our website, other TEFL providers websites as well to then make an educated and smart decision for what fits best with your needs. That is what I'm here for, to help guide you through that decision making process, to help you find the best possible certification program that fits with your goals.

At ITTT and most other course providers we offer three different types of courses. They are online TEFL courses, in-class TEFL courses, and combined TEFL courses. At the moment in-class courses are a little bit difficult as you need to go to an actual TEFL school, either abroad or in your own country. We have over 30 different locations available, some of them obviously are closed at the moment or they do not accept foreign nationals, it would only be for people who are already in the country. Some locations are open so if you're interested in that check it out on the website. We have detailed information for every location. You would spend four weeks at that center and you are basically in a classroom learning all about teaching TEFL with other trainees and the teacher trainer is an experienced professional teacher who's been teaching English for a lot of years. He or she is going to teach you how to teach and you're also going to have the opportunity to teach real English students in that training center. So that is the in-class option.

The online option is the most popular option right now because it's just so flexible, so easy to do from anywhere in the world from the comfort of your home. You can study at your own pace, you don't have to go anywhere, so that's why online courses are really popular. A couple of years ago only in-class courses were accredited, but nowadays it's shifted and in-class and online are really on the same level in terms of the certificate. When I show you the certificate that I have, this is also from an online course, it does not say online on the certificate, it just says 120-hours. It doesn't say that you took this course online.

The combined option basically combines online with in-class. So first you would complete a theoretical part online at your own pace and when you've completed that you then go to a training center for between five and ten days depending on the location and get your teaching practice component. So those are the differences in the course options.

I have a couple of questions here. Javier asks does I-C-O-E-S give some kind of support on your certificate?

I need to check what that is. Okay, so that is an accreditation institution. Our courses are accredited by OTTSA which is basically the same thing as what you've mentioned. Our online courses are accredited by OTTSA which stands for the Online TEFL and TESOL Standards Agency and I've just pulled this up on the website. It says the agency is a professional educational organization dedicated to raising teacher training industry standards, specifically online courses in the teaching of English as a foreign language. We have an accreditation tab on our website where you can also find out about our other partnerships and accreditations because there's more than just OTTSA.

Juliana says, the online class would be the best option for now.

I think so too because it's just difficult and unpredictable, but hopefully soon in-class is going to pick up again and actually we had another regular watcher of our live sessions, Brett, and he's actually going to Rome to do his in-class TEFL course very soon, I think in July. So some locations are definitely open, but it's also going to depend on your nationality or where you live if you are able to travel there or not.

Another question that I want to talk about that we also get asked a lot is can I teach English without a TEFL or TESOL qualification?

Again this is not an easy yes or no answer because it also depends on where you want to teach. For example, if you want to teach English in Korea a TEFL certificate is not an official requirement to obtain a visa so a lot of schools hire people without any qualifications, it is definitely possible. There are other countries like that, however, there are also countries that are different. I always like to compare China when I taught first in 2012 and then 2014. When I first taught there a TEFL certificate was not an official requirement, but now it is a requirement to get that teaching visa that you need to live and work in China. Things are changing all the time and also China is the biggest market for teaching English as a foreign language, it has more schools, more job openings than anywhere else in the world and a TEFL certificate is a requirement. So if you want to go to China the answer would be no, you cannot teach English in China without a TEFL or TESOL qualification.

But even for countries like Korea, it is not a requirement, but it is still a very useful thing to have. I was TEFL qualified and that's why I got hired at a better school in a better neighborhood and I earned a higher salary right from the start compared to people who were not certified. That's one point, but the other side is it's not a requirement right now but what if it is in a year or two? Things are changing all the time. So I think that having a TEFL certificate is definitely going to be a real benefit wherever you decide to go, there are no real drawbacks to it. Maybe the financial side could be seen as a drawback, but like I said with a TEFL certificate you're usually going to earn a higher salary so you are going to get that money back anyway.

Another side of TEFL which is also super important and a lot of people just don't really recognize is that a TEFL course teaches you how to teach English correctly. Because as native English speakers or learners of English, we don't really know how to teach. We know how to speak English and we probably know a little bit about the grammar, although some people especially native speakers often don't really think about the grammar. So that's why I think a TEFL certificate is even more important because you learn how to teach, how to manage a class, and what I think is the most important part of a TEFL course is that it explains the most important parts of English grammar.

It also shows you exactly what most English learners are struggling with when it comes to English and how to deal with those problems. How you deal with people who are struggling with this particular grammar point and how you as a teacher can get your point across and teach it effectively. I think there's nothing more embarrassing or just hard when you're in a classroom full of students and they don't understand what you're saying, you're trying your hardest to explain something but they just don't understand. It's not a good feeling and it also looks bad in front of your co-teachers and your employer, so you don't want to be in that position.

Javier asks, how easy or hard is it to get a job as an English teacher having a degree non-related to linguistics?

Great question, we do get this question quite a lot. For most places, in most types of schools, the majority of places you do not have to have a degree in English or TESOL or linguistics. So for me for example, I have a bachelor's in business and I was still able to teach English abroad, typically it does not matter what your major is in. What matters is that you have a four-year degree for most places. There are also places where you can teach without a degree. However, if you have a degree in English or in linguistics that's always going to be a plus and that's also going to likely get you a higher salary and access to some schools that are usually not that accessible to people without that degree. International schools for example, and international schools typically pay a much higher salary. Also, universities often require you to have a bachelor's or master's in English or TESOL or linguistics, but for the majority of teaching positions abroad it is not necessary.

I know several people who moved abroad to teach English with just their regular bachelor's degree and then they loved it so much that they decided to get a master's degree in TESOL or in linguistics and then they had access to even better job opportunities. They became head teachers at their schools and things like that, so it definitely helps, but it is not a requirement to have a degree in linguistics to teach abroad or online. Thanks so much for the question, keep them coming.

Those were four of the most asked questions that I've picked for today's live session and that's it from my side, so keep your questions coming. I have a good one from Mikey now. How about if I only have a certificate in education, not teaching, is it possible?

When you say certificate, what do you mean by certificate? A four-year degree in education but not teaching. So a lot of people ask us this, they have a teaching license from their home country and then they want to go abroad to teach English. They often ask if I have a teaching license, do I need to get a TEFL? Usually what we say is that yes, especially if you want to go to China as a TEFL or TESOL is a requirement regardless of whether you have a teaching license or not. Mainly because a TEFL is a very specific kind of teaching certification and if you have a teaching license you likely have not covered the same type of content that a TEFL course covers in terms of teaching English to people who do not speak English as their first language. A teaching license however is a huge plus and actually a teaching license is going to get you access to a job in an international school, that's usually what they want to see on top of a TEFL or TESOL.

Looking at the comments box I think I've answered pretty much everything and also the questions that I wanted to cover. Keep your questions coming, I'm still here for a little while and also don't forget you can always watch this in the replay and then ask questions and I will be able to get back to them later in the comments as well, that's no problem at all. Also, please don't forget the 30% off link, you can find it in the comments. Click on that or scan the QR code, whatever works better for you, and then you can get 30% off any TEFL or TESOL course from ITTT. Like I said, we only share this 30% off link in our live session so it's very special, you don't want to miss it if you're not yet TEFL certified.

All right, another question from Mikey. Can I apply for the diploma without doing a TOEFL certificate?

So to clarify this, TOEFL stands for Test Of English as a Foreign Language and it is a standardized test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to enroll in English-speaking universities. Okay, so that is something different, that's an English proficiency test measuring how well you can speak English. TEFL is for teaching English as a foreign language, so a different thing. Maybe your question is can I apply for the diploma course without doing a certificate in TEFL? If so, the answer is no. At ITTT our Diploma in TESOL course is based on the certificate, so first you complete the 120-hour TEFL certificate and then you're able to take the Diploma in TESOL course.

Let me see, I do think that if you sign up for the diploma you can actually get the 120-hour course for free. Let me just check if we still have that offer. Yes, it's here, the 370-hour TESOL Diploma course. We recently changed the name, it used to be the 250-hour but now it is 370-hour. So the 370-hour TESOL Diploma course plus tutor and videos, plus free course and then you can choose your free course and you would choose the 120-hour TEFL course, so that is included. I'm just going to fill out this test application so I can tell you exactly how much it comes down to with the 30% off. Okay, so it will come down to $419 instead of $599 and that is the 120-hour course plus the diploma. So that's a really good price.

We have a question here about teaching English online. What are typical wages to expect for newly certified TEFL instructors teaching online?

Good question. My colleague Liza did a really great live session about teaching English online and the different platforms and because all the different platforms have different salaries I highly recommend you check that out. You're watching on YouTube so just go to our live videos and there is a live video about teaching English online and the different platforms, something like that. Not with me, but with my colleague, she goes over all the different platforms and how much you can make because it really varies a lot.

Typically teaching online platforms pay by the hour, so it ranges anywhere from $15 to $30 an hour or more. It really depends on what platform you work for. I recently started teaching English online with a platform called CafeTalk which is a very flexible platform. You can basically create your profile and you can create the kind of lessons that you want to offer. The platform doesn't give you any materials or any lesson plans, you structure that all by yourself. I offer 15 minute classes up to an hour class, so it's really flexible and you can also set your own price. So between $15 and $30 per hour or less sometimes, it really depends on the platform. I highly recommend you check out Liza's session about that.

I'm going to wait just a little bit longer to see if we have another question coming in and then if there is nothing more I'm going to sign off. This was really great, thanks so much for your questions. I appreciate it and I hope you learned something new today. It was so nice to see you all again, also some new people which is great. There's going to be another live session next week and hopefully I'm going to find a new topic to talk about.

Mikey asks, what is that platform, would you mind sharing?

It's called CafeTalk, that's the platform that I teach on. It's my fourth month since I started teaching there, it's really fun. If you're interested check it out, you can also offer other things, like I offer English and German as I am a native speaker of both languages. You can basically offer anything on that platform which is really fun.

Javiar is asking, could you do a 120-hour course and then upgrade for business English or young learners or do I need to pay full package again?

Great question. So if you get the 120-hour TEFL course with tutor support you get one free course on top of that. You can choose either the business English or the young learners course for free. That is included if you choose the tutor support version.

Mike says, is it an app?

I don't think they have an app, it's just on a desktop computer. Please don't forget the 30% off Mike. I am going to email you about that. I will send you the direct link with instructions on how to get that good deal on the diploma with the free 120-hour course.

I think I'm going to sign off now if there are no more questions coming in. It was really great to talk to you today. Super happy about all your questions coming in and please join us again next week for another live session. Also my colleague Liza on Tuesday, don't miss out on that as she has some really great content. A lot of teaching tips and how to create lesson plans and lessons from scratch. Also, how to find online teaching students if you're into teaching English online.

Thanks so much guys and I hope to see you again next week. Don't forget to like and subscribe. Stay safe and thank you so much for watching. Bye, bye.

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