TEFL TALK: Open Q&A Session about all things TEFL & Teaching


Hello everybody and welcome. We're actually also going live on Instagram today, so I'm going to check that out as well as the usual Facebook and YouTube. Hopefully everything will work fine. I hope everybody can hear me well and can see me. This is the first time that we're actually live on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube at the same time, so I have a lot of screens here in front of me.

Hello there, I see somebody tuned in on Instagram and we have a few people here on Facebook and YouTube already. I hope everything is going well today. Unfortunately, if you're watching on Instagram you won't be able to see the screen and maybe some of the questions that I'm popping in there but that's all good, you can still drop your questions into the comment box on Instagram and on Facebook and YouTube, so please feel free to do that at any time.

I see a lot of familiar faces already. Hi Tiana and Irma, great to see you again. Please let me know where you're tuning in from. I am located in South Korea, about an hour and a half south of Seoul in a city called Cheongju. I've been here for about five and a half years teaching English and also working as a TEFL and TESOL expert at ITTT, International TEFL and TESOL Training.

We have a couple of people from Brazil on now, hi there. We also have somebody from the Philippines and from Arizona in the USA, that's really awesome. So glad to have you all here. Basically today we are going to have a casual conversation and a Q&A session, so you guys can ask me questions about ITTT, about teaching English abroad or online, about TEFL and TESOL courses and anything else you want.

Over on Instagram we have people from Jordan, Jamaica, Atlanta, awesome. Somebody has asked me if I am American. I am actually American and German as my mom is from Germany and my dad is American. I have dual citizenship.

All right, we have a couple of comments over here on Facebook. Somebody says Linda you've got a beautiful face, smile, and accent. I can't see myself missing any of your live sessions. Oh, thank you so much that's so sweet. Juliana is from Illinois, very nice. And we have Noa from Chile on Instagram, thanks so much for tuning in as this is our first Instagram live session ever.

As always we will have a special offer coming up, so stay tuned for that as it’s a 30% off discount code that is valid for all TEFL and TESOL courses from ITTT. You don't want to miss that, also please don't forget to like, subscribe and follow us on our social media platforms so you never miss any of our live sessions. You will get a notification whenever we go live. Currently. I’m on once a week and then my colleague Liza goes live every Tuesday. She's a non-native English speaking teacher from Russia, so if you are also a non-native English speaker I highly suggest you check that out as she really has a lot of good tips especially for non-native English speakers who want to teach English abroad or online. She did a really great live session on Tuesday about the different online teaching platforms, so if that's something you're interested in you can always re-watch the session as they are all saved on YouTube and on Facebook as well. If you are listening to this as a podcast episode, thanks so much for downloading. We always turn our live sessions into podcasts and you can find them on all the major podcast platforms. Just search for the TEFL and TESOL Podcast by ITTT.

Right, let's get started. I'm here to answer all your questions, so like I said I am based in South Korea and I've been here about five and a half years. Before that I taught English in China. I also taught English in South Korea to children and adults in all different kinds of classes. I hope I'll be able to answer some of your most burning questions about teaching English abroad and teaching in general and TEFL and TESOL and all that good stuff. So that's what we're going to do today.

I see there's quite a lot of questions coming in on Instagram, I need to check that out. One of the questions was: is your institution recognized internationally?

Yes, ITTT and our TEFL and TESOL certificates are all internationally recognized and accredited. Our certificates never expire and they're valid worldwide, so with this certification you can apply for teaching jobs around the world. Just remember that different countries have different regulations and laws. So for example, in South Korea it's a little more difficult as they tend to only hire native English speakers from countries where English is the first language. You need to be from one of those countries in order to qualify for the work visa, but other countries do not have those regulations. It also depends on your own background and your qualifications. But yes, all ITTT TEFL and TESOL courses are worldwide accredited.

Another question on Instagram. Is the 120-hour TEFL course really worth it for non-native English teachers?

Yes, I think it is worth it especially for non-native English teachers actually. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of prejudice or stigma around non-native English teachers and so as a non-native English teacher you really want to get the best possible foundation for your resume, so that means having a TEFL or TESOL qualification. Maybe even get some English language proficiency certification as well, an IELTS or TOEFL or something like that. We also have specialized TEFL courses that you can get as a non-native English speaker if you want to teach English abroad. The 120-hour course is basically like the minimum standard course that you want to get because most countries have a minimum requirement of 100 hours of TEFL certification.

Okay, let me answer a question over on Facebook from Tiana. My heart is set on South Korea, what cities would you recommend to teach outside of Seoul and Busan?

Well, South Korea is actually quite a small country so I'm sort of in the middle of the country. My city is only an hour and a half from Seoul, so kind of wherever you are in Korea you're always close to Seoul or Busan or Dejan, one of the bigger cities. So it doesn't really matter, obviously a lot of people go to Seoul because they want to be in the big city, but it always depends on what you're looking for. Are you looking for a very authentic Korean experience? Then maybe you should choose a smaller city where they don't speak English that much, so you need to really learn Korean and you will really get to embrace Korean culture. If you want to be in a more international place then you can go to Seoul where a lot of people speak English and you find a lot of international communities and international restaurants and stuff like that. It all depends on what you're looking for.

Seoul and Busan are always popular and I also really like Junju where the Hanok Village is. Also Gyeongju as there is a lot of history there. Then in the south you have places like Yosu and Tongyeong, those are really pretty. They're on the coast and really very nice. You also just mentioned Incheon. Incheon is also nice but it is quite far north so it might be a little more difficult to get around to other places. Although it does have an airport so it’s not impossible. So yeah, there are definitely a lot of good cities in Korea. Don't worry, because if you find a school and you spend a year there, you can then change and move on to a different city.

We have a question over on Instagram. How does one start looking for work after completing the 120-hour TEFL course?

Great question. So at ITTT we offer lifetime job support to all ITTT course graduates. When you complete your course you actually immediately receive a PDF version of your certificate and then you can start applying. We work with a lot of different recruitment companies and schools worldwide that we have partnered up with and you will receive an info package after you complete the course with all those details and connections so you can apply and contact our partners for jobs. We also have a very big and up-to-date job section that you can always refer to with current jobs, even if you don't want to start right away. If you get your TEFL certification and then you're like oh I want to wait a little bit and start teaching in a few years, then you can contact us and be like hey I'm ready for teaching and you still qualify for the job support. You can also do your own job searching online or contact recruitment agencies if you know what kind of country or region you want to work in.

Let me ask you guys a question. Which country would you like to teach English in?

I'm very curious about which countries you all would like to teach English in or would you like to teach English online? Let me know in the comments. We still have quite a lot of people joining us and saying hello. Thanks so much for joining. So the question is which country would you like to teach English in and why or would you like to teach English online? Please let me know.

Irma says Thailand. A great choice. Tatiana says I'd like to work in Peru. Awesome, I would really love to go to Peru. Tiana I know yours is Korea. Janice says I'd like to teach English online in Japan and Spain. Cool, okay so you want to teach online but live in Japan or Spain, that sounds like a great plan. Then we have Margaret, yes I remember you Margaret, thanks for joining us again. So Margaret wants to teach online or in Hungary. Jenna says she's already teaching English in Japan online. Very nice. Over on Instagram somebody wants to teach online. We also have somebody who wants to teach in the United Arab Emirates. Cool.

Okay, a question over on Instagram says I finished my course and I need help to find online jobs and I don't know how.

Well, you can contact us via email as you qualify for the lifetime job support and we currently have a lot of online teaching job offers from our partners, so drop us an email and we'll get you started.

Tiana says South Korea because I love nature and South Korea has a lot of it. It is also known as one of the safest countries. Yes, that is all true. Irma says I want to try teaching online for now so I can gain experience. Yeah, that's actually what a lot of people do, so they start out teaching English online to gain experience and to figure out their own teaching style and all those things and then they move on to teaching in-class. That's a really good idea. Lilia also wants to teach English online. Cool, I think a lot of people are switching over to teaching English online especially nowadays. Juliana also wants to teach English in South Korea, specifically in Daegu, or Osaka or Tokyo in Japan, or Bordeaux or Paris in France. Wow, you're very specific and you know what you want. I really like that.

All right, so a lot of people want to teach English online, that's interesting. Is anybody already teaching online? I know somebody's teaching already online in Japan. Janice can you let us know what platform you are working for when you're teaching online or is it like one school? That'd be really interesting for others to hear about.

So we have a good mix of countries here where people want to teach English abroad that's awesome and also a lot of people want to teach English online, very interesting. Before we go any further let me just show you guys real quick our 30% off discount link. I'm going to share this discount link in the comments and over on Instagram. On Facebook and YouTube the link is going to appear in your comment box or you can scan this QR code and then you can sign up for your TEFL course with 30% off. It's a really great deal.

We have quite a lot of people joining over on Instagram, this is our first live stream on there and already quite a lot of people have joined which is great. For anyone who has just tuned in on Instagram this is a live Q&A session about all things TEFL and teaching English abroad or online. You can ask me questions about anything about that.

Margaret has a good question. How long does the 30% offer last?

It actually lasts for three days. So until monday, you have the whole weekend to think about it and to apply. I'm going to leave the screen up so you can always take a picture of the 30% off link and also the QR code. You can also access the link in the comment box. Meanwhile you can keep asking me questions.

Jenna says I'm a private teacher for Japanese students in Sendai. I'd like to strengthen my teaching skills. Awesome, are you already TEFL certified? Let me ask you guys another question: Why are you interested in teaching English? Out of all the careers that there are why are you interested in teaching English?

For me I think it was because I was always really interested in learning foreign languages back in school and then we did a bunch of school trips or language exchange programs and that's kind of how my travel bug started. Then after studying French and Spanish I was like I want something different and then I actually started studying Chinese and went to China and that's how my love for Asia started.

So that's what it was for me and then teaching English was just kind of an easy way to get to Asia. So what about you guys, why are you interested in teaching English? Meanwhile I have a question from Tatiana.

What do I need to start this course. I mean what level of English should I have?

So you don't have to be a native English speaker to start our TEFL or TESOL courses, but you do need to be a fluent English speaker. We don't require you to provide any English proficiency certification or anything like that. As long as you are confident enough to be able to understand the course content, you know the grammar lessons and things like that, then you are going to be fine. And it sounds from your question that you're definitely fluent so I wouldn't worry too much about that.

All right, Tiana says I am interested in teaching English because I have had a love for traveling since I was a kid. I've always wanted to learn other languages and everybody says I would be a good teacher because I explain things very well.

That’s cool, it sounds like teaching English abroad is really a good career choice for you. That's awesome. We have somebody from Haiti on, thanks for joining us. And I also see that on Instagram people keep joining. Thanks so much for watching over there. We are live on Instagram and on Facebook and YouTube at the same time, so it's a little bit difficult to navigate all the screens but keep throwing your questions at me. I'm really enjoying this casual Q&A session today about teaching English abroad and TEFL and TESOL certification.

I also wanted to let you know that if at any time you have a question or you're curious about something you can always refer back to our FAQ page after the live stream if there's something that I didn't answer. Just head to I certainly recommend you check that page out as it’s full of great information.

For anyone who is not teaching yet. What is holding you back from going abroad and teaching right now? Let me know.

Margaret has a question: In your experience are most of the online jobs one-on-one or a small group of students?

It depends on which platform you're working for. I would say most platforms tend to be one-on-one, but there's also some platforms that have group classes where you teach groups of two, three or four at the same time. That does exist but I think the majority is one-on-one, but it depends on the platform. My colleague Liza actually did a live stream about all the different online teaching platforms on Tuesday so you should check that out. There was a lot of good stuff in there.

Tatiana says what is holding her back is the COVID situation. Yes, that has definitely kept a lot of people from traveling and from going abroad. But, many countries and schools are still hiring teachers even now and actually having a work visa or an English teacher visa is one of the only ways to get to travel right now. Places like China and South Korea are hiring, as is Japan and they don't let any normal foreign tourists in. If you get hired you are allowed to enter, so that's one of the ways.

Tiana says financial issues and not having the education needed is holding her back. Okay, yes a lot of schools do require teachers to have a degree, especially because Tiana wants to go to South Korea where you need at least a two-year degree. If you have a two-year degree and associates you can apply for the TaLk Program for example. But, yeah it's usually a four-year degree for the EPIK Program and for private schools, but there are still many other countries out there that hire teachers without a degree especially in places like Southeast Asia and Latin America. Tiana says Thailand is also hiring right now and Vietnam as well. Yes, you can definitely get hired at the moment in a lot of places.

We have a question over on Instagram from Gabriel. What do you consider to be the best countries for non-native English teachers to teach in, because native speakers are welcome everywhere?

Good question. We actually have a lot of content about that on our TEFL blog page and also on our FAQ page and we have talked about that on here in the past. Anyway, there are actually quite a lot of places where non-native English teachers are welcome. The biggest one being China which is the biggest market for teaching English. It's a huge country and they have English schools popping up like crazy everywhere, all over the country. You need to have a TEFL or TESOL for China and a degree as well so if you have a degree and a TEFL certificate you can teach in China even if you're a non-native English teacher. Also places in Southeast Asia like Thailand and Vietnam hire non-native English teachers. I also believe Turkey is another good option, as well as many countries in Latin America. But like I said, to make sure you should check out our FAQ page as we have that question answered there in much more detail. Also, things are changing all the time in terms of requirements and regulations.

We have a question on Facebook from Margaret. What is the main difference between TEFL and TESOL?

TEFL stands for teaching English as a foreign language and TESOL stands for teaching English to speakers of other languages. Those two acronyms are very similar and actually nowadays they do generally mean the same thing. The training is the same, so whether you take a TEFL course or a TESOL course the training that you receive is identical and at ITTT you can choose whether your certificate says TEFL or TESOL on it. So this is my certificate right here and it does say both up here in the name so TEFL and TESOL training and then down here it says the successful completion of the ITTT 120-hour TEFL course. So I chose TEFL because it's a personal preference, it's also true that TEFL is mostly used in Europe and Asia and TESOL is more frequently used in North America and Australia. But they are the same thing.

We have another question on Instagram. What are some determining factors in helping to decide which course to take?

Okay, I actually did a live session about that topic: So which TEFL course is right for me? Basically it always depends on what your goal is. What do you want to do with your certificate, where do you want to teach? Do you want to teach long term or short term? Those are all things to think about. Generally speaking if you're starting out and you want to teach abroad for at least a year or two then the certificate to get is definitely the 120-hour TEFL certificate as it’s nowadays the standard. Once you've got that and you're deciding you want to maybe branch out into teaching children or you want to teach business English, then you can build on that by taking the specialization courses. For example, at ITTT we offer a 50-hour specialization in teaching English to young learners, and a specialization in teaching business English. We also offer a specialization course in teaching English online. So those are things that you can then build on once you have your 120-hour standard TEFL certification.

You could also choose a course bundle as we have for example the Master Package which is the 120-hour course plus two 50-hour specialization courses. I recommend checking out my live stream that I did a couple of weeks ago about which TEFL course is right for me. You can find it on our YouTube channel and on Facebook. So check that out.

Tatiana is interested in the special course for teaching English online. Yes, that is one of our newer course options. If you already have the 120-hour certification you can take it as a 50-hour top-up course, or if you don't have any TEFL yet you can take a 170-hour TEFL course for teaching English online and that covers everything basically.

Tiana says I've heard people talk about CELTA, what exactly is that one?

So the CELTA is basically similar to TEFL or TESOL, it's also a teaching qualification specifically from the Cambridge organization I believe. It is just a different certification, but they're both teaching certifications but acrededited differently. I don't know too much about the CELTA course other than it tends to be a bit more expensive than TEFL. Typically a TEFL or a TESOL are the qualifications that you need to teach English abroad and a CELTA does that too.

We have a couple of new people over on Instagram, so if you missed the start and you're wondering what's going on, we are doing a live Q&A session about TEFL and TESOL and teaching English abroad. So feel free to throw your questions at me about anything that you're curious about when it comes to teaching English abroad or online.

Let me ask you guys another question. Do you guys prefer taking an online or an in-class TEFL course? Please let me know.

For me, I took all my TEFL courses online with ITTT. I started in 2015 when I was already teaching English in China and at that time it was not a requirement yet to be TEFL certified to teach in China. But I knew that I wanted to further develop my skills and also I knew that I wanted to teach English in Korea afterwards and I thought I should get TEFL certified just to be able to pick and choose the best job offers. I decided to get the 120-hour TEFL course and then later on I also got the 50-hour specialization in teaching young learners. A few months later I also got the certificate in teaching business English as well. Last year I also got our 50-hour teaching English online certificate.

The certificates all look like this, it's a really nice hard-copy embossed certificate. You can see it has this ITTT stamp here, it's really good quality and every one has a unique number right down here that you can use to verify your certificate on the ITTT website, because there are a few people who fake TEFL certificates. ITTT offers the service for free to put their unique number on their certificates for employers to be able to verify that this is a real and legit TEFL certificate.

Back to the question: Do you prefer an online or an in-class TEFL course?

Tiana says I prefer online because I can go at my own pace and there are less distractions. I found that I do better online. Yeah, I think that's why I also chose the course and because I was in China at the time so I couldn't really attend an in-class center. I was working so I really needed that flexibility. And Tiana also says I'm interested in teaching business English as well. So business English is also really great, obviously different from teaching children as with business English you are teaching adults which is sort of a good balance. I was teaching children and then I had a couple of business English classes on the side which was really nice, sort of something different.

Martika says hI there, what chances do I have as I'm a non-native English teacher with a master's degree in TEFL and a CELTA certificate?

That sounds really good, I think your chances are really high. Of course you need to choose a country that hires non-native English teachers, but it sounds like you have the right qualifications to have a successful teaching career. So choose a country where it's not a requirement to be a native English teacher, maybe China as it is the biggest teaching market so jobs come up a lot. Definitely I would say your chances are really high.

There are some new people joining us on Instagram, welcome we are talking about teaching English abroad or online, and TEFL and TESOL certification. So if you have any questions about that I am Linda from ITTT, a TEFL and TESOL expert living in South Korea. I've been in the field for six years now so if you have any questions about that throw them at me. So that's what's happening.

All right then, Tatiana says excuse me but what about payment for lessons with early learners and business people, should they be different prices.

I'm in Korea so mostly you're going to be teaching children if you're in Korea. In my case I was teaching children full time in my first year and at that job if you're working full-time you get a monthly salary. If you're doing business English it's usually paid by the hour. So that is usually higher than the hourly rate from your full-time job. But there's also jobs where you are full-time teaching business English, not so much here but in places like Mexico where business English is very big. So it depends, usually full-time jobs are paid a monthly salary and then if you do part-time jobs and short-term gigs they are paid by the hour.

Another question on Instagram from Rashid. Do non-native English speakers get the certificate?

Yes, so any native English speaker and fluent English speaker can take our TEFL/TESOL certification and can get certified. You just need to be fluent, you need to be able to read the units, understand the questions, and then you're all good. Okay, Juliana says I prefer an online TEFL course because it is flexible for me. I think most people really like the online course because of its flexibility. That was also the case for me, so yeah flexibility is definitely one of the main reasons.

Min has joined us from Myanmar, hi and thanks for joining. Matula, I hope I'm saying that right, says he also likes and prefers online English. Then Rashid says I'm fluent as a rocket thanks though. So then you definitely qualify and you can take the course.

We have a few more questions over on Instagram. Someone asked, are you teaching in South Korea presently?

So I live in South Korea and I've been here for five and a half years. I'm not currently teaching as I work full-time for ITTT. I used to teach a few side projects, but then after COVID hit that kind of was put on hold so I'm not currently teaching at the moment. But I hope to start resuming my projects again after.

Rashid is asking how do I sign up for this course?

Okay, let me remind you all how you can take advantage of our 30% off discount. You can either scan this QR code right here or I have pasted the discount link into the comment box. I'm going to do that again now. You should see it on Facebook and on YouTube. You can click on that link and then you can sign up. You can fill out the application totally free of charge, no pressure, and then you can complete your payment whenever you are ready with a 30% discount, so that's a great deal that is valid for three days. Until Monday, so be sure to take advantage of that.

All right, we have another question from Hekmatila saying what time do you get online?

Okay, so my live sessions usually go out every Friday at 10:00 a.m. Korea time, that's when I go live. And my colleague Liza, she goes live every Tuesday in the afternoon. She's in Russia, but we always post about our live events on our Facebook page and on YouTube and Instagram, so you should never miss it. That's why I always recommend liking and subscribing to our pages so you don't miss any of the live events. You get notifications whenever we go live.

All right then, I have one more question for you guys and basically this is going to help us out. So what other topics would you like us to talk about in these live sessions in the future?

Which other topics are you interested in, what are you curious about? And then we can prepare our live sessions and help you guys out. Let me know. This was really fun today, especially on Instagram as it was our first live session ever on Instagram, that was really cool. Thanks so much for all of your questions and as always thanks so much over here on Facebook and YouTube, it's always such a fun crowd. Our TEFL family is growing every week. I love seeing familiar faces and names and it's always so much fun.

Tatiana has one more question: How much do they pay per hour?

Well it always depends on what kind of school and what country, so you would need to be a little bit more specific or check out our FAQ page as we have questions like that that are divided up into countries. You can check how much you can earn teaching English and there will be a bunch of countries listed and you can check it out and see exactly how much you can make because the salaries vary from country to country and school to school.

Christina asks what does the online course provide in terms of practical teacher demonstrations, example classes, how to actually run a class, that sort of thing aside from theory and grammar?

Okay, great question. So if you sign up for the course with tutor and videos then there will be a lot of videos covering just that, so a lot of different classroom examples of real English classes. Good examples, bad examples, and videos with experienced teachers talking about classroom management and teaching theories, all those kinds of things. So if you're looking for that then I recommend signing up for the course with videos because we always have two options. One with tutor and videos and one without. I highly recommend the videos for you in that case.

One more question from Tiana. I've done a lot of research on South Korea but I would like to know more about the different cities that we can teach in because in South Korea we don't get to pick the city we teach in from my research.

Yes, if you're applying for the EPIK Program you don't get to choose the city, but if you apply for jobs on your own without the EPIK Program then you can choose where you want to teach. You can apply for jobs in cities you want to be in or you can contact recruiters and tell them you want to be in this city, so that's possible. It's just the EPIK Program that doesn't allow you to pick a certain place.

Rashid asks how long does it take to get the certificate?

It depends on which certificate. With the standard 120-hour certificate course you can take up to six months to complete the course if you wish. But most people finish it much faster than that. Typically within two or three months, but it depends on what kind of learner you are and how much time you have to study. Are you working or not working?

Over on Instagram we have one more question from Matula. How do you suggest we learn English quickly?

I think a great way to learn English quickly is to absorb the language as much as you can by watching videos, TV shows, movies, reading a lot of books in English, listening to podcasts, things like that. That's what I would recommend.

All right guys, I think I'm going to sign off now as we've been going live for an hour. I hope I was able to answer most of your questions and if I did not please go ahead and visit and our FAQ page where you will find a whole list of questions and answers right there waiting for you. We are going to go live again next week, I'm always here at the same time. Thanks so much to all the people who are here week after week. I see a lot of familiar names and faces and it's so nice, it means a lot. I know some of the things are repetitive, especially if you're watching every week. Some similar things are going to come up every time, but I really hope that this was helpful. Usually our streams have a topic and then I prepare a sort of presentation about that topic so it'd be a little bit more structured. But today I just wanted to do a casual Q&A session answering your questions. We do that every once in a while.

Christina says it was a great live stream, you do a great job. Well thank you so much Christina, that really means a lot to me.

We have something from Khalid. Please devote some time talking about how coaching and paid training for international language proficiency tests jeopardize international language certificates validity?

Okay, I'm going to note that down. All right Juliana, thank you and have a nice day. Rashid says I love Chinese and I really want to go back to China soon. I hope we can all travel again. If you missed anything today you can watch the replay, and you can also join us again next week. We're always on at the same time, so please join us again and also here on Instagram.

Thank you so much for being a part of it. Join us again, it was really fun. Have a wonderful weekend, have a wonderful day, see you all very soon. And don’t forget to take advantage of the 30% discount link in the comment box or scan the QR code.

Signing off now. Bye bye

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