Why You Should Take a TEFL Course Right Now - Even If You Aren't Leaving Yet


Hi everybody, thanks so much for tuning in. It’s Linda here from ITTT with my morning coffee, because if you've watched me before in one of our live sessions you will know that I am in South Korea and it's currently 10:00 a.m. on Friday morning. So I'm having my morning coffee and I'm going to have a chat with you guys. If you can see me and hear me, please drop a hi or something into the comment box, I would really appreciate it.

As you may or may not know, at ITTT we go live twice every week, me on Fridays or maybe Thursdays depending on where you're watching from, and my colleague Liza she goes live every Tuesday. Actually Liza went live on Tuesday and also on Saturday last week because she had a really interesting guest on. If you missed that you should definitely check it out, it's in our playlist on Facebook and YouTube. What Liza did last Saturday was really cool, she went live with one of her friends who's currently teaching English in China as a non-native English speaker. So if that's something that interests you, teaching English in China or teaching English abroad as a non-native English speaker, then I highly recommend tuning in to Liza's live sessions.

Hi Juliana, good to see you again. Hello Yousaf from Algeria. We also have Ibrahim here, thanks so much for tuning in today. Juliana says she loves my outfit today. Thanks so much, it's spring in Korea and I love spring, so I thought I'd wear something floral. Thanks so much you're so sweet.

So where is everybody watching from today? I'm about an hour and a half south of Seoul. Today's a bit gloomy outside, yesterday was beautiful and the weather was so nice. Hey Brett, good to see you again. We have Harish and Moses again as well, hey Moses. How's everybody doing today? Brett is from California. I'm so jealous, I used to live in San Diego, I miss it so much. Ibrahim is from Morocco, that's awesome.

Okay, today we are going to talk about why now is the perfect time to take a TEFL course, even if you're not looking to go abroad to teach just yet. So that's our topic for today, because I think a lot of people are wondering if now is a good time to take a TEFL course with everything that’s been going on. Should I wait or what should I do? I think a lot of people are unsure, so I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you that now is the perfect time. I'm going to go into five reasons why you should take a TEFL course right now, even if you're not leaving yet. So that's on the agenda today.

Before we jump in, please don't forget to like and subscribe so you never miss any of our live sessions in the future. Also very important is the 30% discount opportunity right here. If you see this QR code you can scan that at any time during the session or when you re-watch it and you will receive 30% off any ITTT TEFL course. For people who cannot scan the QR code, I'm going to share the link into the comment box. So you click on that and then it goes straight to the application page where you can fill out the application. On the next page once you fill out the application you'll see your discounted price there. The code doesn't expire so you can come back to it and sign up later, you can sign up today or whenever you feel ready.

Like I said, my colleague Liza goes live every Tuesday. She's a non-native English teacher from Russia, so that's very interesting for people who are also non-native English speakers. She's an amazing English teacher, she has had an amazing career teaching abroad. She has lived in China and Thailand, but now she's back home in Russia where she teaches mostly online. So she knows a lot about teaching online, teaching in China as a non-native English speaker, and also a lot of online lesson planning stuff. Even I get my ideas from her. She did a live session about online teaching platforms this week, it was really great. She did one before, I think it was February, and after it I actually signed up to a teaching platform and I started teaching because of her suggestions. So check her out, she's great.

Khan is watching from Vietnam, thanks so much for tuning in. We have a question from Rebecca. Do these certifications ever expire?

Good question. Let me show you my TEFL certificate real quick. I always have them right next to me during these sessions. I have the standard 120-hour TEFL certification here and it does not expire, they are good for life. What's great about these is that they have this unique identification number right here so that you or especially your employer can go to the ITTT website and check your number to make sure that it is a real certificate. That’s really useful because there are some people who actually fake and photoshop TEFL certificates, so this is how we work against that issue. I have the main one and then I also have the specialization ones. Here we have the teaching business English certificate and here is the teaching English to young learners one. I also have the teaching English online certificate, but I don't have it here with me right now.

As always, you know I like to prepare some visuals for you guys and also feel free to ask questions at any time, even if it's not related to what we're talking about today. Anything teaching related or Korea related, or Asia in general, whatever, you can ask at any time. But there will also be a Q&A session at the end if you want to wait and see. So don't be shy. As you know, I like to have my live sessions as a sort of exchange, a dialogue with you guys, so it's not just me talking. I want to hear more about you and your goals and your TEFL journey and your experience and things like that.

Anyway, why should you take a TEFL course right now, even if you are not leaving yet? That's what we're talking about today, but first let me just introduce myself real quick. My name is Linda and I am originally from Germany/USA. My mom is German and my dad is American, but I was born and raised in Germany. I spent most of my time there, but then I also finished my degree in San Diego, which was super nice. I'm also a travel writer and content creator under my own name Linda Goes East, because I've been based in Asia since 2012. First China and then Korea. I write about my experience living and teaching and traveling in Asia on my website, so you can check that out if you're interested. I’ve been based in South Korea since 2015 and it's been fun. I taught full-time my first year in Korea and then I transitioned to working for ITTT full-time. So now I'm a TEFL and TESOL marketing professional at ITTT, which stands for International TEFL and TESOL Training. You can find us on the web at and on Instagram at International TEFL Training.

We share a lot of new content, especially on Instagram. A lot of interesting stories and interesting posts, so check that out and give us a follow, we would really appreciate it. We also have our own hashtag, it's called my TEFL adventure, let me just share that. So if you're on Instagram I highly recommend tagging your posts with my TEFL adventure and you can get featured every Friday. So today you can get featured in our stories, we like to do that and to keep in touch with our grads. We always love to see what they're up to, so please if you are doing something interesting please share. We'd love to see what you're up to.

ITTT is a leading TEFL and TESOL provider and we have a ton of different course options. I know I got asked last time to do a live session about the different course options and I will, but we are tweaking some courses here and there so I'm just waiting to have these changes finalized. I will then do a new session about the courses, the changes and stuff like that, so it is coming very soon. We're open worldwide, we have in-class TEFL centers worldwide, online courses and combined courses, so a great variety for everybody.

Okay, why you should take a TEFL course right now even if you're not leaving yet.
Please let me know in the comments who is already TEFL certified and who isn't and if you're thinking about taking a specialized course or an add-on course. Let me know who's already certified and who isn't, I would really like to know before we jump in so that I can get an idea of what sort of crowd I'm dealing with.

All right, we have someone called Good Person who's already TEFL certified. Great, what kind of TEFL certificate do you have? Do you have the 120-hour? Juliana says I’m TESOL certified. That’s great, some people might be TEFL certified and some people might be TESOL certified, it usually depends where you are from. The acronym TESOL is mostly used in the US and in Australia, while TEFL is more used in the UK and in South Africa I believe. So it depends on the region, but they mean the same thing and the training is also the same.

Moses is TEFL certified and has a 220-hour certificate. Me too, that’s cool. So maybe you can share some of your own comments and experiences for what I'm going to talk about next, to help others also make the decision. Constance says, I am TESOL certified, the course from ITTT was so interesting. That's awesome, thank you so much.

Okay, let's look at the first reason why you should take a TEFL course right now even if you're not leaving yet. Maybe people who are already certified can also share some of their thoughts on this reason or maybe it also applied to them. So the first reason that I want to mention is that taking a TEFL course right now makes sense from a financial standpoint. You're probably thinking that a TEFL course costs money so how does that make sense from a financial standpoint? Okay, hear me out.

When it comes to moving abroad to teach there are basically three main expenses, the first one is your TEFL certificate. Then we have flights and then we have the basic startup costs to help you through until your first paycheck. Those are the three main expenses that you're going to have to deal with when you move abroad. Yes, some jobs cover transportation costs, but some don't, this depends on where you're going to work. Depending on where you're moving to and where you're moving from, it's going to cost you a couple of thousand dollars usually to make that journey. So we usually recommend you register for your TEFL certification course anywhere from one year to six months before your desired date of departure. I actually recommend a minimum of one year or maybe even earlier, especially nowadays because we're not really sure when we can move abroad. I think definitely one year or even a year and a half or two years before you want to move is a great timeline.

Basically what I mean when I say it makes sense from a financial standpoint is that you want to split up your main expenses. First you would get that TEFL certificate cost out of the way a year or a year and a half before you leave so you don't have to worry about that anymore. You can focus on your flight costs that will come next, maybe six months before you leave. Then you can spend six months before your departure on figuring out your basic startup costs. Maybe you already have some savings, maybe you don't. If you don't you could take that time to start working online for example. I’m going to talk about that at the end, but you can take some time and figure out how you're going to get your startup costs in those last maybe six months leading up to your departure.

So that's what I mean when I say it makes sense from a financial standpoint because you want to get your TEFL or TESOL certificate as early as possible so you can get that part of the costs out of the way. If you wait and do everything at the same time you're going to have one big expense and you might be overwhelmed financially.

Does that make sense? I hope it does, let me know what you think. Also, the people who already took the course, does that sound right? Let me know. But that's typically how it goes and what we recommend, especially nowadays. Like I said, I think a minimum of one year before your departure is a really good timeline to start looking into options and I know a lot of you are doing that because you come back here week after week. You're getting as much information as you can and that's really great. I know a lot of you who aren't certified yet are in that phase.

I just want to mention real quick that we have a 30% discount off any of our courses. So now really is a great time to take a TEFL course. I want to share the link one more time here, so 30% off is a really great deal. If there are no comments, I'm going to move on to the next reason. Feel free to leave your comments at any time.

Now we're going to talk a little bit about logistics. So you want to get started on your job search and take advantage of as many options as possible as early in advance as you can. So it's important to keep in mind that it can take between three and six months to line up a teaching position and sometimes even longer. It depends if you're thinking about teaching programs like the Korean EPIK or TaLk Programs, or the Japanese JET Program, for example. Many of these programs actually hire even further in advance, maybe up to a year in advance. So you need to think about where you want to go and adjust your timeline accordingly. Again, the earlier you start thinking about that and the earlier you complete your TEFL course, the sooner you will be ready to apply and be able to take advantage of as many options as possible.

For example, if someone wants to teach English in Costa Rica, the main hiring season which we talked about in a previous session is around July and August. But if you take your course in June are you going to be ready in July or August to go to Costa Rica to take advantage of the hiring season? Probably not. So keep that in mind. Our team will be able to let you know exactly when it's the right time to go where you want to go so you can plan out your timeline. I think around half of our course participants haven't decided on a destination upon signing up, they just want to teach English abroad or maybe online. They sign up but they don't really know where to go yet. So during that time of taking the TEFL course they consult with our team to find the perfect fit for them. Some people come to us having a very clear idea where they want to teach, but then along the way they find out that actually Italy doesn't seem to be a great fit for me, I actually want to go to Vietnam. So keep all that in mind. Get started on your job search and take advantage of as many options as possible. The earlier you do it the better.

One comment here says, I would like to teach English in China and I'm doing my best to find a job there.

Fingers crossed for you, China is great and there are so many opportunities if you don't just stick to Beijing and Shanghai where everybody wants to go. Just be a bit more flexible and broaden your horizon. Go to other cities then I'm sure you can find a job. Also, watch some of Liza's sessions, especially the one from Saturday if you haven't seen it. I think you have, I think I've seen you in the comments there. So maybe you got some really interesting information from that session with an ITTT course grad who is currently teaching in China.

Okay, we are moving on to reason number three and I think this is actually one of the most important ones, especially for people like me who like to procrastinate and put off important things. Taking the first step of enrolling in your TEFL certification course gives you more time to think about teaching abroad. What I mean by that is once you take the first step of enrolling and starting your TEFL course you're already so much closer to your goals of living and working abroad. Because we all know how hard it is to take that first step. We dream about moving abroad and living abroad, it's great, it's a dream, but once you decide to take a TEFL course your mindset is going to completely change. First it was just a dream, it's just something you want to do, but once you start your course you're starting to live the dream. Your mental state is going to change dramatically and you're going to feel super motivated and energized to get this going. I think that's a very important reason because otherwise maybe you're just putting it off, now is not a good time, I'm so busy right now, I'm going to wait. Well, when is the perfect time? There might never be the perfect time.

In a situation like this a lot of people are thinking why should I take a tough course right now with everything going on with the pandemic? Actually now is a great time because you're probably going to spend a lot of time at home anyway, you can take an online course, you can probably even finish it much faster as you have more time to do a lot more research, to do a lot more in-depth self-study, to get a lot more information. So now is actually a really great time. What do you think?

How did you feel once you signed up for your TEFL course? Did you feel more motivated, like you're finally starting your dream? That's definitely how I felt, I was super motivated once I started my TEFL course because once you start you can then think about everything that's going to come after. I took my TEFL course while I was already teaching in China and I wanted to move to South Korea. While taking the course I was thinking about how I want to get this done so I can go to Korea. I was really in a great mindset.

I think I'm going to move on to the next one. Reason number four is the earlier you sign up for a TEFL course, the quicker you can get in touch with fellow students and also course grads from all over the world. That's really a great way to exchange your thoughts and make new friends before you even arrive in your new destination. We have a really big network of ITTT grads, you can reach out to them on our Facebook page for example. We also have a review section so you can check that out and get in touch with people. Also our TEFL blog is a really great resource. We have a lot of alumni reports from people teaching in Japan with the JET Program, we have people teaching in Colombia, we have people teaching in Hong Kong, really everywhere, Argentina, China, Korea, there are so many interesting people out there that share their experience on our blog. You can reach out to them if that's something that you're interested in. Most of them are very interested in helping others to figure out their journeys.

We are also affiliated with a lot of our course grads who have moved on to amazing careers. Maybe they have started their own online teaching platform. We have a lot of people on YouTube, Tik Tok, bloggers, Instagramers, who are ITTT course grads and they're documenting their journey on their social media. They loved their experience with ITTT so they affiliated with us and they're now sharing their experience on their platforms to get other people to sign up.

If you Google teaching English in Korea maybe you will find my site as I have written a lot about teaching English in Korea and I always welcome people emailing me and asking me about what it's like, what I would recommend, how I did it. I always like to share my thoughts and advice to others and there are so many other bloggers and influencers who do the same. That's definitely a great way to get started with your TEFL journey. Maybe you came into this thinking you want to go to China to teach and then you realize by talking with other people that you actually want to go to Peru because that seems like a better fit.

I think we should move on to the last reason that I have for you today and it's a very important reason. The sooner you sign up for your TEFL course, the sooner you can start applying for jobs and start to make some money. While you're waiting you can start by teaching English online. You will gain valuable experience that will prove extremely useful for your teaching job later on abroad, but also you will earn some money on the side that you can then use for your adventure abroad. For example, to cover those startup costs while you are waiting for your first salary. Also, If you're moving to a country where you have to interview in person which is common in parts of Europe and South America, you will need extra capital to see you through. So the sooner you finish your TEFL course, the sooner you can start making money to make your transition abroad easier.

We have a comment. Is it possible to have a conference online and offline where other English teachers all over the world can share their experiences?

I'm sure there is something like that already. I know that some Facebook groups do that. I know I mention Facebook groups every session but they are so great. There are Facebook groups for English teachers in Korea for example, English teachers in Peru, whatever, there's a Facebook group for everything and that's where you can exchange information. That's a great resource for sure.

Okay, so those are my five reasons why now is a great time to take a TEFL course. I hope it made some sense and I hope I was able to help you maybe make a decision. Now we're moving on to the Q&A part of the session. Also, don't forget the 30% off, you can scan that QR code or you can just go to this link and fill out your application. You will get 30% off any ITTT TEFL course.

Now let's take some time to do a Q&A. You can ask me all your questions you have about teaching abroad, whatever you want to know. I'm going to take a couple of minutes before I sign off to answer all your questions. Until we have a question I just want to show you the certificates again. I showed them at the beginning but maybe there were some people who didn't see. So this is what the ITTT TEFL certificate looks like. I think this one is six or seven years old and it still looks like new, it's really nice. As I mentioned earlier, it has this unique identification number that you can use to verify that this is a legit certificate and also your employer can use that to verify that it's a legit certificate.

This is the 120-hour certificate, this is the one that we usually recommend you get as a standard first step. That's what I did. I got this one and then I think the next one that I got was teaching English to young learners because I was teaching mostly children when I moved to Korea. I taught kindergarten at elementary level so I thought this was a great add-on to get. Then I also got the teaching business English certificate which looks like this and I actually started teaching business English after that as well and that really helped me because it's obviously very different teaching children versus business executives. I also got the teaching English online specialization and then I started teaching English online as well.

All right, we have a question from Brett. In the possible required reading list for the TEFL course it was suggested that I purchase the Practice of English Language Teaching and English Grammar in Use. Should I buy them now or use them in tandem with my course?

I don't have those books actually, but I know that English Grammar in Use is a really good book. My colleague Liza has that, she does the live sessions on Tuesdays. She might also have the other one but I know she has English Grammar in Use and she loves it. I definitely recommend it and if it's anything like the Korean grammar book that I use it will be super useful for sure. What course did you sign up for Brett? Let me know.

So Brett, where do you want to teach, in Korea right? Do you want to go with the EPIK Program or a private school? I would love to know. I have a lot of friends who teach under the EPIK Program in public schools and then a lot of friends who work in private schools. Both have pros and cons. Ah, so you signed up for the in-class course, which one? We have a new one in Seoul, it's exciting to have one now in Korea. Oh, you have signed up for the course in Rome, that's so cool. When are you going? I love Rome and I think now is actually a great time because there might not be that many tourists. When I went two or three years ago in July it was packed. So it’s early July for you, so exciting. I want to come too. So what made you decide to take an in-class course versus an online course? Maybe you can share with others what made you decide to go with an in-class course.

So Brett says, I need to start living my life and I want to travel. That's so great, I love that. I’m proud of you, awesome. Did you say last time that you wanted to teach or you're interested in teaching English in Korea? Are you not interested in teaching English in Italy? What about everybody else, where would you like to teach? Let us know.

I would actually like to do some kind of volunteer teaching for a month in Southeast Asia or South America. I want to spend a month in Vietnam, that would be so awesome, or Cambodia, something like that. Or even somewhere really tropical like the Philippines with a nice beach. That's what I would like to do. I’ve also always really wanted to go to Peru, that would be great. Maybe volunteer to teach at a school for a month.

Okay, Brett says, I'm not familiar with the different hiring agencies but I do know that I'd like to start as soon as possible. Cool, well fingers crossed and good luck, it sounds like a great plan. I think there's nothing that can stand in your way, I think you're good to go.

If there are no more questions I think I might sign off, but you know me I'll be back next week. If you watched last week's session it was about teaching English in Asia and I talked about seven different countries with the most demand, and I'm going to do the same thing for Europe probably next week. So if you're interested in teaching English in Europe make sure you tune in.

Please don’t forget to like and subscribe so that you do not miss any of our live sessions and you can hit me up at Linda Goes East on social media. Send me a message on Instagram if you have any topic suggestions or just any questions that you have. I'd really love to have a chat with you. I’m just going to make this bigger one more time for anybody who wants to scan the QR code. Please do that and get the discount code from the comment box, you can get 30% off which is another great reason to start your TEFL journey. Just like Brett who is going to Rome in July. I'm so jealous, please eat all the gelato and all that pasta for me.

I hope today was interesting. I forgot to mention if you're interested in podcasts we always turn our live sessions into audio only podcast episodes. You can find us on Google Podcast, Spotify, itunes, all those podcast platforms. If you've downloaded an episode and you're listening to this, thank you so much for downloading, we appreciate it. I will see you guys next week I hope. Thank you guys and bye, bye.

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