After completing a TEFL certification course and working as an English language teacher, some people look to branch out into other avenues of the teaching profession in order to gain more experience or to earn a higher salary. One such route is to become a TEFL trainer. Teaching people to become classroom teachers can be a very rewarding and well paid job and a route into management positions or even setting up your own language school.
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The first and most obvious requirement is to successfully complete a TEFL course. This experience will give you the basic knowledge you need to teach English and also a valuable insight into what it takes to be a good teacher trainer. Crucially, it is not necessary to be at the top of the class when taking your course, as many of the best teacher trainers struggled with some aspect of their initial training. These struggles allow you to empathize with your students and better understand how to help them move forward. However, your initial TEFL course is only the beginning of the journey; the most important thing is to continue developing your skills and knowledge with every lesson that you teach. By learning from your mistakes, you can quickly become a highly skilled teacher that your students trust to provide highly successful lessons.
The main roles of a TEFL trainer are delivering lessons for trainees to observe, helping them prepare their own practice lessons, observing and giving feedback on those lessons, and delivering input sessions on subjects such as grammar or phonology. In order to offer the best help to your trainees, you will need to be diplomatic, be able to get on with people, have the ability to give clear instructions, be sensitive when dealing with feedback sessions, be encouraging, tolerant, patient and empathetic, and have the ability to identify positives out of negatives.
In order to be confident in your ability to teach others to teach, it is vital that you know what you are talking about. Very few people know everything there is to know about the English language as it is so huge and complex, however, teacher trainers do need to have a firm grasp on subjects such as grammar, phonetics & phonology, and general teaching skills. To make sure you are up-to-speed on things, an advanced course such as a TESOL Diploma would be highly beneficial. Specialist courses such as a Certificate in Teaching Business English (CTBE) and a Certificate in Teaching English to Young Learners (CTEYL) would also help to give you a broader knowledge of your subject.
There really is no substitute for classroom experience when it comes to training new teachers. Ideally you should have experience in a wide range of different scenarios such as different age groups, different language levels, and different class sizes. While working in a school or language center, it is a great idea to volunteer to help out new teachers who join the team. Mentoring work of any kind will teach you a great deal about what it takes to be a teacher trainer and it will look good to future employers on your CV/resume.
TEFL training schools are located all over the world, but you should be prepared to settle down in one place for a while if you are serious about becoming a teacher trainer. While TEFL teachers tend to move around from place to place and this is generally accepted by employers, TEFL trainers typically need to be more settled as many people choose their training location based on how established the training staff are. Potential employers will not be overly impressed if your CV/resume shows a history of short-term jobs and no obvious commitment to stay in the role for the long-term.
If you have your heart set on becoming a TEFL trainer, the toughest part is often finding available positions. Online searches will not usually bring up many options, largely because the jobs are highly sought after and are not given up without good reason. One approach is to simply email all the training companies and individual schools that you can find online and see if there are likely to be any openings. If you happen to be in the country or city where you want to live and work, the best approach is to visit the schools with your CV/resume and try to sell your abilities and potential. You might be able to start on a part-time basis until a full-time position becomes available.
Networking is another well proven approach to finding a specific job that you are after. Sign-up to online teaching groups and forums, look for seminars or conferences, or even hang out in places where you know the right people might be found. Ultimately, there is rarely an easy, straightforward route into becoming a teacher trainer. But if you are persistent, prepared to put in the leg-work and maybe just happen to be in the right place at the right time, you should find that training role that you are looking for.