TEFL Course Review: How My Online TEFL Class Prepared Me for Teaching Abroad
A special thanks to our guest writer Andrea M, a California native and ITA alum.
Reach To Teach sent one of our teachers to take International TEFL Academy’s professional and fully-accredited 170-hour online TEFL course. Read more to find out how this online course prepared her for teaching abroad.
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Deciding to teach English abroad is an exciting decision. Moving your entire life overseas is a big change, but working in a new environment calls for another set of skills. If you’re on the fence about taking a TEFL course, I strongly advise you do yourself the favor and go for it. It will not only give you the skills to teach, but it also gives you confidence.
I just finished my first semester teaching English in Chile. Before taking ITA’s online course, I did not have any formal teaching experience. Looking back, I can see how their class affected my success in the classroom, and I can imagine how much more difficult things might have been if I hadn’t taken the course.
If you’re new to the education field, the idea of creating lesson plans or managing a room full of teenagers can seem daunting. When it comes to teaching abroad, knowing grammar or how to organize lessons is just the tip of the iceberg.
ITA’s online course covers these important topics, but more, such as: how do you create a comfortable classroom environment? What are some classroom management best practices? Those are the kinds of issues that you’re going to encounter day-to-day with your students. Knowing how to respond to these different situations is what came in handy for me every week.
I remember one of the most helpful assignments from the online ITA class was when we had to create a lesson plan, and then adapt it for a student with a specific learning disability.
Here in Chile, I see hundreds of students every week, and thanks to the ITA course, I’ve been able to respond in more effective and creative ways with these students. That part of the class helped me become a more empathetic teacher.
Deciding to take an online course doesn’t mean your classmates and professor are distant figures. The amount of interaction with my classmates and professor was beyond what I expected from an online class.
Every time you upload an assignment or lesson plan, your classmates are required to comment. I think this constant exchange of ideas is extremely important for new teachers (and even experienced ones!). This collaborative atmosphere, where everyone gives support as well as critiques, helped spark my own creativity for creating classroom activities. I’ve even used several lessons from my ITA peers in my classroom in Chile.
My professor Julie’s thoughtful comments on my assignments also prepared me for life in the classroom. Even small details, like how much time I’d allotted to an activity, she would notice and provide feedback on. Julie could pick out my weaknesses and strengths in every assignment, and that honest feedback helped me become a more effective teacher.
This is something that I really enjoyed: the ability to work from anywhere without compromising the quality of my learning experience. I remember sitting in the Toronto airport (en route to Chile) and starting a homework assignment from the chapter I had just finished reading.
No matter what your schedule is like, you are always connected with your professor, the online lectures, and your TEFL community. Everything is at your convenience, which made the entire course a smooth experience.