Saturday, 19 June 2010

Step #2 - Getting qualified aka. a TEFL/TESOL Certificate

While a lot of people will tell you that it is unnecessary to obtain any qualifications to get a teaching job in Korea, I personally decided to get certified anyway.

There are several reasons for this:

1) I like to be prepared when I start a new job, regardless of what kind of job it is
2) I saw this video, which gave me the idea that classroom management skills might be a good thing to acquire before being thrown in front of 40 odd students...
3) I was interested in refreshing my grammar knowledge
4) The idea of a pay bump was just too tempting to resist! (100,000 won/month aint small change ya know!)
5) I thought, given the increased number of n00bs entering Korea without any qualifications due to the bad economies back home, a certificate might be that extra "something" that would get me hired

With these points in mind, I started trawling the internet in search of a suitable qualification.
However, this was easier said than done. Just typing in TEFL certificate into google brought up a good 213,000+ websites to look at, so this begged the question of how exactly are you supposed to find a good, reputable course without being 80 by the time you decide? Well, lucky for me (and in turn you), not too far into my search I found this lovely little site called It lists a large number of TEFL/TESOL/CELTA etc. providers and shows reviews from people that took the offered courses. It is through this site that I found my TESOL provider LinguaEdge, LLC.

I didn't have a lot of money at the time, so I was looking for something that was cheap, but still looked like it packed in all the essentials. LinguaEdge got quite a few good reviews, that all looked to be pretty legitimate, so I decided to take the plunge. The 100-hour course being a very reasonable $249 INCLUDING tutor support, I figured I didn't really have much to lose. Now that I'm done with the course, I must say I'm glad I did.

My tutor David was really encouraging, and helpful and had some great advice to give. The course was not super challenging, but definitely covered all the basics. I now definitely feel a lot more prepared to walk into a classroom and be fairly confident of the fact that I will come out alive and willing to repeat the experience ^-^. I only did 1-3 units a week, so it took me just under 3 months to do it (44 units in total) and I found it had a pretty interesting mix of reading, writing and online activities. The only thing I would comment on is that it might have been even better if there had been more opportunity to do lesson planning. Oh and final pointer, the certificate looks soooooo nice teehee ;)

While this post really does seem to have turned into a plug for LinguaEdge, the main point of this post is just to reiterate that getting a certificate before coming to Korea, in my opinion, does have it's benefits. If you've never taught before, I think doing a TEFL/TESOL certificate will really help in terms of preparing you for what's coming. Of course, it can't give you any real practical experience as it's all online (unless you choose to do an on campus course), but it will definitely give you an idea of what types of situations you might be faced with and how you might best deal with them if and when they do occur. As mentioned before, a certificate is a good way to get a pay bump and in terms of increasing your hiring potential, so it definitely has material value as well. That being said though, I know quite a few people who have been hired in Korea without certifications of any kind, so in the end it really is up to go and ponder! ^-^

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