The World Awaits: How My TEFL Certification Changed My Career Plans

A child makes a peace sign with his hand.

Oh, my goodness, everything they say about this TEFL certification course in Prague eventually comes true – kinda. They say it’ll get easier after the first week … the last week was definitely the easiest! They say the days will be long but the month will be short … I can attest to this feeling! They say it’ll be extremely rewarding … this is an understatement! The amount of happiness and pride I have knowing that I have this certification is unexplainable.

It was DEFINITELY a rough start. I won’t lie, at one point I questioned whether I had wasted money by taking this course. Now that it’s over, I have no question, in my mind, that it was worth it.

Even though it seems crazy that the less than 10 hours of teaching we did during the month of the course is enough to receive certification, I know that within the next few years of working, I’ll continue to learn. I’ll start to make more friends within this career-field who I can learn from, too. Not to mention, all of the resources I now know about, that will help guide me in the right direction.


Taking in the views of Prague, and seeing the big picture after my TEFL course.

Prepared to Start My International Teaching Adventures

This TEFL certification course gives you a lot of information in a short amount of time, but gives you a good place to start your career. You teach a variety of lessons from grammar to skills, such as reading and listening, but observe other types of lessons, too.

It is impossible to become an expert at teaching English in a month – it’s impossible to become an expert in anything in a month! But, the class leaves you with a variety of guides, skills, books and advice to look back on and be able to use for your future lessons.

When I received my physical certificate on Friday, it seemed surreal. In just a month, I had completed the requirements necessary for a new professional qualification. I had just opened so many doors for myself and my future! I knew I wanted to teach English overseas starting next school year (around August 2018) but figured I would keep waitressing and working retail jobs until then. That is SO not the case now.

Exploring with my fellow TEFL classmates.

Next Steps in Finding Work as an English Teacher

I plan to look for tutoring jobs and possibly part time work specifically with teaching English in the U.S. The town I live in is very international due to a large company that has its headquarters there, so I think I should be able to find work pretty quickly! I feel much more prepared to market myself as an ESL/EFL teacher. Not to mention, the new confidence I have in helping my students progress in their language learning process.

Officially TEFL certified!

When you get your TEFL certificate, you can either:

  • “pass” the course
  • receive “merit”
  • receive the highest level of “distinction”

Everything you do in the course is graded in this manner. If you receive a pass on an assignment it is 1 point, a merit is 2 and a distinction is 3. Lessons are worth more, so a pass is 3, a merit is 6 and a distinction is 9.

At the end of the course, everything is added up and then in which ever set of grades yours falls in, you receive. I learned that earning a distinction can get you an automatic interview for certain schools, but that a pass isn’t looked down upon.


The day that our TEFL instructors got us ice cream from McDonalds!

When applying to jobs as an English teacher, most times you will send your CV and cover letter. The school may ask for more information through a separate form. During the interview, you will be asked to do a 15 to 20-minute demo lesson. Some schools will give you a variety of topics to pick from, while others will allow you to prepare a topic of choice.

A few business-English schools from Prague came to talk to us on our last day of the course and I learned a lot about what is offered in terms of jobs and contracts in Prague specifically, but now I have an idea of what to look for in other countries when I’m looking for jobs.

As I previously mentioned, I plan on looking for and applying for overseas teaching positions once I get home. I don’t want to move overseas until I have a little more time to save some money and finish paying off my student loans. But, once I move, I don’t think I’ll be back, living in the States, for at least 5 years.

There are so many places I want to explore and now that I have this certification, I am almost guaranteed to find a job in any non-English speaking country. Obviously, you have to do your research before moving, but I have a lot more options now than I did before! I personally enjoy learning about new cultures and learning the history of places, and I believe that diving into a new place and taking it in 100% is the best way to do this.

The first place on my radar is Spain. I speak Spanish and have always wanted to visit Spain, so why not just move there! I’ve already applied to a program that would place me in Spain, but I’m waiting to hear back from them.

If Spain works out, after a year there, I want to teach English in Thailand. If Spain doesn’t work out, I’ll be in Thailand sooner! To get to Thailand, I’ll go through Greenheart Travel. They’ve been more than helpful and supportive in preparing me to go to Prague and throughout the course as well!

After Thailand, I’m not sure, but I’ll probably look at other Spanish-speaking countries again to continue practicing and using Spanish.

Eventually, I plan on getting a Master’s degree in second language acquisition, because I’m curious about language learning and the processes that take place when students learn a second language. I’m hoping that my next few years of travel will help me find a place I can call home because everywhere I’ve gone so far, has been better than the last!

Getting TEFL Certified is Your Ticket to International Experiences

If you are on the edge of taking a TEFL course, I urge you to do it! You’ll be surprised at all you can do with this certification. At the very least, it’s a way to experience a new country and meet some cool people. The TEFL community is a special group of people with a lot of the same interests. They’re looking for a change of pace; they love to travel; they are willing to take risks; and they like people. Not to mention, they are probably in the same boat as you are when it comes to trying to get visas, finding a place to live and getting a job.


Just hanging out in the rose gardens with new TEFL friends Josie (a fellow Greenheart Traveler) and Gina.

While you are taking a TEFL course, my best piece of advice is to keep an open mind. Remember that even if you get through the course and realize teaching isn’t for you, you now have a wide variety of skills that you can use in other parts of your life.

The best part about this, is that you can use your TEFL certificate for as short or as long as you please. Some people only plan on using it for a year or two, as a stepping stone to higher career option. Some are using it to learn a new language. Some plan on using it for as long as they can imagine! It’s one of the most personable certifications I think you can get because you can use it in any sense that works best for you.

If you have any further questions, want to know more about my specific experience, or just want to talk about travelling and living abroad – feel free to email me at jehlal8@gmail.com.

Want to take the first step in getting paid to travel and teach English?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *