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Is TEFL for me and can I make it work my way?

Posted: Tue May 19, 2015 12:50 am
by timbo
I've just sold my company in New Zealand and I now want to travel and teach English in a few different places in the world. I'm a total novice with regard to TEFL but it's something I've been wanting to do since I was a teenager (I'm 34 now). My preferred destinations are Mexico and Guatemala as I speak Spanish and I have been to those places before and loved them. I am a British citizen so eventually would like to teach in the EU if TEFL is something I feel I'd like to pursue further.

I don't have a degree and have very little teaching experience. I used to be a bank manager and have some experience of delivering training sessions to staff, plus I owned a company in New Zealand which operated 3 backpacker's hostels so I feel I may have something to offer in terms of business English, given my management experience in tourism, negotiating contracts, financial services, etc.

I'm not sure if I should do a CELTA course as it is not only expensive, but I have some doubts I would be suited to the course as although I consider myself to be an intelligent person, some social and domestic issues in my childhood prevented me from furthering my own education and I've relied heavily on learning through my work environment to further my career instead of learning academically. I've heard the CELTA can be very demanding even for university graduates and that scares me a bit.

What I'd ideally like to do is to take an online TEFL course with some practical classroom aspects to it. I have read that it may be possible to teach in Mexico and Guatemala without a CELTA or Trinity certificate and I could do that to start to gain enough experience to teach in Europe where they are (I'm told) a fair bit more demanding with qualifications and experience.

Does this sound possible or am I simply designing an unlikely plan in my head to circumnavigate the issues I'm worries about?

PS: I'm looking at an i-to-i course for my TEFL certificate... ... hours.html

Does anyone know if they're any good, or can you recommend an online course that can also give me classroom experience in NZ?

Re: Is TEFL for me and can I make it work my way?

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:11 pm
by dianalets
If teaching ESL in Spanish-speaking countries is still something you'd like to pursue, TtMadrid offers a range of TEFL courses tailored to different needs. If you are already certified in TEFL, you might wanna check out the LifeStyle program - it includes 4 weeks of Spanish for both EU and Non-EU passport holders, as well as help with finding a job (

Re: Is TEFL for me and can I make it work my way?

Posted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:22 pm
by ananemesis
In TEFL Madrid has a good forum with lots of info about working in different countries. :D :lol:

Re: Is TEFL for me and can I make it work my way?

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:37 am
by AaronTNelson
Hello Timbo,
I lived and worked in Mexico City as a freelance ESL teacher for 16 years and ran my own English consulting company for 10 of those years.

When I started, I had zero experience as an ESL teacher. My background was in Social Work. Had no idea I could even make a living teaching English!

Your info is right re: no CELTA or teaching certs required in Mexico. If you are able to show your previous training/teaching experience at work on your resume, and that you have strong customer service skills - you will likely find that your status as a Native English speaker will open many doors. Did for me when I was first getting my freelance legs under me.

Just be sure - wherever you go - that your employer is willing and able to help you get legal working permits! In Mexico you can work that out on your own, but it takes a whole lot of patience and you'll need to be able to speak Spanish well to navigate the immigration offices and paperwork. But much better if you have a company sponsoring you through the process at the start.

You could also very likely get the ball rolling immediately - have you thought of trying to give some ESL classes on your own from where you live now? Get some experience under your belt?

You might also look into the TKT - Teaching Knowledge Test. The prep book from Cambridge was very informative and helpful for me. Hope this is helpful!