Is TEFL/TESOL or any other teaching certificate really necessary?
We strongly recommend that all teachers who have no formal training in education pursue a teaching certificate. As we’ve mentioned, the job market in Korea is very competitive and it can be hard to make yourself stand out if you don’t have a Bachelors in Education or English.
Plus, if you’ve never stood in front of a classroom of students before, a teaching certificate can help prepare for this huge moment. Sure — some people are born with the intuition needed to navigate classroom management. Some people naturally know how to cater to different students’ learning styles. Some people can effortlessly navigate the nuances of teaching a second language to a room full of kids who literally have NO idea what you are saying.
But for the rest of us, a little bit of extra training can go a long way. Click here to check out a few TEFL/TESOL courses that our Korea Works teachers have had tremendous success with over the years.
Getting certified can help give you the basic tools and knowledge to turn an unmotivated classroom into an excited, cooperative group. You’ll learn how to explain grammatical concepts, current methodology behind second language acquisition, and use critical thinking skills to imply these things (and much more!) in the classroom. No matter who you are, if you are teaching in Korea for the first time, you’ll need some training! Without it you may not have the confidence you need to step into this new experience with two firm feet. Plus, it’s hard to tell what sort of training you can count on upon arrival. Some schools will hold week-long group training sessions, while some might make you wait months before offering any orientation and training. Some schools will put you at the front of the class on Day 1, while some might let you sit in on classes for a week before starting. Your level of training is dependent on your school and when you arrive, so it’s best to be prepared for anything.
Of course, the real benefit of getting a TEFL certificate is for your own experience. Students can sense how much or how little experience a teacher has, and are more likely to act out if they can tell you have no clue what you’re doing. A TEFL course teaches you not only how to teach, but how to set up your classroom to minimize behavioral issues and maximize results. The teachers who come to Korea without a certification learn how to teach the hard way. An uncertified teacher will drone through lesson plans that end up being horribly ineffective and slug through difficult material in a complicated manner, while students stare blankly at their textbooks. Some teachers lose rapport with students because of a lack of organization and confidence, or because of an all-too-casual disposition. By the time the uncertified teacher figures out what they’re doing, the contract is almost up!