So you’ve been looking into TEFL and you’re considering taking a qualification. Remember, TEFL can take you places most other careers can’t, but simply gaining the qualification won’t change your life. You need to be committed to your decision and be prepared for some major changes. TEFL can open up so many possibilities that it’s useful to expand your planning to take in every aspect of the life it will lead you to.
What will your CertTesol certificate mean to you? Do you see it as your “ticket to ride” – a way of getting you a job that enables you to travel or relocate? Or is the teaching the most important part to you – you don’t really care where you do it?
Are you moving away from something in your life (a stale relationship, an unchallenging job, an over-bearing family) and looking for an escape route? Or are you moving towards a new career as an English teacher, taking useful past experience along to help you? Or maybe a mixture of the two?
According to Oprah Winfrey, creating a Life Map may help you discover what you want for yourself and your life. Her website http://www.oprah.com offers great insights in making your own Life Maps:
Gather magazines and catalogues.
Go through the magazines and catalogues and pull out images, words and phrases that speak to you or evoke feelings.
Cut out these images and words.
Place your words and images on a large board in a way that feels right to you.
Paste the images on the board.
Review your Life Map and ask yourself the following questions:
- What have I learned about myself from looking at my Life Map?
- Do I see any patterns?
- Does anything on my Life Map surprise me?
- If I knew that all of the images and this Life Map would come in to my life, would I be OK with that?
- Who do I need to become in order to fulfill the intentions on my Life Map?
- Based on my Life Map, what quality will I commit to developing this year?
Find support for changing your life. Share your findings with a friend. You can even create Life Maps together.
The important thing is that you need to know what is motivating you and be clear about what is important to you and how your new job as an English teacher will affect that. Those few weeks on the course can be tough and you need to be clear why you’re there if you are to see it through.
However, you might feel that although you can’t stop thinking about all the potential possibilities and pitfalls that TEFL will offer you, you need some real clarity about your motivations and expectations.
Constantly reminding yourself of your wishes and expectations now will help you make the right choices later on and will help you live the life you dreamed of when you first signed up for that course.
· Article adapted from Claire Bradford http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2004/sep/27/tefl2?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487