Why did you go to college? To get an education or a job? Why are you thinking of taking a TEFL course? For the education or the job?

So I guess getting an education and a job are the two main reasons why people take TEFL courses.

So your next question might be, which course?

Then...

If you are in the market for a TEFL course you should know the following things are what REALLY matters and later I'll tell you about one that doesn't. 

Sarcasm ahead...

1. They say it needs to be "accredited"

Have you done any research on this subject yet? Apparently it's extremely important to take an accredited course even though:

  • There is no one party for TEFL accreditation. 
  • It's basically a paid review.
  • It might be fake.
  • You don't know anything about the people who do the accrediting.
  • It's probably just like the next "accredited" TEFL course since accreditation doesn't promote diversity or innovation.
  • They are not governmental. They are businesses.
  • Some people say things like...

"Why care about the accreditation of a 120 hour certificate anyways, employers and governments don't." - Timemachine2

Those things don't matter.

An "accredited" course is what really matters.

2. They say it needs to be "internationally recognized"

The course needs to be as famous as Brad Pitt or Michael Jackson or CELTA. The average person in a foreign country should know about it.

When you're abroad looking for a conversation starter forget talking about Johnny Depp or your favorite food talk about your "internationally recognized" TEFL course instead.

Some TEFL courses are really popular and everybody knows about them especially people in foreign countries who don't teach or speak English.

Like you probably heard about TEFL before Picasso or Da Vinci right?

So it matters even though...

  • Many language schools in Asia don't know what a CELTA is.
  • Most schools in Asia don't care what TEFL/TESOL/CELTA you take.
  • TEFL isn't even required in many places.
  • Some people say things like this...

“Nobody actually gives a flying fuck where your TESOL is from unless you are applying at international schools and they require the aforementioned, (CELTA usually), plus an education degree, so that’s a moot point for you anyway.” — muirnoir

3. They say "120 hours" is the magic number

This is a magic number in TEFL. The course absolutely needs to be this number, not 69, 101 or 151. 

It's extremely important even though:

  • I and a couple of other people finished their "120 hour" online course in about 8 hours.
  • 99% of TEFL courses aren't college courses and there is no credit.
  • They aren't synchronous courses that are actually held at class times.

Those things don't matter.

Only the superficial matters: accredited, internationally recognized, and 120 hours that's all you need to know. 

4. In a classroom w/ live "observed" teaching practice

Because if it's anywhere else then that would be uncivilized and your certificate wouldn't be "worth the paper it's printed on".

This is really important even though...

  • The students are pseudo students.
  • It probably won't be anything like the classroom you teach in.
  • The students will be adults like you (other people taking a course) and not children whom you are more likely to teach.
  • The students will be fluent in English.
  • The students will behave.
  • It's often only "6 hours".

What matters is that your course is in a classroom and not online.

5. It needs a "guaranteed job" placement service

This is really the most important thing even though:

  • You can find more jobs on your own if you look.

It's probably better to just hold their hand and believe everything they say.

Didn't you know what the industry standard was?

CELTA is basically the one course that every other TEFL/TESOL course tries to emulate in one way or another for better or worse.

Ask a TEFL course provider what's the industry standard?

They'll say:

  • 120 hour course
  • Accredited
  • Internationally recognized

Because those are all things that are qualities in a CELTA course. The TEFL industry is mostly a bunch of CELTA copycats and look-alikes.

Why is accreditation so important?

C'mon dude, CELTA is affiliated with Cambridge University.

Why is it important to be internationally recognised?

Didn't I just answer that.

Why do some people think that a 120 hour course is a magic number?

Because that's what CELTA did.

But don't get me wrong I don't think CELTA is the best thing since sliced bread and I also don't think that any other TEFL course is necessarily better, but I have to say...

This is what absolutely does NOT matter with a course

What you learn.

It doesn't matter what you learn.

It doesn't matter how well you get trained "to do" your job.

What matters is what it looks like.

It matters that it looks like you know something.

This is the education system.

Go to an "accredited" school and university to study a bunch of useless classes that don't produce any real world results or skills so that you can get a diploma and a degree that makes it look like you know something to some employer.

And you did that.

And how did it work out?

And I am going to poke you a little now. 

Why are you here considering teaching English abroad? Is this what you studied in university to become?

Did that "accredited" degree that you went into thousands of dollars of debt for actually get you a job and prepare you for it?

And here you are again in TEFL - an extension of the education system that tries to emulate one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Now you know.

Learning doesn't really matter.

This is TEFL.

This is education...

Studying and memorizing useless facts that have little real world value.

All the way through the system you took classes that were boring, difficult to study and that you don't even remember now or use. And here you are again about to repeat the process on a mini scale.

I can tell you from my experience taking 2 different TESOL/TEFL courses that you will also study some totally useless stuff like teaching theory, terminology and English grammar rules and definitions.

Those things are useless 99% of the time.

They won't make your classes more interesting or solve your classroom problems. Yep, you are going to have problems.

And most of that stuff you learned (or that actually went in one ear and out the other) isn't going to help. 

But it won't matter.

Because you got a certificate that was accredited, internationally recognized, 120 hours and made it look like you know something.

So definitely don't take this course because it's not accredited, internationally recognized, a 120 hours and it's focused on LEARNING how to teach English (especially to kids) in Asia.

What?

It's not even a "TEFL" course it's called TEKA and rhymes with mecca??

WTF.

Taking a course like that would be absurd if you just want to make it look like you know something.

donttakeit