TEFL Online will feature a series of guest blog posts from graduate Tanya Smith. Tanya completed the University of Toronto’s TEFL course and is now teaching abroad in China.
Part 1: Completing the TEFL course
I first found the TEFL program by searching Google for teaching jobs in Asia. I came upon the Teachaway.com site and was directed to the University of Toronto’s TEFL certification class. It took tops ten minutes to sign up and pay the fee, and then all I had to do was wait for the confirmation email.
The start of the TEFL course was rather simple; however, I soon came to see that the way to get the most out of it was to take extensive notes on the slides in each section. More than that, it was essential that I pay attention, because although the sections are short, they are filled with useful information. I know this even more now that I have started teaching. Knowing when to correct students on their language skills and how to make learning fun by using different games is an essential part of being a teacher in a foreign country.
The course isn’t difficult as long as you take notes and pay attention to the content. The content is then used to ask you questions that you submit to the course site. When turning these in it usually takes a day to get your marks back, and are then able to move on to the next section.
If you experience technical difficulties with a section, I found that it worked best to email the course site directly instead of using the button marked help. It took me 3 weeks of pressing this button and explaining my problem to find out that the button didn’t work. However, once I reached the right people it took maybe an hour to have the problem fixed. [Editor’s note: Tanya, thanks for bringing this to our attention! This problem has been fixed. Any current students who use the Help button (shaped like a speech bubble) should not encounter any issues.]
One of the benefits of using U of T’s TEFL program is job placement. They emailed me every couple weeks with a new job opportunity and were able to give me priority over others who did not do the TEFL through them. Be aware though that your job will require your TEFL certificate, and it takes up to six weeks for it to arrive. So start the course as soon as possible.
All in all, the University of Toronto’s TEFL program is easy and convenient to use. Although I had some minor mishaps I found a job I love and have been able to use the course to my benefit while teaching. I am now gainfully employed in Hegang, China and loving it.