I'm interested in expanding my horizons and leaving Canada in what I hope would be a permanent basis. I've been doing some research on TESL courses but it all seems a little overwhelming. First, a little background may help:
- Native English speaker born and raised in Toronto, Canada
- Excelled at grammar and spelling throughout school
- Community-college diploma graduate for Law Enforcement
- Intermediate-level Spanish speaker
- Mature(?) at 28 years of age
I work more than full-time (60+ hours a week) so a distance-learning course would be ideal. However, do employers look upon this differently particularily not having a university education?
Also, what would the difference between TESOL and TEFL qualifications be? I want to be sure that if I leave my job in Canada, I will be consistently able to find work!
And third, can anyone recommend a local school in downtown Toronto?
Thanks in advance and I look forward to speaking to some of you soon!
TESOL, TEFL, TESL are basically just names- I wouldn't worry about them as terms. In the US, they use ESL, but in Australia and the UK ESOL is more popular.
With distance learning, I'd be very careful about these courses and check them out very carefully- there are some dodgy ones and be very wary of the accreditation. Basically, ignore many of the promises of guaranteed work and look at the small print. In terms of not being a graduate, that depends very much on the local law of the countries- some insist on teachers being graduates, others don't. In some countries, just being a native speaker is enough, but this locks people into a very fragile system with few prospects.
My advice would be to try to find a part-time course with a reputable bricks&mortar place offering courses accredited by an offical body (many online providers have set up sham accrediting bodies and pass themselves). A qualification that dosn't carry much weight will lock you out of all the reputable schools, unless you happen to be there the day they've lost a vital teacher, and these are the places that pay better and offer more security. There are areas of the world that are pretty much bandit territory in ESL. The US government issued a recommendation a few years ago about not going to Korea because they were getting so many horror stories about teachers getting ripped off. I really do think that it is worth getting a proper qualification.
Check out Sunbridge Institute of English at <http://www.teachesl.org>. The TESOL course is online and can usually be completed in several weeks. The school has been training teachers for overseas positions since 1998 and has graduates teaching around the world.
Your community college diploma is enough to get you into the course and should be enough for many overseas schools - though of course the more education you have the better your opporunities. Here again, you can complete a BA by distance while you are teaching.