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iTTi SA Student Stories: Teacher Shirley

In order to expand her online English teaching opportunities in the TEFL industry, iTTi South Africa alumni Shirley became TESOL qualified and reaped the rewards. Here’s teacher Shirley’s story:

The Choice to Become TESOL Qualified

I had been doing online English tutoring for a couple of years, without any certification, and I then decided to do the TESOL course so that if I did need to look for more work it would be easier accepted for opportunities that might come my way.  At the time of registration for the TESOL course, I wanted to be able to teach online, specifically for working with adults in a one- one-situation.   

My TESOL Course Experience 

I completed the iTTi South Africa Level 5 120-hour video-lead course. I enjoyed the generous amount of added content that was made available. The Study Outline was extremely helpful in navigating the course and I enjoyed doing the tasks, although some felt like an enormous challenge at the outset.  Because I find it easier to remember if I use videos along with reading content, I was very appreciative of the video content that was provided for this. 

Tackling the Interview Process

I’ve had a range of interview experiences with online TEFL companies: a “video/computerised” interview; filling in profiles and providing reference letters from prior students, and traditional online interviews with sending in my CV and attending a second interview. 

My advice to future TESOL teachers is to expect the unexpected in the interview process.  From my experience, which is quite limited, I have learned that each company has a different approach and so one has to be prepared to navigate whatever requirements/processes might come with that company’s interview process.

Teaching English Online   

The two companies that hired me are quite different.  Speaken is purely a platform with a mobile facility that provides learners with the opportunity to practice speaking English. The clients are from some of the large companies in France and this platform is a small tributary of the Yes’nYou online learning company.  

The other company is Tutorful, which is a UK-based company and only available for tutors/teachers who live in the UK. Its structure is completely different, and it’s target market is mostly school, college and university students.  The vetting process is also much more stringent, and their website is extremely well organised and efficient.  As a tutor you don’t have to worry about billing or managing appointments because the platform is designed to do this for you.  

Tips for Future iTTi South Africa Students 

If you do the 120-hour video-led course, be prepared for it to take more than 120-hours.  I kept a log of the time I spent doing the course work and tasks, etc., and my total came to 278 hours.  This did not include the time I spent preparing for the final practical, and I also gave up going through any of the additional material after the first few weeks.  There is an enormous amount of content, even if one excludes the additional materials and if one wants to really do it justice, this course takes a lot longer than 120 hours — at least that was my experience.  It is not a complaint, but just a piece of advice.   

That said, becoming TESOL certified is ABSOLUTELY worth it!  If one wants to work for an accredited and substantial company, then being certified is essential.  My future online TEFL employment opportunities can only happen if I am certified – and iTTi SA’s TESOL certification is accepted worldwide. For someone who is starting out in this field, wanting a career in teaching as well as having the opportunity to explore the world, with a TESOL certification and an adventurous spirit, the doors of opportunity can be wide open. 

We are so proud of Shirley for obtaining her TESOL certificate to pursue the many online English teaching opportunities in her near future. If you’re like teacher Shirley and seek online or abroad English teaching opportunities, join the iTTi SA family for the best TEFL courses. Options include our 120-Hour TESOL Certification course or 220-Hour TESOL certification course]. Contact us today to start your career as a qualified TESOL teacher.