Do you want to gain teaching experience and do some good? There are volunteer English teaching positions aplenty! Of course every English teacher wants to earn an income, but gaining vital volunteer experience when kickstarting your TEFL career can be a great resume booster and give you insight into the industry before officially taking the plunge.
The TEFL Volunteer’s Duties
As a volunteer TEFL teacher, typical duties may include preparing lessons, updating records, creating schedules or procedures, grading tasks and assessing students. Primarily, however, you will be a relief teacher, filling in vacancies in communities that lack funding or qualified teachers. In such underprivileged communities who cannot offer talented teachers a desirable salary, volunteer English teachers are vital. Therefore, you will literally be making a difference not only by teaching but by passing on your TEFL training knowledge to local teachers and students, and assisting in uplifting social issues. You’ll be part of a united cause for doing good!
Besides the humanitarian aspect, let’s take a look at the many personal pros of being a TEFL volunteer.
Volunteer English teaching abroad gives teachers the chance to immerse themselves fully in a new culture without the pressure of a regular teacher with a strict schedule. You’ll have the time and freedom to explore the chosen country, embracing all the cultural experiences it has to offer. Cultural immersion has bountiful benefits in that it:
- Enhances communication skills,
- Develops greater understanding and tolerance for diverse people,
- Increases knowledge of religion, traditions, history and geography,
- Broadens the mind to a global perspective,
- Gives greater insight into human behaviour,
- Diminishes stereotypes,
- Encourages self-reflection,
- Inspires creativity, and
- Offers the opportunity to learn a new language.
Pursuing a Passion
Have you ever signed up for an activity only to realise two classes in that you actually don’t enjoy it? By becoming a TEFL volunteer first, you will be exposed to enough experiences to determine whether you actually want to pursue English teaching full-time before making a commitment you may regret later.
Refining those Teaching Skills
If you have limited teaching experience, volunteer teaching is the perfect opportunity to hone your skills without the pressure of performing to perfection. You may be exposed to large or small groups containing students with various proficiency levels and different ages. This exposure teaches you how to adapt to various circumstances and types of learners, which in turn will increase your confidence, lesson planning ability, creativity, the know-how to handle the many challenges that arise in the English language classroom, and refine your teaching style. In addition, you’ll be able to determine where your strengths lie and preference for teaching English to a particular age group.
Finding Future Job Opportunities
Gaining volunteer experience gives you the upper-hand for future employment as you’ll know the red flags to watch out for, and the essential criteria to look for in full-time contracted TEFL positions. In addition, those you meet may help you land teaching positions either in the country you’re in or elsewhere. Never underestimate the power of your hard work, diligent effort and the contacts you make along the way.
Where to Start and What do Volunteer Opportunities Include?
There are volunteer TEFL opportunities worldwide from South America to Europe and everything in between. It’s best to research thoroughly before settling on a particular organization to volunteer with, making sure that their programs are ethical. Check out this article about ethical volunteering and making sure you’ll be helping, not hurting, the community. Examples of volunteer organizations to research:
Each organization may offer different packages at different expenses.
Alternatively, find local volunteer opportunities in your own homeland or community, or hold free online ESL classes such as on:
Are you excited by the prospect of becoming a volunteer TEFL teacher to gain experience and make an impact on the world? Contact us today to get started on the journey by becoming a qualified TESOL teacher.