FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS  

 

Is the TESOL Voyages program for U.S. citizens only?

No, any citizen of any country can take the course.

 

Do I need to be a native speaker of English?

No, but you must have near fluency in English. A score of 90 on the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam is acceptable. An equivalent score on another respected test, or a strong recommendation from your English teacher, would also be acceptable.

 

Do I have to have a degree from a college or university to enter the program?

No, but having a college degree makes you more attractive to schools hiring teachers of English and puts you ahead of applicants who don’t have the degree. For most schools, the basic requirement for a teacher of English is a high school diploma or its equivalent. Many candidates take the TESOL Voyages course concurrent with their college studies and graduate with both a diploma and a TESOL Voyages certificate in hand, ready to go to work.

 

Is there an age requirement?

The minimum age to begin the TESOL Voyages course is 18. There is no upper age limit. In fact, many retirees who go abroad, to find a warmer climate or a lower cost of living, want to teach English part-time or do volunteer teaching in their new community. They take the course to brush up on their grammar and learn teaching skills and methods.

 

How does the program work?

After you apply and pay your fee, you will be given a dedicated password. This password allows you to access the course learning modules and all other material, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (You can see the titles of the modules on the website without a password, but you can’t see the actual lessons.) You study the modules and handouts one by one, progressing through the course at your own speed. 

 

You also will be given a dedicated email address for a master teacher, who is available to answer all your questions as you move through the course. You can expect a complete response from him or her within 48 hours—often within just a few hours. Regularly scheduled webinars, where you can join an online discussion with a teacher and other students, are also available. Then you must answer two essay questions covering the modules of your choice. Your master teacher and other TESOL Voyages teachers will evaluate them.

 

Do I need any special software to take this online course?

No, you just need a dependable computer with a good Internet connection. 

 

What makes this course special?

 

TESOL Voyages was created by teachers for teachers. 

 

The lessons teach you to teach American English, not to discuss linguistics or other abstract information.

 

The lessons and materials have been tested and proven successful.

 

The program includes working with a master teacher, detailed lesson plans, and proven teaching tips. 

 

The program recommends the best backup texts and materials.

 

The program consists of one essential, complete course, not a variety of different-priced offerings.

 

Why does your course cost less than most?

The course is economical because we aren’t a high-priced corporate operation, paying big bucks for administrators and fancy headquarters. We don’t need a huge advertising budget because we grow through word of mouth. We don’t ask you to pay for any bells and whistles. Because this is a company by teachers and for teachers, we are lean and efficient, no-nonsense and practical.

 

How soon can I get my TESOL Voyages certificate?

That depends on how much time you can devote to the program. We break the course into two 60-hour sections: 1) 80 hours to study the 15 modules and pass the essay tests and 2) 40 hours to prepare for and pass the Practicum. Most students who waive or postpone the Practicum can complete the 80-hour module course in a few weeks.

 

Why would I postpone the Practicum?

You might not have time to do your practice teaching just yet, or you already have a contract and are set to begin teaching soon. We know you will be immersed in classroom teaching and lesson preparation. If you already have a job, you can postpone the Practicum and complete it at that school, with an experienced teacher there as your mentor. Once you complete the Practicum, your TESOL Voyages certificate will be reissued to indicate that.

 

How can I waive the Practicum?

If you have prior teaching experience—even in other subjects or languages—you would have experience in organizing lessons and managing students in a classroom setting. We would consider this your Practicum.

 

Why do you focus on American English?

We are an American educational company, based in the U.S. In addition, we’ve found that most schools and businesses worldwide prefer American English, because it has become the standard for business and technical communication. Your TESOL Voyages certificate makes it clear that you are certified in teaching American English.

 

 

CHOOSING A POSITION

 

If I take a job at an overseas school, what expenses will the school pay?

That depends on the school. Some schools reimburse the cost of the flight there and pay for your return flight when you successfully complete your teaching job. Some schools pay part of the cost of your flight; some don’t pay for or reimburse you for your airline tickets but may offer a more lucrative salary and/or benefits. For instance, some schools arrange and subsidize housing, pay health insurance, give discounts on meals, offer free language lessons, and/or provide more vacation time.

 

Different countries have different costs of living, as do different regions within the same country. It costs more to live in Europe than in South America; it cost three times as much to live in Tokyo as it does in a rural area on the northern island of Hokkaido.

 

Which countries have the most English-teaching jobs?

South Korea, China, Vietnam, Japan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Italy, and Germany.

 

Which countries pay most?

The industrialized countries of western Europe pay best and are very popular destinations, but you have to consider the higher cost of living there. The Gulf States, such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain, pay top salaries, but for many Westerners, living there can feel restrictive.

 

Can you give me an example of a job offer?

South Korea has many good job offers from many different schools. (The country’s teaching visa requires a bachelor’s degree.) It’s a relatively expensive country. The salary range for new teachers is $1,500 to $2,250 a month. Teachers are usually given a housing allowance and help finding an apartment; health insurance is usually available; and part or all of their plane fare may be paid. Salaries are often tax free or have only minimal tax is deducted.  

 

 

 

TEACHING ABROAD

 

 

Do I have to speak the language of the country?

No, although often you’ll have an opportunity to study the language at your school at little or no cost. After all, the school will want you to settle in and be comfortable, perhaps even to stay longer than you’d intended.

 

What age group will I work with?

Most schools focus on a particular age group, such as children, high-school-age teens, or adults. If you have a preference for children, say, or adults, make sure you understand what age group attends a school before you apply. 

 

What is the dress code?

Most schools don’t have a strict dress code, but all require teachers to look clean and presentable while teaching. In many countries, the position of teacher is highly regarded. In general, you should dress a little better than your students. And you must take the religious and cultural beliefs of a country into consideration. Most countries don’t expect foreigners to dress in the same way as citizens, but some will appreciate your wearing more conservative clothing.  

 

How many hours or classes a day will I teach?

That varies. Most countries require at least five hours of teaching a day. Schools in some countries, such as Mexico and China, ask you to teach three to four classes a day, while South Korean schools expect you to teach six classes.  

 

What kinds of schools are we talking about?

There are many possibilities and many kinds of teaching sites. You may take a position at a school, then find yourself assigned to work off site or privately.

 

•      Public schools: This is the traditional classroom site: Many students around the world learn English as a required course for a high school, college, or university degree. These classes are normally large and designed to teach primarily “quiet skills”: reading, writing, translation. Conversation is not a strong feature of the language lessons in these schools. Often, an English-speaking foreign teacher is brought in to provide the conversation element.

 

•      Private language schools: These schools attract students who want to learn to speak English, so they usually concentrate on conversation, for business or travel or both. Class size is generally about 15 students or fewer. Often more fun to learn, conversational English can be a gateway to studying grammar and other elements of the language.  

 

•      In-company class: If you work for a private for-profit school, you may be offered some hours teaching outside the school. These classes are often sponsored by a company for employees to learn English for business purposes. The classes usually take place after work, on the company site, where the teacher will have access to copy machines and computers. The class may consist of 5 to 10 students, but their English skills may vary.

 

•      Private lessons: Also called one-on-one lessons, these can be held anywhere: a student’s home, a café, in your school…. You might set up the lessons and bill the student directly, or a language company may employ you and take a commission.  

 

What texts and materials will I have to work with?

Most schools already have the texts and materials you’ll be using. You might not be familiar with them and will need to take a little time to go over them before you begin teaching. It’s possible you’ll find some or all of the texts have been written by the staff or commissioned by the school owners, often so the school can sell its books to the students or claim an innovative approach in local advertising. Some texts might not quite be up to international standards. Some may lean heavily on the students’ primary language, which pleases the students but troubles many teachers. You may want to bring your own favorite materials to augment the lessons. The TESOL Voyages program includes a continually updated list of recommended grammar texts, picture dictionaries, idiom books, and other useful material.

 

What else should I take?

Besides the books we recommend, your passport, and photocopies of all your documents, you should pack a good English dictionary; some small gifts for students or people who will help you; information on your health and health insurance, prescriptions for any medicines you take and proof of vaccinations; at least one spare pair of glasses if you use them; and emergency contact numbers.

 

How difficult is it for an American to get work in Europe?

Most countries in western Europe are members of the European Union (EU), which has labor regulations that restrict employment for the citizens of other countries. This usually means that English-teaching jobs will be offered to British and Irish teachers first. But with the increasing demand for lessons in American English, accommodations are sometimes made for native speakers of American English. Germany appears to be the easiest country in which to secure a visa for this type of work. Some teachers arrange to teach private lessons and work without a visa, but we cannot recommend this.

 

What if I don’t want to go abroad? Can I teach at a school in the United States?

Many language schools and businesses throughout the United States employ English teachers. Most are located in big cities. They will look at your TESOL Voyages certificate and transcript, previous job experience, and educational background. The best time to apply to a language school in the U.S. is before the summer, when schools are preparing for an influx of foreign students. Toward the end of summer, enrollment declines as some students return home. 

 

Community colleges and local nonprofits usually have continuing-education programs and accept new teachers year round. Charity organizations and neighborhood alliances also offer teaching opportunities.

 

I see a lot of acronyms out there. What’s the difference between ESL and EFL, or TEFL and TOEFL?

Yes, education, especially in this field, does use a lot of acronyms. ESL (English as a Second Language) and EFL (English as a Foreign Language) mean the same thing, but ESL is more often used in the U.S., and EFL is used more by the British. Here are the most important acronyms:

 

CALL   

Computer-Assisted Language Learning

EAP  

English for Academic Purposes

EFL   

English as a Foreign Language

ELL   

English Language Learner

ELT  

English Language Teaching

ESL  

English as a Second Language

ESP  

English for Special Purposes 

L1         

Student’s First Language

L2    

Student’s Second Language

STT   

Student Talk Time

TEFL 

Teaching English as a Foreign Language

TESL  

Teaching English as a Second Language

TESOL 

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

TOEFL 

Test of English as a Foreign Language

TOEIC

Test of English for International Communications

TTT

Teacher Talk Time