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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:
Life in Corporate America was so mundane. I spent the past 10 years working for a bottom-line with no real purpose or meaning in my life. Finally, in 2010 I made a radical decision to take a sabbatical from work to complete undergraduate studies abroad in Ghana, West Africa. While I was living in Ghana, I studied Comparative Social and Economic Policy at the University of Ghana- Legon (UGL). I met some very young, motivated, and compassionate Rastafarians that started a school for disadvantaged and abandoned children in Greater Accra. They asked me to come to their school and teach the children. “I'm not a teacher,” was my first response. I pondered at the thought for a second and realized that I was a natural teacher. I'm a Cancer for goodness sake!! “Well, what should I teach them?” I asked Cujoe. “Anything that you would like to teach.,” he told me. The next day and every weekday thereafter, I was teaching english to a group of eager learners. It didn't dawn on me until I had just about finished my Bachelor's degree in Public Policy and Administration that I had a serious passion and obsession with education. After all, the premise of social and economic development is education. The Kelly Williams-Bolar case and other cases that were very similar to it were too prevalent in the States. I was on fire about students that didn't have a fair chance at an adequate education. This developed my interest in education and led me to take online tefl courses to teach english as a second language. Particularly, I would like to teach english in South Korea because President Obama has named South Korea as the educational model of success. There are stark and very obvious differences between online tefl courses and onsite tefl courses. Among the differences are: affordability, convenience, flexibility, and depth. Each person making the decision to teach abroad has different needs that influence their decision to either take online or onsite tefl courses. I will start by stating the advantages and disadvantages of online courses. Based on my research, online tefl courses are more affordable. Not only that, but online tefl courses are convenient given that the teacher can set his/her own pace at fulfilling their certification. Some people believe that the online program is not as thorough as the onsite program. To some degree, this is true. Though, it is my personal belief that native english speakers don't necessarily need rigorous training in the english language because english is their native tongue. Online tefl certifications are widely accepted by esl employers all over the world. teachers decide to obtain a tefl certificate for a number of reasons. In most cases, students decide to teach abroad spontaneously after finishing their Bachelor's degree because they 1. want to travel before pursuing a Master's degree or 2. they're looking for professional work experience in any capacity to boost their resume. In cases like these, online tefl programs are the best option. Sometimes, in an online tefl program, expectations from the lessons are not always clear and further explanation is needed. It's rather difficult, sometimes, getting or receiving feedback that is only available via text. This is what I consider to be one of the major drawbacks of the online tefl program. The biggest advantage to taking onsite tefl courses is taking language courses in an english-speaking country as well as abroad. Also, esl teachers spend a lot of time observing esl classrooms. Based on my observation, more developed countries (i.e. Dubai and the UAE), require a tefl degree and not just a tefl certificate. esl employers in richer countries want serious teachers that are well-versed in the education field and not just persons looking for the opportunities to travel. The major drawbacks to the onsite tefl program are the exact opposite in the online program: affordability and convenience. In sum, there are advantages and disadvantages to both online tefl programs and onsite tefl programs. People choose based on their own personal needs. The online tefl program worked best for me because I had already spent several thousand dollars on an undergraduate degree before I decided that I wanted to work in the Education field. The most sensible alternative to getting a tefl degree was to get an online certification instead. My ultimate goal is to teach in South Korea, absorb all that I can from the best educational system in the world, and adapt my observations into the U.S. Education Policy. Long-term, I would rather work as a Policy Analyst as an advocate for quality public education in the united states.