Scott Millner spent a large part of 2011 participating in the English Opens Doors Program (Los Rios Region, Chile), and now has his sights set on teaching English in South Korea. Included in the English Opens Doors Program is Bridge’s TEFLOnline.com (online TEFL certification) 120-hour Master Diploma, and we wanted to get the truth about the course. Scott was kind enough to share his impressions.
How long did it really take you to complete the online TEFL certification course?
I did the first part (60 hour section) of the online TEFL certification program over two months, and it probably took me about 50 hours (not quite 60). I tend to be a fast worker though.
Was it valuable to have an online TEFL certification tutor, and if so, in what ways did they guide/assist/push you to be a better teacher?
It was nice to have a tutor who could answer questions. I also liked having in-depth critiques of my assignments. I knew exactly what my strong points were and where I needed improvement. I think it’s a bit pointless to have an online TEFL certification course without a tutor (like learning a language just from a book).
It seems that you may not have completed the entire online TEFL certification course before you went to Chile. Why did you make the decision to complete the course after the program?
I completed the online TEFL certification 60-hour section before Chile. To be honest, I put off the Grammar Advisor section because I don’t like grammar! That was a mistake because the Grammar Advisor was very helpful. It was probably the most important part of the online TEFL certification course for me in hindsight, because although I mainly focused on speaking and listening skills, grammar issues did arise in the classroom. Grammar Advisor was used as a reference to help with those questions.
It’s when I decided to teach in South Korea that I completed the Grammar Advisor portion of the online TEFL certification so I would have a 100-hour TEFL certificate. As of this year, the EPIK [English Program in Korea] program does not accept teachers without an education/English related degree or one year of full-time teaching experience or a 100-hour TEFL certificate. The 100-hour course is allowing me to go to South Korea!
Had you taken an online course previously? If yes, how did TEFLOnline.com online TEFL certification program compare?
I took an online TEFL certification course during my senior year of college. Honestly, it was awful. It consisted of watching videos of a teacher give lessons (to obviously scripted students). It wasn’t practical not to mention extremely boring. TEFLOnline’s online TEFL certification program was much better because the material was up-to-date and relevant.
Would you recommend TEFLOnline.com’s online TEFL certification program to a friend? Why or why not?
Yes, I would for two reasons. First, I think it is a good course that gives you a solid foundation. Obviously it doesn’t replace “hands-on” experience, but nothing does. Second, I think it’s a cost effective option to try an online course first to see if TEFL interests you. There are many courses offered in a physical location, but they are more expensive and not as easy to fit into your schedule.
How long do you plan on Teaching English abroad?
I’ll let you know as soon as I know!! I enjoyed teaching in Chile more than I thought I would. There’s something amazing when you watch a student grow and develop. The best is when you realize the students enjoy coming to your class, and the main reason why is because of you!
I’m interested in pursuing this field as a career. South Korea will be the determining factor. If I still enjoy TEFL after another year of teaching, I will strongly consider completing a Masters in TESOL.
I truly love travelling and sharing my language with people. My gut feeling tells me I will be teaching abroad for many years to come.
Anything else you would like to share about your experiences teaching English?
My advice to anyone considering teaching English abroad…DO IT!! Stop hesitating and dive in! You only live once, and living abroad is an experience that will only make you a better person. What better way to go abroad than teach English?!
However, please realize teaching is tough, and some days won’t be fun (like any job). Students will figure out how to push your buttons (just think of how you treated your teachers sometimes!) Overall the experience is worth it. I use to joke with other teachers, “I’d rather have a bad day living abroad, than a bad day at a 9-5 back home!”
Learn more about our online TEFL certification program.