By Erin Critchley
Guest blogger from i-to-i.com

Teaching English as a Foreign Language

The ever increasing demand for English teachers throughout the world has seen many take advantage of the chance to use their skills and change lives by teaching English overseas, however with competition for jobs at home ever increasing many who chose to take this leap often harbour a fear that that stepping away from the conventional ‘career ladder’ may cause problems gaining future employment.

A large percentage of TEFL teachers choose to clutch on to that chalk and settle into classroom life but what about those looking to TEFL for a year or two? Will stepping away from another career path leave you de-skilled and deter future employers? “Definitely not” says former TEFL teacher Chris Cockcroft.

“The most important skill I gained while teaching English abroad was the ability to think quickly and not panic. Teaching English is different every day, so it teaches you to organize and prioritize your workloads and be ready for anything. It also gives you a great deal of confidence in dealing with all manner of people no matter what language they speak and the international experience never fails to impress potential employers.”

Recruitment manager Emma Earnshaw agrees there are numerous transferable skills to be gained from taking a TEFL course and acquiring teaching experience.

“TEFL teachers often have the opportunity to develop strong organizational skills as well as the ability to work alongside people from a range of backgrounds and overcome cultural boundaries. Candidates who have experience of this nature often posses a wider skill set thanks to their time managing large groups, working independently and planning lessons.”

With many employers now asking for multi lingual candidates. Using your time as a TEFL teacher to pick up a second language will also hugely increase your appeal to employers.

According to a recent study, being bilingual can offer a wider choice of jobs in various fields. ‘bilinguals can take advantage of prosperous career opportunities in the retail sector, transport, tourism, administration, secretarial work, public relations, marketing and sales, banking and accountancy, translation, law and teaching’

It’s easy to see the benefits of using TEFL not only to gain an amazing life experience but to also to kick start your career.

Now is the perfect time to take the plunge and start teaching English abroad as according to Charles Ball, research director at the Higher Education Careers Services Unit, the jobs market in the UK will not fully recover until 2013!

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