Saturday, April 28, 2012

I am TEFL, and so can you!

Nowadays, there are three questions I am asked on a weekly basis that make me giddy like Christmas morning: Where can I find some good cupcakes around here?... Wanna have a picnic?... And, my most favorite, How can I travel and teach in Spain too?

  • Happy Day on Calle del Espiritu Santo.
  • Always.
  • One word: TEFL.

If you've thought about teaching in Spain - even for a second - I know it may seem daunting at first. How the hell would I make that happen? Well listen up because I'm going to tell you in this blog post that I wish had existed for us ten months ago. While there are many paths to the same destination, here is our path, which has been a successful and enjoyable one. This is what you need to do:

Get certified in TEFL.                                                                      
What is it? TEFL = Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Also known as ESL (English as a second language), EFL (English as a foreign language), etc. It's a style of teaching that involves games, conversation, and no necessary knowledge of the students' native language.

As a TEFL teacher, you can work the regular 9-5 at a school (which is what people assume I do). But TEFL can also mean teaching business employees who need to practice English for their job, or private classes with people who just want to improve their level. You can do group classes or one-on-ones, schools or companies, 4 or 24 hours a week. It's a mix-and-match schedule depending on the kind of lifestyle you want to live.

With our TEFL coursemates on graduation day!

Finding a TEFL program.    
A program will train you to become a TEFL teacher from scratch. The people in our course came from all kinds of backgrounds and experiences. There are TONS of programs out there - here in Spain and in the U.S. - and you should research to find the best one for you. But, because we did that already, I'm going to tell you about our program, the one we know is the best - TtMadrid. Here's why we recommend them:
  • They guarantee you job placements. Good ones. I mean, what more could you ask for? The words "guarantee" and "job" are exactly what you need to hear when you quit your "real job" and begin to pack your life into a suitcase that's bound for a foreign country. Many other programs will certify you to teach, but then their services stop there; you're on your own after graduation. TtMadrid has built relationships with top teaching agencies and academies who offer their positions to Tt graduates first. That's just how the Tt reputation goes.
  • They support you for life. The job connections, the resource center, the staff's expertise and advice - those are all available to you for as long as you need them. You want to teach until you're 99? Go for it. Once a TtMadrid grad, always a TtMadrid grad.
  • The certification that you earn from TtMadrid is recognized worldwide. That means you can take your beautiful hard-earned certificate to another country that you want to explore and apply for jobs there too - without having to retake a course. This was important to us. 
  • Facts aside, can I please add a personal note? The "they" I keep referring to - the trainers and staff at TtMadrid - are fantastic. They prepare you to become an amazing teacher, but they also support you in setting up your new life: finding apartments, setting up a bank account, getting to know the city, connecting you with an alumnus who came from a similar situation or from your hometown, etc. The list goes on...

Hungry for more info? Got any questions? Please don't hesitate to e-mail me about anything TEFL and TtMadrid: This is an amazing opportunity - one that we wouldn't have traded for anything - and it's important to spread the awareness so that others can TEFL too!


More information on TtMadrid here.

Me with some of the amazing TtMadrid staff.
And with aforementioned beautiful hard-earned certificate. :)


  1. Thank you for this! As Kyle finishes grad school in the next few weeks and we really start thinking about where we want to be and what we want to be doing in the next few years, going abroad is definitely on our radar. I might be emailing you hoards of questions sometime in the next few months / next year. You're living a dream! <3 (And again, thank you, you're awesome for sharing this info!)

  2. Rachelle! I am so happy to hear that you (and Kyle?!) are considering teaching abroad. Please do send your questions my way - anytime! (Why wait 'til next year!? :) ) From what I know about you two, I think that you will absolutely love this experience.

  3. Alex, Im so glad you posted this! My good friend is in Mozambique for Peace Corp and she's not in any hurry to return stateside, so I suggested that she do you what you did, but now I actually know what you do! lol. Im going to forward this information to her and thanks so much for the post... btw.. you're one of my post-grad PR heros!

  4. Aw, thank you, Mary! Please do forward this info to her - and anyone else you know who might be interested! :)