6 myths about TEFL teaching busted

Don’t listen to what they say: English teaching abroad is something you’ll only truly understand if you’ve done it! That’s why us helpful folk at myTEFL thought it best to put an end to some of those perpetually-popping-up myths about TEFL teaching…

myths about TEFL
Thailand: Bangkok – life on Chao Phraya River | © Reinhard Link/Flickr

You have to teach in Thailand

‘Ah, so you’ll be going to Thailand now will you?’ It’s a question that a great number of newly qualified TEFL grads are asked, and one that really does miss the mark. While it’s true that the fabled Land of Smiles is amongst the most popular destinations on the planet for budding English teachers, it’s certainly not true it’s the only option out there. MyTEFL alone has placement opportunities as far-flung as the buzzing cities of Colombia, and the lion-stalked wilds of South Africa. Throw in oodles of jobs going across other Asian nations, like South Korea, China and Vietnam, not to mention the mainstay of Europe (there are summer camps and private schools galore from Italy to Poland), and it suddenly becomes ridiculous to think that Thailand is the only spot on the menu! So-long first of those common myths about TEFL teaching…

You can just travel all the time

One of those annoying myths about TEFL teaching that’s bandied around more often by people who’ve never tried their hand in the classroom, this one really doesn’t add up. Why? Well, because the real beauty about TEFL teaching is not that it allows you to travel all the time, but rather to travel sustainably, ethically, and a whole load more than you would be able to if you’d stuck with that nine-to-five back home. You can hit the road on your weekends off, whether that means bathing in Thai waterfalls or lazing on Italian beaches, or you can use those longer school breaks to do some classic backpacking.

Myths about TEFL teaching
Venezia | © Flavio Ensiki/Flickr

It’s a fill-in job until you decide what you want to do

No. No. No! This is one of those myths about TEFL teaching that really needs busting, and fast! While it’s true that many newly qualified folks are looking for a project to tie them over until they find their professional feet in another area of life, others will be pursuing courses in English language teaching as part of their career. What’s more, there are oodles of long-term TEFL opportunities out there that lend themselves to the would-be career teacher, not to mention countless potential for professional development in the sphere. Perhaps one day you’ll become a TEFL course instructor, begin work in an international school, or aspire to be a full-time private tutor with a focus on specific exams. Who knows?

You have to know everything about English

Whoa…hold on now! Does a scientist know everything about science? Does a doctor know all there is to know about human anatomy? Does an engineer know how to build anything you come up with? Of course they don’t, and it’s a similar story for any native or non-native speaker who enters the EFL classroom. Like many other professions, TEFL teaching should be seen as a ticket to lifelong learning about your language, and you’re bound to pick up interesting pieces of knowledge about everything from grammar to dialectical nuances as you go. And anyway, what else is that awesome myTEFL course for if not instilling would-be teachers with the know-how to impart knowledge about tenses and verbs, sentence structures and the like?

myths about TEFL teaching
Madagascar teaching | © Frontierofficial/Flickr

You have to deal with kids

If you’re dying to take that new career path and enter the world of English teaching abroad but you simply can’t handle the idea of having to teach kids (hey, some people just don’t like them little ones), then no worries. Thinking you only have the pick of youth schools is another of those myths about TEFL teaching that needs to be busted. In fact, there are oodles of adult institutions around the globe looking for private teachers to take classes with older pupils. These are a great choice if you’ve got experience in tutoring towards specific exams, or if you like conversational, less-structured English teaching styles.

You won’t earn much

Okay, so we’re not going to pretend that the life of a teacher is the life of a rock star. You’re probably not going to be living the high life in penthouse apartments loaded with Jacuzzi baths and champagne. But it’s also a ridiculous myth about TEFL teaching that the whole profession is poorly paid. Just take a look at myTEFL’s own internship offering in Korea, which not only includes a monthly salary of up to $2,120 per month, but also hefty relocation packages and paid holidays. And that’s not even mentioning the potential for future opportunities, which range from well-paid private schools to well-to-do international institutions!


Can you think of any more myths about TEFL teaching that need to be busted? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below! Or, if you want to check out myTEFL’s array of courses, head over to our relevant page…

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