The Guardian Abroad recently featured an article on what to do after TEFL, when you get that pesky feeling that it might just be time to go back to wherever you came from. Regarding the British job market, the author says, “…contrary to what many may think, far from being viewed as an extended holiday, the TEFL experience can be excellent preparation for a variety of career paths.” One example of an “unconventional route” is given: selling fruit smoothies to concert-goers.
You can imagine my thought upon hearing this…
Too bad I’m not from the UK, or I’d be all set to go with this smoothie recipe!
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All kidding aside (note that smoothies really were mentioned in the article!), the other career paths listed in are fairly obvious ones: teaching ESOL at home, to immigrants and/or refugees; teaching in an elementary or high school; or using the knowledge gained of your host country in a business capacity. They are obvious, though, because they are perhaps the most natural ones.
Aside from these, and those directly connected to your undergrad degree, it may take a bit more training or time spent climbing the ladder to move into another field.
Still, the skills you gain while teaching may make you better at, say, leading engaging and interactive meetings or training sessions. You will also likely come away from TEFL with better-than-average communication skills, which can be a bonus in any job. The experience which may be easiest for potential employers to see is that teaching, especially when you are teaching adults who may be older or more senior professionally than you, is also a form of management.
Granted, the transition may not be an immediate one, but I think there are plenty of less obvious ways which experience in TEFL can be put to good use.